UK: City of Edinburgh Council is to undertake public consultation to inform the development of a strategic business case for a north-south tram route running from Granton via the city centre to BioQuarter and beyond.
The preferred route runs from Granton Waterfront to the North and South bridges, Clerk Street and Minto Street to Cameron Toll, before following the A7 to BioQuarter.
An assessment of bus rapid transit or doing nothing was also undertaken, but concluded that expansion of the tram network would offer significantly better quality, capacity, journey times and reliability.
While the preferred route for the northern section of the tramway was via Roseburn Path, on February 1 the council decided that an alternative option via Orchard Brae would also be presented objectively during the a 12-week public consultation this spring, with the pros and cons for each route.
This is in response to concerns about the impact of the Roseburn route on an existing active travel corridor. However, an initial assessment says the Orchard Brae route would impact on cycling provision, and journey times would be less reliable.
The council is engaging with Transport Scotland to explore financing options for the project, which has an estimated cost of £2bn.
A draft strategic business case is to be submitted to the council’s Transport & Environment Committee this autumn.
The cost of developing an outline and final business case and all associated pre-construction workstreams is put at £44m, which the council has not yet allocated
‘Safe, efficient and affordable travel’
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport & Environment Convener, said ‘like cities around the world we’re challenged by poor air quality, congestion and carbon emissions relating to transport. This, paired with a rapidly increasing population — projected to grow at three times the rate of Scotland’s — demonstrates the pressing need to rethink the way we move people and goods around the capital. By improving public transport, we want to provide safe, efficient and affordable travel in Edinburgh, and expanding the tram network is key to this.’
‘We know how disruptive a project of this scale can be to residents and businesses, but the success of the recently completed line to Newhaven is proof that we’re well prepared’, he added.