Letters: Tram bottlenecks may threaten road safety

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Reading of the delay caused by an ambulance parked on the tram route (News, February 26), I am certain this will not be an isolated problem once the trams are fully up and running.

This problem will be at its worst on the route on the north side of Shandwick Place and Princes Street leading on to St Andrew Square, mainly due to so much of the route where tram and bus lanes overlap one another.

It is unavoidable on the south side of Princes Street at The Mound due to the position of the Royal Scottish Academy art gallery projecting so far on to Princes Street.

There are, however, at least two areas on the north side where bottlenecks have been created for no apparent reason. The first is on Shandwick Place, where an existing wide pavement was extended out from Specsavers to the West End which causes a single lane for both a tram a bus, preventing buses from continuing on to Princes Street alongside a tram.

A similar situation is created on Princes Street at its junction with South St Andrew Street, again causing a hold up for buses heading east.

In my opinion there has been a lack of foresight in the planning of these sections. I think perhaps the council hoped to direct all buses off Princes Street and on to George Street before the objections by traders with premises on George Street.

What is going to happen in the event of a serious accident or large scale fire?

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh

Fear is only enemy in independence debate

Closing down rational debate and spreading fear is the oldest trick in the book. This tactic has been used by the No campaign with some degree of success because it targets the least politically informed.

However, political analysts are suggesting that “project fear” has taken a step too far by trying to scare people into believing that an independent Scotland can’t share the pound with the rest of the UK.

Evidence shows that this latest ploy has backfired and more people are now swinging towards Yes. The Fiscal Commission who the No campaign describes as “expert” has said, “retaining Sterling would be a sensible currency choice that would be attractive to both Scotland and the UK” in the event of independence.

Even Alistair Darling has described a currency union as “logical” and “desirable” if Scotland voted Yes.

As President Roosevelt succinctly said, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Tram brakes are no worse than buses

Having been interested in trams for about 70 years I was amazed to read the statement in the Evening News (February 20) that the normal stopping distance for a tramcar was 91 feet compared to the normal stopping distance for a bus of 39 feet, both at 20mph.

Not being an engineer I sought advice from an expert and his answer was that the 91 feet refers to the normal stopping distance at a tram stop, whereas the 39 feet refers to the emergency stopping distance for a bus. A tram should be perfectly able to stop in 39 feet in an emergency, but all standing passengers are likely to fall over (as they probably would on a bus). Hence the training of tram drivers in the techniques of safe driving and for them to anticipate possible dangerous circumstances.

Neil Mackenzie, Grange Loan, Edinburgh

Searching for soapy beauty queens

I am researching the Miss Pears Competition (1958-1997) organised by Pears soap. If you were ever a Miss Pears, I would love to hear from you.

Jackie Winter, The Chantries, Winterborne Zelston, Blandford, DT11 9EU, e-mail thorntandem@btinternet.com

Show some etiquette when you’re on board

It surprises me the mentality of some passengers opening up windows on the buses in the recent cold weather.

I was coming home from work one night on the number 5 service and closed the window in front of me as I was getting a draught and then it was rudely opened again.

Also the number of folk who sit with their feet up on the seats at the back of the bus annoys me too. I wish people would show some respect and manners towards their fellow commuters.

James Wood, Magdalene Medway, Edinburgh

Looks like we’ll have to move to England

Following TSB’s decision to set up their new headquarters in England, we now have Standard Life contemplating moving across the Border too.

I expect we will hear similar views from Scottish Widows, Aegon and others in the next few weeks.

All these companies must be worried that any changes to legislation in Scotland could find that their English, Welsh and Northern Irish customers will transfer their plans to companies not based in Scotland.

This is a worry to their staff, and to the many school children who might have wanted employment with these firms in the future.

If the big financial institutions don’t believe an independent Scotland will work, we should all be worried. Vote Yes and you might have to move to England to get a job. Little wonder that so many Scots are opening bank accounts in England.

Alun Thomas, Sinclair Close, Edinburgh