Leader comment: We must build close to tram and rail lines

We should build close to Edinburgh's tram lines.
We should build close to Edinburgh's tram lines.
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Those who regularly drive through the west of the city at rush hour will be more depressed than surprised by the findings of the latest report into the UK’s worst commuter roads.

The journey between the city centre and Maybury Road can be a miserable and frustrating experience at busy times. Imagine spending the equivalent of an entire weekend stuck behind the wheel in gridlocked traffic every year. Some will say it already feels like even more than that.

And the worst bit is that there is every reason to think that the problem will get worse before it gets better.

With the chronic shortage of housing in the Capital there is huge pressure for substantial development in the west of the city. It is hard to see how Edinburgh can provide the extra homes that it need without some significant building in the west.

The excellent public transport through this side of the city – buses, trams and trains – has a critical role to play in ensuring the problem doesn’t get much worse. Yet that is never going to be enough on its own.

Sustainable transport plans must be at the centre of any development that does take place. We need to build homes close to tram and rail lines so that it makes sense to the people who move in to use public transport to get to and from work.

There is no doubt that extending the tram line will help to ease the growing pressure on our roads.

But that will only ever be a part of a wider strategy which must also include steps to ensure that road traffic keeps moving.

This latest report reinforces the serious concerns that have already been raised about the plans for a cycle superhighway between Roseburn and Haymarket.

The aim of creating a cross-city off-road cycling route is laudable but it has to be created in a way that won’t create even more 
serious congestion.