Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 01 October 2020

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 1 October 2020 at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’.

1 Attendance

Robert Armstrong TT Rob Leech TT
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
Don Giles CCTT/LHNCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Steve Jackson TT Chris Wilson TT

2 Apologies

Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary

3 Update/queries CCTT

See also TT responses to these topics in Appendix 1

3.a Plans for trees at Stevedore Place

  • J Marlborough: there has been a big campaign about this issue. Our[1] concern has been about Ocean Terminal (OT) – there is a meeting of all concerned on Monday so OT concerns need not be discussed just now. There is talk of bats living in Stevedore Place. Has the relevant group contacted TT?
  • H Tobermann: A tram-stop has been planned for this area for a long time. I believe the trees were planted here relatively recently.
    • J Marlborough: Trees have been here 10-15 years. The campaign group wishes for this tram-stop not to be built but that’s not possible. The aim should be to find a way to retain the trees in their current location, or at least finding a full explanation of why they should be removed. There appears to be plenty of space for both tram and trees.
  • R Leech: the current design necessitates removal of the trees, but TT has asked the contractor to check if it is possible to change them to retain the trees. This is not likely to be possible. A redesign also may not be able to retain them. In summary, TT is looking for ways to retain at least some of the trees.
    • H Tobermann: are there any areas where replacement trees can be planted?
    • S Jackson: there is a nearby area of landscaping by the casino car-park where additional trees will be planted.
    • H Tobermann: TT/contractor should have a principle of replacing removed trees with similarly mature ones near to removal sites.
    • Action: TT to provide update at next CCTT/TT meeting. TT/contractor has the principle requested by HT

3.b Progress of issues at <redacted house-number> Leith Walk; do similar noise/vibration issues exist elsewhere along the route (eg Constitution Street) and how are they being addressed?

  • R Leech.TT does not believe that there are similar issues elsewhere. TT has agreed to contact prof Thompson who has advised resident at <this address> to discuss relevant matters).
    • C Wilson: TT has also resolved some other issues in this location, e.g. around the running lane.
    • H Tobermann: while we can probably live with issues that only exist during construction, this is a potentially bigger issue because it may go on after construction has finished. Hence a final conclusion here would be very welcome.
    • A Mackenzie: Will TT give the same amount of attention to other sensitive areas along the route, e.g. Constitution St. Such residents would like assurance about steps to mitigate or prevent ground-born noise (GBN) and vibration.
    • R Leech: mitigation strategy is to use soft-pad track or floating track-slab. Where it is found that vibration would be above permissible limits, the contractor must include such measures in the design to keep it below these limits. This is being done all along the route in relevant areas, e.g. outside the Playhouse. There is no policy/limit on GBN in the Tram Act, but this issue has been raised – another reason why TT will engage with prof Thomson. GBN has not been an issue in my previous projects.

3.c Issues arising from ‘diversions’ through Northern New Town

  • R Leech: following on from Cllr Mowat’s motion, TT undertook contacts with other CEC sections.
    • R Armstrong: I’ve spoken with traffic signals and enforcement teams. There are no immediate plans for monitoring, due to the motion not being passed.
    • M Birch: it is disappointing that CEC does not want to monitor impact on residents in this area. If we observe specific issues, we will raise them.
    • R Armstrong: I am happy to raise specific issues with CEC.
    • H Tobermann: Is monitoring so expensive that CEC can’t afford it? What are the real costs.
    • R Armstrong: If I can compile a list of issues, I can feed them in until something is done.
    • M Birch: has the issue of traffic-modeling been raised? Has any been done, e.g. around closure of Leith Walk?
    • S Jackson: Leith Walk traffic-modeling was done.
    • M Birch: can this be shared, so we can compare it with reality, to help identify areas where action is needed?
    • Action: S Jackson to find traffic-modellng that can be shared

3.d Pilrig Street (first block from Leith Walk): double yellow/red lines still missing

  • R Armstrong: I have asked SFN to look into similar issues at Duke St, Vanburgh Place, and will instruct SFN to sort this. It’s covered by a TTRO, so there are no legal issues preventing installation of these lines. Lines will be installed when the appropriate squad can do this work.
    • Action: R Armostrong to advise when Pilrig St lines will be installed.

3.e Signalling enclosures: now take less pedestrian space but remain unsightly

  • H Tobermann: what is the reason for the barriers around these enclosures? Can something more subtle be used?
  • S Jackson: so people don’t fall over the signals. The signals must move with the work. We have done risk-assessments.
  • Action: H Tobermann to look into other available options. (He has seen neater equivalents elsewhere.)

3.f Status planning application for tram stop at Balfour Street; Lothian Buses feedback, if any?
bus stop shown on east side: raised bus boarder kerb?

  • H Tobermann: will this kerb be raised to facilitate bus-boarding? If not, how can we raise the issue? There are frequent issues around buses damaging tarmac at stops. Plans are only on the CEC planning portal for a short time, leading to confusion.
  • S Jackson: tram-stops must go through a ‘prior-approval’ process
  • Action: S Jackson to check whether such raising is specified in Edinburgh street-design guidance and hence for this stop.

3.g Logistics hub
• Who is responsible for cleanliness and appearance of the loading areas managed by them?
• Why can their welfare facilities not be shared with construction works (cf toilet outside Pilrig Church)

  • H Tobermann: I have observed frequent cleanliness/appearance issues.
  • S Jackson: please send me evidence. I have not seen issues at the two I recently observed.
  • H Tobermann: In Dalmeny St, a resident has dumped refuse from house-renovation into a loading bay very near this hub. Is it not in the hub-team’s interest to sort this? This area is for (un)loading, not for household rubbish
  • H Tobermann: I note that the toilet must stay due to coronavirus.

3.h Barrow street cleaning and bin emptying seem to have declined
• Is this a capacity/resource issue at CEC (eg staff off) or do CEC staff encounter access difficulties?
• What are the lines of communication (both ways) – who meets and how often?

  • R Armstrong: I have set up monthly meetings with the CEC official who deals with arrangements around waste and recycling during tram-construction. This official’s remit includes the whole tram-route. Another official is working on post-construction waste and recycling matters.
    • C Wilson: any such issues raised via the contact-centre etc are passed on to the relevant CEC official. There was an issue about access to a bin on Bernard St but this has been resolved.
    • C Encombe: I have raised issues about often-overflowing bins on Pilrig St. Collections need to be more frequent.
    • H Tobermann: I am concerned that the official may not have sufficient resources to implement necessary work.
    • Action: CCTT to advise where there are specific issues, R Armstrong to pursue these via the meetings
    • Action: R Armstrong to invite H Tobermann to neext meeting with CEC waste-official.

3.i Litter inside heras fencing – flagged repeatedly, embarrassingly still there (by Dalmeny Street pedestrian crossing)

  • H Tobermann: there has been a persistent collection of rubbish at the Dalmeny St crossing. Please can this be sorted: it is likely to be read as TT not caring about other aspects of their work.

3.i.i Other similar issues

  • A Mackenzie: there are issues with litter in heras fencing and overflowing bins, e.g. at Maritime Lane/Constitution St Junction. It is good to see work in progress in the LLCC part of the route.
  • M Birch: it is good that the shop area of Elm Row has now only one-way. This is much safer for pedestrians.
  • J Marlborough: The plans for the tram-stop at OT do not show how buses can navigate this area.
  • S Jackson: this is currently going through the detailed design process. Buses will be able to U-turn here.
  • J Marlborough: will work on Ocean Drive be completed before work on Melrose Drive starts.
  • S Jackson: yes, so buses can continue to service this area.

4 Update TT

4.a Summary of progress made by TT since 27 August to date (last CCTT/TT meeting)
• new issues/’conflicts’ (if any) encountered
• review of latest dashboard

  • R Leech:
    • trams infrastructure clearance zone along Leith Walk is well-progressed: drainage is currently being installed between London Rd and Annandale St.
    • There has been a lot of archaeological work: ~140 bodies have been exhumed. Completion is anticipated soon.
    • There have been ‘improvement works’ at the foot of Leith Walk.
    • Between Constitution Place and Tower St junction, TT has installed track-drainage and central ducting. Work is still in progress here.
    • Tracks are likely to be installed outside OT in October/November.
    • Near-future work is ‘more of the same’, including dealing with unknown unknowns
  • H Tobermann: it appears that work in Pilrig St to Dalmeny St area is revisiting sections that had been worked on.
    • S Jackson: TT is working on conflicts around drainage here. But the majority of this area is complete.
    • H Tobermann: will the person-hole covers remain on the car running-lane or be moved to the pavement? If the former, will they be built to the highest possible specifications, so (for example) heavy buses don’t cause damage?
    • S Jackson: There will be such covers in the car-lane.
  • H Tobermann: are there groups of conflicts of the same scale elsewhere along the route?
    • S Jackson: there aren’t such levels of conflict all along the route but there are conflicts elsewhere on the route. However, conflicts were anticipated.

4.b Plans for next 30 days (1 – 31 October)
• Summary of main construction works
• New/additional/changed Traffic Management Measures (see item 5 below) and TTROs along the tram construction route and relevant hinterland

  • H Tobermann: the crossing at Pilrig street was moved without prior notice to CCTT. Are there plans of a similar scale for October?
    • S Jackson: the site perimeters will remain stable. (This was HT’s interpretation of S Jackson’s response.)
  • H Tobermann: There will be the new lines R Armstrong mentioned earlier?
    • R Leech: these come under the existing TTRO.

4.c Plans beyond October
• Progress of final TROs, designs of public realm, and planning applications
• Confirmation or changes to projected completion dates for key phases and the overall project

  • R Leech: TT met internally about TRO drawings last week. Change-requests have been sent to Atkins: revised drawings are due very soon. Once these are ready, preparations for publishing the TRO will start. This should occur in October.
    • Action: TT to advise CCTT when this will take place.
  • R Leech/R Armstrong: there will be 28 days for public consultation.
    • If this slips beyond October, winter holidays may well cause problems for consultation.
    • R Leech: TT has received NTBCC’s concerns about London Rd, Blenheim Place etc. R Armstrong and I will soon meet NTBCC about these. This might lead to some tweaks to the drawings.
      • C Nimmo: please supply hard copy of the drawings before the meeting.
      • R Leech: the TRO drawing won’t of itself answer all NTBCC-queries. Hence the need for this meeting.
      • R Armstrong: For example, TRO drawings do not show all lines to be painted. They are on a separate drawing.
      • R Leech: issues include the yellow box [junction] and the right-turn from Blenheim Place.
      • M Birch: these issues will be enhanced by the potential movement of the pedestrian crossing here.
      • H Tobermann: please supply hard copy covering Balfour Place.
      • Action: TT to arrange supply of hard copy as requested
  • R Leech: the project is on schedule in general. There have been some issues at Tower St, and we are looking into knock-on effects and their mitigation. However, at this point I am confident of delivering on schedule and on budget. The TT team is working very hard to deliver, so that the tram service is running in Spring 2023.
  • H Tobermann: for me, it is more important to deliver on time than not spend contingency budget.

5 Potential need for a protocol for significant changes: triage of construction requests vs local residents’ needs, involvement of this forum, information for CCs and finally wider publication

5.a To pedestrian arrangements (eg move of pedestrian crossing at Pilrig Street)

5.b Public transport (eg night time closure of Leith Walk running lane)

5.c Other traffic changes (eg closure of Jane and Manderston St)

  • H Tobermann: this section arose from changes (sub-items a-c) that were not flagged to CCTT. It would be better if such topics are revealed in advance at these meetings. Can TT explain why these were not mentioned in the August meeting?
    • R Armstrong: I was as surprised by this item as Harald, so I have raised this with the team. The on-site staff thought this was a minor change but, due to its location and hence its effects, this matter should have come to TMRP and hence had better comms.This has been a learning experience.
      • H Tobermann: this is a dangerous location due to proximity of crossing and car-park.
      • R Armstrong: we changed the work-site and hence changed the pedestrian crossing. I was in the area recently and noticed a bus hitting traffic-signal, so I’ve asked SFN to make appropriate changes. These have been done.
      • H Tobermann: there should be systematic thought/process, not reliance on coincidence, to improve matters.
    • R Armstrong: item b was not agreed until after the last meeting, but there were 2 weeks of comms around it. In future, I will ensure that such matters are notified directly to CCTT.
      • R Leech: were you notified about this as a resident, Harald?
      • H Tobermann: the first notice I got was by a LCCC colleague sharing a Tweet a couple of days before the closure. While tweets are a valid way of public dissemination, an email directly to CCTT would have been better.
      • C Nimmo: this would enable CCs to inform their residents in advance.

6 Any other business

  • A Mackenzie. I would welcome improved comms in advance as in section 5. These should also cover the Constitution St area: residents and businesses here have been surprised by road-closures and similar interventions.
    • C Wilson: TT will collate such warnings into a weekly update, shared by TT website and social media, and to CCs.
    • R Leech: TT (R Armstrong) will also directly inform CCTT via H Tobermann, as soon as changes are agreed by TT

7 Next meetings (last THUs of month):

7.a 29 October 2020

7.b 26 November 2020

7.c Future meeting pattern to be agreed

  • The above October and November meeting dates were agreed.
  • S Jackson: work will cease for two weeks over Xmas/new year. This includes a shut-down process, but traffic management will not be removed.
    • H Tobermann: Will there be a way of notifying, e.g. danger due to high winds?
    • S Jackson: yes – traffic-management squads will be working

Appendix 1: TT responses to queries

These were emailed to CCTT before the meeting.

Query Response to HT by email prior to meeting (30 September 2020)
a. Plans for trees at Stevedore Place A review of the landscaping plans at Stevedore Place is currently underway and we are working with the contractor to see if there is any way some or all of the trees can be retained. An update will be provided at the meeting.
b. Progress of issues at 129 Leith Walk; do similar noise/vibration issues exist elsewhere along the route (eg Constitution Street) and how are they being addressed? A meeting was held with the resident at 129 Leith Walk with representative from LCCC (Pierre Forissier). A number of actions were agreed and these are currently being followed up including making contact with the specialist who has been assisting the resident at 129 Leith Walk.
c. Issues arising from ‘diversions’ through Northern New Town (MB) As discussed at the last meeting we are in discussion with CEC officers around possible additional monitoring as the issues raised by Cllr Mowat are wider than those related to the project. An update will be provided at the meeting.
d. Pilrig Street (first block from Leith Walk): double yellow/red lines still missing We will pick this up at the meeting
e. Signalling enclosures: now take less pedestrian space but remain unsightly The amendments we have made are as much as we can do here. We need to have the ability to move these units when we move the ped crossing to accommodate works hence the reason why a more permanent solution has not been used
f. Status planning application for tram stop at Balfour Street; LB feedback, if any?

· bus stop shown on east side: raised bus boarder kerb?

The designs were approved at FBC stage with agreement from LB and in line with consultation plans, these have not been amended as part of Prior Approval.

Prior Approval submission is for the tramstop only rather than the road layout.

g. Logistics hub

· Who is responsible for cleanliness and appearance of the loading areas managed by them?

· Why can’t their welfare facilities not be shared with construction works (cf toilet outside Pilrig Church)

The cleanliness is responsibility of SFN and is picked up by the site team. The cleanliness of logistics hubs has not been an issue to date.

The toilet units are required at certain intervals for all the workforce and this was increased for COVID 19. The spacing on welfare facilities in line with regulations

h. Barrow street cleaning and bin emptying seem to have declined

· Is this a capacity/resource issue at CEC (eg staff off) or do CEC staff encounter access difficulties?

· What are the lines of communication (both ways) – who meets and how often?

We will pick this up at the meeting
i. Litter inside heras fencing – flagged repeatedly, embarrassingly still there (by Dalmeny Street pedestrian crossing) This is an ongoing issue we are dealing with and looking to improve with the contractor

[1] Presumably ‘LHNCC’