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Design Principles

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Tram stops


Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) and central reservation


Footways and public realm


Tram stops

Why does the tram stop at York Place need to be demolished?

The tram stop at York Place will be demolished as the stop is currently located on top of the position for the tracks to be taken through to Picardy Place and beyond.  The stop at York Place was always envisaged as being temporary and as such the track slab has already been constructed under the stop.

What will tram stops look like?

Stops on the new section of the tram line will follow similar design principles to those on the operational line.

Why have centre island platforms been chosen as design solution for stops?

Centre island platforms are a common solution for stops on light rail schemes.  The island platforms have been chosen as the best way to introduce a stop with minimal impact to the area for other uses such as footway space, road use and cycling.  Also, as the tram lines will run up the middle of Leith Walk, the most effective solution is island platforms in these instances.

How does the Foot of the Walk stop fit within the constrained space on Constitution Street?

The stop at Foot of the Walk will sit at the Leith Walk end of Constitution Street.  Space here is tight and so we are proposing side platforms that share space with the pavements.  Any tram stop furniture will be minimised and fixed to buildings where possible.

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OLE and central reservation

Why does the line have to operate with OLE poles?

The current system operates with an overhead wire system and as such the existing fleet of vehicles are designed to operate in this manner.  This project does not require additional vehicles to be added to the fleet and as such the line to Newhaven must operate with Overhead Line and therefore requires overhead line poles or building fixings to be put in place to support the wire.

Why does the design on Leith Walk include for a central reservation and why not put OLE poles on the footways?

The Central reservation was considered as part of the original consultation and community workshops.  The inclusion of a central reserve predominantly allows the design to include all OLE poles and street lighting assets to be in the central reservation thus de-cluttering footways.  This was considered at the community workshops and it was identified that by removing the central reservation and utilising side poles did not give any additional benefit in terms of footway/usable space and as such has been considered to be the most effective option.  The introduction of a central reserve at 1.8m wide also allows for a safe refuge space when crossing the road on Leith Walk providing additional permeability from one side of the street to the other.

Why does the central reservation on Leith Walk need to be kerbed?

The Central reservation is kerbed to provide protection to the OLE poles and to restrict right hand turning manoeuvres at non-signalised junctions.  This area, however, will now also be extended to 1.8m wide allowing for it to be lowered locally and utilised as a safe refuge point for crossing.

Why are there three different types of track slab (standard, soft, floating) being used along the route?

The choice of track slab for each location is determined by the ground conditions, vibration checks and proximity to building. 

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Footways and public realm

What is the rationale for the design of the footways on Leith Walk?

The design for Leith Walk was developed in close consultation with the community and stakeholders during 2018 to allow residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclist to co-exist with buses and trams.

The Edinburgh Street Design Guidance (ESDG) recognises that flexibility is required to accommodate a variety of modes in the design of existing streets.  As Leith Walk is an existing street and is classified as a Strategic Retail/High Street, the guidance is that footways should be a minimum of 2.5m wide. However, there are situations in which reductions in footway width are permissible, which are summarised below:

  • When segregated cycle provision is being installed in existing streets, it may be acceptable to reduce footway widths.
  • Footways may have reduced widths, over short lengths not exceeding 3m in long profile, to negotiate mature trees and other obstructions e.g., bus stops, but they should at no point be less than 1.5m from kerb edge to building line.
  • Where public utility services underlie the footway, special arrangements may be necessary at sections of reduced width to accommodate utilities in the carriageway or verge.

Read more about guidance on the design of footways as part of the ESDG.

The ESDG also recommends that one way cycle lanes should be 1.75m wide but should be no less than 1.5m. In exceptional circumstances this can be further reduced to 1.25m and parallel to bus stops can be reduced to 1.2m.  

Read more about guidance on the design of cycle lanes as part of the ESDG.

Leith Walk is almost 2km long with footways on both sides of the road. The new layout will have approximately 240m of footway that is less than 2.5 m wide as a result of the presence of a cycle lane in combination with other factors such as bin bays, loading and parking bays, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.  There are no sections where the width of the footway reduces below 1.5 metres, with the narrowest section being 1.8 metres for a distance of 28 metres. 

These designs deliver an enhanced public realm for pedestrians and cyclists while also ensuring space for quality public transport provision.

What are continuous footways such as those installed on Brunswick Street?

The design for Leith Walk was developed in close consultation with the community and stakeholders in 2018 to allow residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists to co-exist with buses and trams.

Continuous footways, such as those implemented on Brunswick Street, Stead's Place and Springfield Street, have been designed in accordance with the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance with a view to prioritising pedestrian and cyclist movements and have undergone safety audits, as with all designs on the project. See the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance for more information.

Please bear in mind that continuous footways will also be put in place on side streets at various locations across the route.

The recently updated Highway Code gives priority to pedestrians crossing at a junction and states that drivers and motorcyclists should not cut across cyclists when turning in or out of a junction. The continuous footway acts as a visual reminder to motorists of this.

What happens to public realm work installed on Constitution Street?

Once work is complete the public realm at Constitution Street will benefit from a series of improvements.  This will include simplified crossing points for pedestrians, an increase in public space using natural stone paving, specimen trees, seating and cycle stands.

How much green/ public realm space will be introduced as part of the design?

Major public realm works are planned for Elm Row, Ocean Terminal and Bernard Street.  Here you will see improvements to the landscaping, paving, street lighting and public spaces.  All monuments either currently in place or in storage would also be reintroduced.  We also intend to will introduce benches, trees, grassed areas and improved pavements and road surfaces.

Will trees along the route need to be removed as part of the works?

The removal of any trees will only happen if there is no alternative. Under the terms of the contract, if a tree is removed it will be replaced by two trees of similar stature within the vicinity.

Will trees along the route need to be removed as part of the works?

The yellow boxes on the carriageway on the route, along with signage,  warn tram drivers that they are approaching a non-signalised pedestrian crossing. There is also signage in place to highlight to pedestrians to look both ways before crossing.

The City of Edinburgh Council recently pledged to be a one million tree city by 2030, read the full article. 

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