City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Trams - Making the City More Dangerous?


By actionman - Posted on 11 February 2013

Edinburgh Council has just accepted a report from Council officials that deaths from traffic accidents were 43% above target. This is hardly something to just shrug off, yet it was accepted by the Councillors of the Transport and Environment Committee almost without demur on the advice of senior Council officials. It seems utterly incredible that this was so meekly accepted when one realises that there has actually been a 5% reduction in traffic! But beware good people of Edinburgh - and visitors - the city is shortly going to be a very much more dangerous place to get around. Even at the moment with Princes Street currently open to cyclists, taxis and the buses, we have had a large number of cycle accidents due to cyclists getting their wheels stuck in tram lines.

This is going to get very much worse when Shandwick Place, West Maitland Street, Haymarket, St Andrew Square and York Place are opened up for cycle traffic. The number of accidents involving cyclists is bound to rise significantly. But even worse is about to happen; when the dreaded tram starts to run next year, this will so restrict traffic on the main Shandwick Place/Princes Street route and in St Andrew Square/York Place, that congestion and driver frustration levels will reach an all time peak.

As the tram has a considerably worse stopping distance than buses or taxis, we can expect many more accidents where traffic is mixed together. The only recourse for the Council is to remove buses and taxis from Princes Street, Shandwick Place, St Andrew Square and York Place - the result will inevitably be even more pollution for the citizens of the residential New Town World Heritage site.

Currently levels have risen by 14% (in spite of there being the 5% reduction in traffic mentioned earlier) so when traffic levels increase, this will do little to make visitors feel welcome to the city. All we can suggest is for everyone in the city to have Japanese-style pollution masks and carry a first aid kit (particularly cyclists)in case you have an accident!

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Of course metal on metal is bad but metal on metal with oil squirted on it is worse.

The oil that stops the wheels squealing on the tight turns will however be counteracted by the sand that is then poured out by a little gnome beneath the carriage crouching behind each set of wheeels.

Okay the gnome is made up! But the sand to be dumped on wheels to neutralise the oil that is meant to lessen the metal-on-metal wheel squeal isn't.

With this level of bodge they may be able to provide a whole series of small holes beneath the seats in each carriage for passengers to be ordered to stick their feet through, 'Flinstones' style --- to aid braking capacity.

As the displaced traffic pollution is heavier than air maybe instead of masks Edinburgh could provide 10 feet bamboo or plastic snorkels for everyone to access the cleaner air higher up???

But I think your first aid kit for cyclists is impractical as the size of first aid kit needed to treat getting smacked by Europe's biggest and heaviest tram would simply be too large to fit in a pannier--- it will take a really big box of elastoplasts and a gigantic bottle of TCP to tackle the injuries coming from that one.