Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 25 February 2021

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 25 February 2021 at 5:30pm

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

1 Attendance

Robert Armstrong TT Steve Jackson TT Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Rob Leech TT Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LLCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC Chris Wilson TT

2           Apologies

D Giles LHNCC | C Encombe had to leave early.

3           Update CCTT

3.a        Concerns over the ever tighter sequencing of the long-coming Atkins ground-borne noise/vibration (GBN/V) report; its relationship to the ​Sener/Fairhurst report​, the subsequent approval of final construction designs (standard, soft pad, floating track) and the actual construction at various locations

  • H Tobermann: please explain what the SF report covered, and what the Atkins report will add.
  • (There was some discussion to identify the SF report.)
  • R Leech: TT had received some comments on the SF report. Atkins now has all the design info needed to complete its report. I have confirmed this to a resident who has strong concerns over vibration. The report will cover
  • that Atkins has checked the design as brought forward by SFN
  • issues raised by Professor Thomson
  • confirm whether the design is or is not fit for purpose, part of the design process
  • comment on ground-born noise.
  • R Leech: I hope to receive the report early next week. I’ll read it immediately. If it covers everything needed, TT will be happy to share it.
  • The SF report covers the ‘developed’ design for the track-slab. There are several iterations to design, so the design may have changed since the SF report. The important point is that Atkins have now seen the final design and cover the issues that have been raised.
  • R Leech: I confirm that standard, soft pad or floating track will be installed along the whole route.
  • J Marlborough: the SF report does not cover vibration during construction, consulting with residents or undertaking surveys of their properties. For example, Stevedore Place residents are suffering badly just now.
  • R Leech: you are right to raise this, but it’s a separate issue: construction and operating requirements are different. The constructors must demonstrate compliance with the code of practice, and mitigate any breeches. External surveys have been carried out at Stevedore Place. TT will not publish these but will share with residents surveys of their own properties if they ask.
  • A Mackenzie: a Stevedore Place resident has asked for detail of his survey, but only received a few ‘vague’ photos of the exterior side of his property away from the route. A Leith Walk resident is concerned about the timing of the report – work is due to start in a fortnight outside his property. He and others wish to be able to engage with the report before this work starts.
  • R Leech: TT is aiming to share the report in time, show compliance, address issues that have been raised and hence provide reassurance about the design and approvals processes. This is more than TT would do for other aspects of the design. I accept the timing is tight.
  • A Hardie: will the report identify which parts will have standard, soft pad and floating track? Is there any subjectivity and/or cost implication about this?
  • R Leech: There is no subjectivity: the design must meet vibration requirements – this is what Atkins’ report will cover, including the specific issues raised about a certain property. Design relies on (1) the designer’s own competence; (2) checks by an independent 3rd party – in this case Atkins. Information on which type of slab will be in each part won’t be in this report but is available on relevant drawings.
  • R Leech: there have been no vibration issues with the existing tram-route, which is predominantly on standard track-slab. There are special requirements in only a few places. Of course there are economic drivers – this project cannot support all of the route being on floating slab – but there are specific requirements from the environmental statement. Until the contractor demonstrates compliance, nothing will be constructed.
  • A Hardie: is there any evidence of resident-dissatisfaction [with vibration from the existing tram-route?
  • R Leech: no – we specifically asked the operator about this. I can ask again if needed.
  • A Mackenzie: what is are the nearest buildings to the existing route?
  • S Jackson: Balbirnie Place and West Maitland St. These have similar spacings to Constitution St.
  • R Leech: also Haymarket.
  • C Nimmo: Constitution St properties are likely to be more vulnerable.
  • R leech: yes, and the design process has reflected this.
  • H Tobermann: can I check with TT separately about the test-track on Princes St?
  • H Tobermann: a table in the SF report identifies properties by reference number, so it’s not completely accessible.
  • R Leech: I will send you relevant finalised drawings.
  • J Mackenzie: there are health and safety issues, e.g. smoking on site, not wearing masks.
  • R Leech: TT is aware of this, and has raised this with contractors . Contractors are educating workers.
  • J Marlborough: there are concerns about pavement levels and loose gravel between Constitution St and Tower Place.
  • C Wilson: I will investigate asap.
  • S Jackson: I have engaged with the contractor this week about this issue. Resolution will be undertaken.

3.b        Concerns over (comms) mechanisms for dealing with very specific flash points along the route of the work (e,g, the GBN/V frustrations)

  • A Hardie: this is relation to a Constitution St who has suffered much from noise, and feels unheard. Is a mechanism for resolving such concerns really in place? What is the mechanism? We need confidence that the system is working.
  • R Leech: TT has engaged with this resident ‘quite extensively’. The mechanism is that when complaints come in, many can be answered easily; those that can’t are dealt with by the contractor’s comms teams, or are handled by C Wilson.
  • C Wilson: TT had arranged to meet this resident (and a Stevedore Place resident) last week but s/he could not attend. We encourage initial reporting of issues to the contact centre so all matters are correctly logged – this will ensure any necessary escalation is to the appropriate person, regardless of individual TT staff being unavailable. We try to mitigate as many issues as possible, via the contact centre, via online or online meetings or other escalation. I am happy to speak with A Hardie off-line about this particular issue.
  • C Wilson: Our dashboards show that we currently receive ~250 issues per month, but the average time to resolve them is slightly increased. Much of this is due to business continuity applications, which take time to process. TT also handles non-tram issues it receives, where appropriate. Incoming issues are ~65% queries,~35% complaints.

3.c        Outstanding and new CCTT queries

Additional discussion and information given in the meeting is noted in at the bottom of each issue’s row.

Ref Categories CCTT query/issue documents TT response
0221.1 design Change to the design of the Picardy Place tram stop – timing of planning application and rationale for design change Unsure what change to the design is being referred to, there is no material change to the design at this location. We can discuss at the meeting.
  • M Birch: the Prior Approval application for this stop was submitted last February PA approval but withdrawn and replaced with a new one dated 24 December, with a short period for comments. Why has the design changed from two central platforms?
    • R Leech: this was because the operator has stated the original design couldn’t be operated safely. Additional platforms would prevent drivers from seeing that all doors are clear and it’s safe to proceed.
    • M Birch: we tried to avoid TROs being brought out during winter holidays because this hampers consultation. It would have helped is the new application had explained its purpose. It was also assumed that Picardy Place will be an important interchange, and hence have more passenger. Item 2.2.3 has been added to the agenda to make sure that in future CCTT is told about TROs etc. CCTT wishes to be ‘ahead of the game’.
    • C Nimmo: it is just as disappointing to learn too late of this TRO as it was in January about another TRO which was not notified to CCTT.
    • R Leech: I agree. This decision was taken a long time ago, which is probably why it slipped through. TT did not think it would be controversial, but TT should have brought it up 12 months ago. TT will set up a tracker to ensure it tells CCTT about TROs.
    • M Birch: this application was withdrawn about 2 weeks ago, so this should have prompted TT to tell CCTT about it.
0221.2 traffic impact Leopold Place pedestrian crossing – update on any discussions with Spaces for People team Discussions held with SfP and they have been advised that the current setup for the Leopold crossing is outwith Trams scope and that as part of our works the crossing will be removed and replaced with single phase crossing as per final design.

Any immediate changes are for SfP to arrange.

  • M Birch: this response isn’t surprising. We will go back to SfP.
0221.3 traffic impact Tram diversions and traffic modelling – update on responses to latest questions Tram Temporary Traffic Management Modelling Questions_ Response v1_Additional Questions This is being dealt with outside of CCTT and we have responded to Mike Birch with an update. Will continue to liaise with Mike on this basis to close out
  • S Jackson: we are waiting upon 1 person’s response to 2 points. Action: SJ to send available responses to M Birch ASAP
0221.4 design levels at installed tram track and frontages on west side of Leith Walk between Pilrig and Arthur appear to imply steep camber in some places: how is this going to be resolved? photo The levels align with our design levels. The road and footway will be constructed and will be in compliance with the required design standards
  • H Tobermann. Has someone double-checked this?
    • S Jackson: we have a very sophisticated survey system, so I am confident construction will be right
0221.5 impact on pedestrians, quality of life sorry saga of basic services (which should not deteriorate, as promised by TT, CEC officials and politicians) next to construction route continuing to suffer: icy pavements, lighting not working (since well before Christmas), ponding, nightly bin collection crew not able to complete route leading to overspill, pavement parking not enforced photophotophotophotophotophoto Contact made with CEC around winter maintenance to advised of non-service of Leith Walk.
SL have been advised of lighting issue and are currently working in the area. Due to Covid measures the team are only dealing with emergency repairs.

Monthly meetings with waste ongoing, any problem areas can you report direct to RA, however received no complaints.
NSL have a designated service on Leith Walk, and Police Scotland have been informed of non-compliance.

  • H Tobermann: issue lasted overlong, e.g. waiting a long time for the lighting team to receive inductions. There are many issues. Being ‘in touch’ is not enough – escalation is needed
    • o R Armstrong: we have been reporting issues and speaking to CEC colleagues. I agree Leith Walk was poor. I will try to escalate higher.
    • o H Tobermann: it needs to be escalated to politicians.
    • o C Encombe: Leith Walk road is a priority for gritting but not its pavement – this is stupid. Please equalise these priorities.
    • o Action: R Armstrong to raise this with CEC, and report back to CCTT.
0221.6 impact on pedestrians, quality of life contractor’s vehicles coming off the work sites muddy surrounding streets (and pavements): what are the contractual arrangements? who at TT is in charge of enforcing them? photo The contractor is obligated to keep surrounding streets clean of construction mud/mess and this is cleaned using a road sweeper daily. We continue to monitor with the contractor and highlight any areas needing addressed. If there are any specific areas please let us know
  • H Tobermann: pavements are getting very dirty. Can there be more regular cleaning?
    • S Jackson: the running lane is cleaned daily.
0221.7 impact on pedestrians scaffolding obstructing Leith Walk pavement: embargo? behind vehicle: photo Has been reported to CEC permit team and scaffold does not have a permit. With CEC enforcement.
Ongoing issues with permits/utility working within the area, can discuss further.
  • H Tobermann: this answer is satisfactory. This is near where a roof came off in recent high winds. There may be a connection.
    • R Armstrong: there have been similar issues recently where permits weren’t obtained. I have set up monthly meetings.
0221.8 traffic impact contractor’s welfare container now moved to Pilrig parking/loading zone, reducing capacity photo This is additional welfare to support our project COVID measures. The welfare provision was put here and has not had an impact on availability of parking spaces at this time. We will monitor this and should it need moved we can look into arranging that
  • H Tobermann: the very existence of this container reduces the number of parking spaces. The container needs serviced – the photo shows the resulting ‘guddle’. Could it not be put on a current workspace. Why was CCTT given no warning?
0221.9 impact on pedestrians deteriorating Leith Walk running lane causes ponding and splashing of pedestrians photo photo The running lane has been repaired last week following deterioration and the bad weather. All issues at present now resolved.
  • H Tobermann: the photos show the running lane has not been repaired. The puddles can seriously inconvenience pedestrians. Someone should check that the work is done correctly.
    • S Jackson: the whole length of the running lane was repaired last week. We continue to monitor its condition. Further necessary repairs will be implemented.

3.d        Other matters

  • J Marlborough: Thank you to TT for cleaning up around Melrose Drive and Ocean Drive.
  • J Marlborough: Leith Connections: Turner & Townsend are involved with this, so why is it not advertised in relation to trams? Cycle routes were on the TT/CCTT agenda 2 years ago. There was a very short period for the consultation.
  • S Jackson; this scheme was linked to tram in that CEC promised to implement it alongside trams in the full business case. Turner & Townsend is involved with it, but it’s separate to the trams project. The two do engage with each other, to ensure delivery of what was promised. The consultation period was extended.
  • C Wilson: TT will promote the consultation via its own media: the newsletter and social media.

3.e        Discussions via chat

  • A Mackenzie: who has dug up the junction of Maritime St and Lane? And how long it wil be closed for?
  • R Armstrong: it was Scottish Water claiming this was emergency works.
  • A Mackenzie: It totally bungs up an already massively disrupted area. And if it’s an emergency, I’ve yet to see anyone working on it. Maybe they do it at night?
  • R Armstrong: Agreed, we had the same issue on Easter Road with SGN. Once a utility company registers work as an emergency they have the authority to carry these works out. Do you want to chat over these concerns offline?

4           Update TT

4.a        Summary of progress made by TT from 28 January to 25 February 2021

4.a.1     Utility diversion and construction progress made since last meeting

  • S Jackson: work is progressing well:
  • Lowering and other civil engineering continues at Lindsay Rd. Melrose Drive has now been handed over to the infrastructure contractor.
  • At Ocean Terminal, track-form installation is progressing well, and the tram-stop is now under construction. On Ocean Drive, utilities work is on schedule. Utility work is concluding on Stevedore Place – it will soon be handed over to the infrastructure contractor. Infrastructure work should be less noisy than utility/excavation work.
  • On Constitution St, most of the track-slab has now been installed. The south end of Constitution St has been handed over to the infrastructure contractor – it has started work towards rebuilding the graveyard wall.
  • Most of Leith Walk is now with the infrastructure contractor. This does not include the sites at Jane St and Albert St/Dalmeny St, where more complex utility work is still in progress. Over the next month, public realm/footway work will commence. All track-work will have been completed between Pilrig St and Dalmeny St this week.
  • In March, TT will start work on the substation at 165 Leith Walk. This will involve moving some containers.
  • R Leech: due to the public/realm/infrastructure work on Leith walk, some temporary cycle-routes will be closed and/or diverted. This will be replicated over time in short sections of Leith Walk. The imminent changes will be in this week’s newsletter. TT understands this will cause some concerns. TT has tried hard to have cycling provision all through construction but some closures are inevitable.
  • H Tobermann: please ensure proper pedestrian facilities are maintained on the west side.
  • S Jackson: footfall and access to businesses are priorities for TT.
  • H Tobermann: please explain the complex work necessitating the changes mentioned above.
  • S Jackson: at Jane St, TT needs to divert a large medium-pressure gas-main that crosses Leith Walk. TT always knew this would not be handed over to the infrastructure contractor now. There have been no actual issues with this work but it has been delayed by bad weather. It should be finished by the end of March.
  • At Dalmeny St, there are high-voltage Scottish Power cables. These are not being diverted but TT needs to excavate carefully here. This work is being coordinated so cables are not exposed for a long period.
  • C Encombe: once track has been laid, but before trams operate, will the road be open to normal traffic?
  • S Jackson: yes

4.a.2     New issues (if any) encountered by TT/contractors

S Jackson: there have been no unexpected issues.

4.a.3     Review of latest TT dashboard

  • S Jackson: 21 of 40 detailed design-packages have been completed. Packages are segregated by discipline, e.g. track-works, street-lighting, traffic signals, landscaping, then by location.
  • Public realm is in the remaining 19 packages.
  • S Jackson: The safety observation index is the expected number of safety observations. This metric was reduced due to bad weather when no staff were on-site.
  • S Jackson: construction progress is now on a separate dashboard.
  • Action: R Leech to send on details
  • C Wilson (on stakeholders and communications): it’s currently taking ~85 hours on average to resolve queries. In the last 30 days, 238 have been received. (Prior to the winter holidays, the monthly average was ~500.). The increased average time (it was ~82 hours) is due to a flurry of business-continuity applications. Covid has also affected this time. There have been concerns about Stevedore Place. Queries can be quite complex, relating to general CEC matters – it may take time to obtain information from CEC.
  • Most enquiries arrive by email, phone and social media.
  • TT shares relevant issues with relevant CEC staff and Edinburgh Trams – this helps resolving queries.
  • H Tobermann: there was a spike in January–February, but the number has now decreased, implying that there was a specific issue that has now been resolved.
  • C Wilson: there have been complex issues. Weekly senior-level discussions cover these.
  • A Hardie: how can CCTT know if any particular problem is in TT’s system?
  • C Wilson: if an issue has reached senior level, the complainer will have made it well-known, so I won’t be the only TT staff involved. Hence scrutiny is in place.
  • J Marlborough: people come to community councils as a last resort.
  • C Wilson: if CCs hear of unresolved matters, please tell me.

4.a.4     Review of recent comms (incoming and outgoing)

No discussion

4.b        TT plans 25 February through to end February and beyond

4.b.1     Construction Work programme

See section 4.a.i

4.b.2     Changes to pedestrian and traffic routes

See section 4.a.i

4.b.3     Timeline for upcoming TROs, designs of public realm, and planning applications

  • R Armstrong: the TRO for banning left turns from leith Walk onto London Rd went to statutory consultation this week.
  • R Armstrong: part-closures of cycle-routes will be advertised in tomorrow’s newsletter. Relevant stateholders have already been informed.
  • H Tobermann: please share such news in advance with CCTT.
  • R Armstrong: we will do this.
  • R Leech: consultation lasts 28 calendar days (20 working days). TT can arrange a walkthrough, subject to compliance with coronavirus regulations.
  • S Jackson/R Armstrong: relevant drawings should be ready now. TT would send drawings to CCTT members in advance of meeting them.
    • Action: CCTT members to make individual arrangements with R Armstrong before 15 March
  • R Leech: the full TRO for the whole route will be published on 29 March. TT is happy to talk with CCTT about it earlier.
  • J Marlborough: seats have been removed from Ocean Terminal, and bins are now behind fences, so are unavailable. There have been no notifications of these.
  • R Leech/S Jackson: TT will look into the bin problem. Seats are available nearby. Discovery Garden is still open.

4.b.4     Upcoming outgoing comms

See other sections

4.b.5     Changes (if any) to projected completion dates for key phases and the overall project

R Leech: the project is on schedule: commercial trams will run in July 2023.TT aims for work-completion in spring 2023.

5           Any other business


6           Next meeting

THU 25 March 2021