Leader: York Place closure will test patience

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Chanelling 1000 extra cars at rush hour through Albany Street and Abercromby Place in the New Town as part of the trams diversion is a brave move. But what choice did the current administration have?

Many residents wish we had never started this ill-fated tram project, but we are where we are and the decision has been made to push ahead and compete the line as far as York Place.

This necessitates huge disruption at one of the busiest intersections in not just Edinburgh, but all of Scotland.

The Picardy Place roundabout is always jammed. Indeed, when the Omni centre was being built the developers described it as the second busiest roundabout in Scotland.

All this means the huge volumes of traffic that would normally travel along York Place and Queen Street will now have to navigate a new route through the 
normally quiet avenues further north.

A conservative estimate suggests that more than two million extra journeys will be made along the normally quiet Albany Place over the 16-month closure period.

This will cause major inconvenience to residents and local businesses, increased 
pollution and parking problems. In short, a dramatic drop in quality of life for a considerable period.

However, the big issue is whether the diversion will cause wider gridlock for the city at peak times. The council, of course, has used the latest transport modelling techniques and is confident it can be managed, but local traders and politicians fear the worst.

If things go wrong the new administration has shown it is willing to take action quickly. The problems with the Greenways cameras which led to thousands of fines in a short period prompted a speedy review from transport leader Lesley 
Hinds.

The next few months will test the patience of many.