Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 25 June 2020

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 25 June 2020 at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic.

1 Attendance

Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
D Giles CCTT/LHNCC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Steve Jackson Trams Team Mike Trotter Trams Team (part time)
Rob Leech Trams Team Chris Wilson Trams Team

2 Apologies

None

3 Welcome, introductions, changes to agenda

M Totter introduced himself as the new Trams project interface manager, having started in this role in June. He is a civil engineer specialising in transport, generally in Edinburgh. He has previously worked for CEC, but then had a spell in private practice (at Capita). He has worked on the canal-to-Meadows scheme, North Meadows Walk and the Leith Programme.

Other attendees noted their community council roles, and foreshadowed their interests in agenda-items below.

It was agreed to take ‘TT general update’ first.

4 TT general update

4.a Remobilisation

S Jackson and R Leech noted that

  • Work restarted on Lindsay Rd, Ocean Drive and Constitution St on 15 June.
    • Progress so far is good, especially at Ocean Terminal.
  • Work restarted on Leith Walk on 22 June.
    • This started with implementation of traffic management.
  • All work is on or ahead of schedule. Work is compliant with Scottish Government (SG) guidance. Phase 3 guidance requires physical distancing. Hence there are ’covid ambassadors’ on site, tasked with ensuing compliance.
  • Covid rules are clearly visible on sites. There are disinfection-stations. Workers’ temperatures are taken each morning.
  • So far there has not been much impact on when this can and cannot be achieved.
  • Workers have been equipped with PPE, but the guidance states that they must not rely on PPE alone for safety.
  • SG is seeking advice on whether the 2m rule can be relaxed on 2 July.
  • Overall it’s a very fluid picture but work going ‘pretty well’.
    • H Tobermann noted that this was his observation too.

4.b Communications

C Wilson noted

  • Trams Team (TT) has issued communications around construction restart.
  • Signage is being installed but this has not gone quite as well as desired.
    • Signage types are: (1) reassurance of compliance with SG guidance; (2) outline of construction strategy, including closure of much off Leith Walk; (3) movement of bins and bus-stops; (4) support for business.
    • Support for business signage will be installed as and when appropriate.
  • TT is working with Edinburgh tram on possible appointment of a ‘digital and media’ officer. This officer would also manage communications around archaeological work and community benefits.
  • TT is appointing ‘geo-officers’ – these are customer liaison officers working on the Leith Walk and Constitution St sites to cover business issues etc, including escalation as appropriate. They will mimic contact-centre protocols.
    • The geo-officers will wear ‘Trams to Newhaven’ (TtN) jackets.
    • The geo-officers will also support businesses on Lindsay Rd, not just those on Leith Walk and Constitution St. Lindsay Rd businesses can also use the TT contact centre.
    • The geo-officers will be appointed for the duration of construction, so they can build rapport with local businesses.
    • Numbers of geo-officers will be increased if/when there are spikes in need.
    • Action: C Wilson/TT to consider whether the geo-officers should wear clothing distinguishing them from other TtN staff.
    • Action: C WIlson/TT to consider any requests for geo-officers to attend CC meetings.

4.c Support for business

C Wilson noted

  • Some elements of this programme are being (re)started. These include ‘Itison’ schemes for both Leith Walk and Constitution St. The latter has been extended to 30 November. The former is likely to be a logistical challenge due to the number of Leith Walk businesses.
  • A painting project is being considered. This is likely to start at a small scale, but may move up to large murals.
  • There is an ‘open for business’ campaign. TT is working on how to modify this to maximise footfall in businesses.
  • TT will soon meet with Sustrans about cargo bikes for Leith Walk.
  • 5 logistics hubs are now open: Mitchell St, Foot of the Walk, Dalmeny St, Albert St, Montgomery St.
  • Much of their work is asking local businesses what help they wish, but also includes domestic deliveries.
  • TT is working with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce about training/mentoring schemes.
  • TT has circulated information on SG support for businesses in the coronavirus situation.
  • TT needs to work on its business continuity fund (BCF): because of coronavirus, it is difficult for businesses to demonstrate lack of footfall due to tram-works. Hence TT needs to consider this criterion.
    • H Tobermann asked for more information on the BCF to be shared with CCTT at earliest opportunity.

5 Two-way cyclepath on west Leith Walk pavement: design details (cross-sections at typical and critical points) and management plans

H Tobermann noted CCTT’s general concerns about the cycle-path plans. These include

  • Relative amounts of space for pedestrians and cyclists
  • As noted by A Mackenzie, cargo bikes can be too wide for some parts of the current cycle-path on Leith Walk. When on the road, travelling uphill, they block motorized traffic.
  • Why the cycle-path had not been mentioned in the most recent TT newsletter.
  • C Wilson responded that previous communications have mentioned the cycle-path, and that this omission was an oversight.

S Jackson noted:

  • Since Leith Walk traffic management was installed, TT has been carrying out work to enable the cycle-path on the west of Leith Walk.
    • This should be mostly complete by the end of this week [i.e. 26 June], but some movements of bus-shelters and phone-boxes will spill into the next week. These rely on JC Decaux and BT.
    • Some lamp-posts are also being moved.
    • Minimal movement of trees is envisaged.
      • Action: S Jackson to advise general directions of movement of lamp-posts, prior to the next CCTT/TT meeting.
      • Action: S Jackson to advise if trees north of Balfour St will need to be moved, prior to the next CCTT/TT meeting.
  • Once all movement of obstacles is complete, fencing will be moved to open the cycle-path.
  • At least 2·5 m will be provided for cyclists and 3 m for pedestrians. To achieve this, in some areas (e.g. between Pilrig and Dalmeny St) some of the existing road-width has been brought up to pavement-level.
  • All of this work is based on the 2-metre rule for physical distancing.
    • H Tobermann noted that this will affect how pavements can be used. For example, queues of shoppers may impinge on pedestrian parts of the path.
    • If there are issues, TT will react appropriately.
  • J Marlborough noted that there are no cycle-paths planned outwith Leith Walk.
    • CCTT assumed that this is because Leith Walk is the site of the most impactful road-closure.
  • H Tobermann noted that there is a good level-change between pedestrian and cycling areas outside the Playhouse.
    • TT noted that this cannot be implemented on Leith Walk.

6 (live) dashboard: comments from CCTT

C Wilson and R Leech showed an example of the dashboard. They noted

  • The example shows inter alia
    • monthly output from the contact centre
    • numbers of enquiries each week
    • the top 5 types of enquiry.
  • Currently the contact centre has staff-members dedicated to different enquiry-subjects. As numbers of queries on a subject reduce, they are moved to a ‘bureau’ service. The centre can change back to dedicated service if required.
  • So far 2646 enquiry-tickets have been created. 2628 of these have been resolved.
  • Some tickets comprise multiple questions, not necessarily all about the trams project. Hence TT contacts other parts of CEC about such matters, then feeds back answers as appropriate.
  • No data on environmental tickets/issues were shown this month because there have been no actual works. They will be presented next month.

H Tobermann suggested that the average time to resolve queries (109 hours) is quite long.

  • C Wilson responded:
    • this average is affected by complex queries. However, enquirers are reassured that TT is working on enquiries.
    • 77% of enquiries are resolved at first contact.
    • TT should get sharper at resolving queries, but has also been affected by coronavirus.
    • Action: C Wilson/TT to add dates of further reports on the dashboard.
    • Action: H Tobermann to provided further comment on the dashboard from CCTT.

7 Need for improved pedestrian East/West connectivity during construction to mitigate impact of northbound bus diversions on infirm pedestrians

H Tobermannn noted that the following topics are on the agenda because those with mobility difficulties may suffer because of diversion of bus-routes to Easter Rd and Bonnington Rd.

7.a Easter Rd to Leith Walk (and possibly Broughton/Bonnington to Leith Walk): circular minibus or on-demand taxi

R Leech noted

  • CEC has a dial-a-ride (DaR) service. TT is considering whether/how to use this or a minibus.
  • Likely users of such services are probably most susceptible to coronavirus, so there is currently little demand.
  • TT will provide a transport service but details depend on changes to coronavirus guidance/regulations, demand etc.
  • TT will make relevant decisions, and obtain project-board approval for implementation.

7.b Fixing uneven East/West pavements, removing obstacles

H Tobermann expressed concern that once people start using cars to travel from (in this case) the edges of the construction area, they will continue to do so, thus eliminating some of the environmental benefits the tram project should deliver. Pavements on these routes are often in poor condition, thus discouraging walking.

  • R Leech responded that this topic was around actual obstacles and hazards identified by CCTT. A general improvement programme would need to be taken back to CEC.
  • Much CEC resource is currently dedicated to the Spaces for People programme. Hence resources for the work CCTT wishes may be limited.
  • Action: TT to consider, in conjunction with other CEC departments, what can and should be done.

8 Traffic modelling impact of recent Covid-19 pop-up projects on traffic flow (and delays, pollution, retail loading/unloading) in Easter Rd and bus punctuality elsewhere on top of impact of tram construction diversions

H Tobermann asked whether CCTT members had observed any issues with such projects.

TT noted that this topic was discussed at the Trams all-party action group (TAPOG). Also CEC’s director of place chairs both the trams project and the Spaces for People boards. The topic will be discussed at the next trams project board meeting.

  • Action: TT to provide relevant updates to CCTT prior to the next CCTT/TT meeting

9 CCTT update: unresolved local issues and first impressions from re-opened and newly established work sites (since 22 June)

9.a LHNCC

J Marlborough: no current issues in this area apart from people cycling on pavements. The actual works are well-managed. Is a change to the Holiday inn Express hotel still due?

  • S Jackson: this entrance will be moved later in 2020.

9.b LLCC

  • Cycling on Leith Walk has held up motorised traffic. CCTT hopes that this will be sorted by the new cycle-path.
  • What is the plan for fencing, and what is progress at Baltic St/Bernard St junction?
    • S Jackson: bespoke solutions around distancing will be implemented, leaving heras fencing on site-boundaries and introducing passing-places and one-way systems for pedestrians, along with appropriate signage.
    • On Baltic St, TT has recommenced examination of utilities, focusing on removing material that was protecting the site during lockdown. TT is now working on actual utilities.
    • Action: TT to investigate whether utility-work has caused smells to emanate in this area, prior to the next CCTT/TT meeting.

9.c LCCC

H Tobermann: nothing major to report here. However, the local co-ordinator for waste collection has died.

  • C Wilson: His replacement is James (‘Jim’) Elliot. He has been very efficient.
    • Action: TT to put Mr Elliot and H Tobermann in contact.

C Wilson noted that work on Great Junction St bridge is complete.

9.d NTBCC

Will access to shops at the top of Elm Row be 2-way or 1-way during construction?

  • S Jackson: It will be 2-way, as it is now. At some point, there will be changes to enable implementation of public-realm works. (Plans are being created just now.) People travelling from Picardy Place can turn right towards London Rd, then immediately left into Elm Row. They can then exit the north end of Elm Row onto Montgomery St, but will need to turn left, then travel back towards London Rd.
  • M Birch: there is concern over congestion and pedestrian safety here, due to the increased traffic in this area.
  • Action: S Jackson to investigate and report to CCTT

10 Next meeting

30 July 2020