the massive redevelopment of the St James Centre promises to be a very significant boost for the city’s trams.
The fact services will stop at the door of what promises to be one of the best shopping complexes in Britain is bound to attract extra passengers.
The idea of driving to the park and ride at Ingliston and then hopping on a tram straight to the new St James Quarter and surrounding area – with its choice of shops, restaurants, theatre and cinema – will appeal to many shoppers from across central Scotland. Then there are the estimated 2000 people who will work in the new quarter, who will be looking for a quick and convenient way to get to and from work.
The St James venture is also further evidence of the trams’ ability to attract new investment to the Capital. The developers have already credited the tram line as a significant factor in their decision to commit their money to a project in Edinburgh rather than one in another city elsewhere in the world.
And, as we reveal today, there is likely to be very practical help in the shape of a significant contribution towards the cost of extending the current line to Leith.
It makes no sense for anybody – the developers, the tram operators or the paying public – to see the route stop just short of what will be perhaps the single most popular attraction in the city centre.
There is a growing sense that the council is inching towards finding a way of being able to take the line down to Leith.
With money from the the investors behind the St James scheme, other developer contributions and the improvements being carried out on Leith Walk either sealed or in the pipeline, the estimated £80 million no longer seems quite so far out of reach.
The decision to extend the trams in Dublin was taken within a year of services starting. Are we going to see a similar clamour in Edinburgh?