Tram system may mean city centre ban on lorries

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Lorries would be banned from parts of the city centre under proposals being considered by council chiefs.

Concerns from residents about the environmental impact of traffic that is moved off the city centre’s busiest roads when the tram is operational has prompted officials to investigate how to reduce the impact.

And one proposal being considered is banning heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) from selected streets in the West End.

Fears have been raised previously that more HGVs will use the city centre when tram work is completed – but will be forced on to quieter streets by the tram causing increased traffic problems for local residents and safety concerns for pedestrians.

A report is expected to be published in November with full details of traffic management plans for the city centre.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “It is important that these [environmental] issues are addressed and that is part of a long-standing commitment that we have given and followed through with as a council administration.

“We will continue to do that and we will restart discussions about mitigation measures now that we have come to a decision to build the tram to St Andrew Square.”

However, Cllr Mackenzie said that the impact of any ban on other areas will have to be considered before any final decision is made.

City centre councillor Joanna Mowat had called for a full report on traffic mitigation measures for Randolph Crescent, Great Stuart Street and Charlotte Square in the evening and through the night.

She said the measures should include the possibility of an HGV ban, resurfacing of the Randolph Crescent and Great Stuart Street corridor and the diversion of traffic away from the West End and towards alternative routes from the west of the city to Lothian Road.

But Cllr Mackenzie insisted that the issues would be covered in a report to come to the council’s transport committee on November 27.

Cllr Mowat said: “We have seen this project slip and slip because we have not been willing to take control and instruct officers that we need these reports and detail.”

The November report is also expected to provide timescales for the return of public art and monuments that were moved to make way for tram work, including the Leith Walk pigeons, the statue of Sherlock Holmes on Picardy Place, the Heart of Memorial War Memorial at Haymarket and the roundabout and clock at the junction of London Road and Leith Walk.

Cllr Mackenzie said: “There will be a report to committee on November 27 but I hope that, before then, we will be able to provide details of the proposed timescales to people as part of the process of consultation.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com