Tramlines to the future?

The tram story continues to defy understanding. Leith Open Space is not attempting to repeat arguments for and against we simply thought we would collect some of the informative and constructive comments made on different city blogs. Not least because the question of repairing the damage to Leith remains unanswered.

You will detect a certain bias – in favour of the trams – but this is not a simple party political matter.  Perhaps the strongest and most detailed case for the tram is put by a former SNP MSP, Christopher Harvie.

The Greatest transport disaster since the Tay Bridge, Harvie’s tram chronicle on the Scottish Review blog, is  well worth reading. With equal vigour, he lays into media, city council, motorists, bankers and shifting government policy.  The great unanswered question is always, why it went so badly wrong. Whatever the reason, Harvie makes a killer observation for the dire consequence of failure: not just for Edinburgh but for the Scottish economy.

Whether or not the tram proceeds, possible investors in Scotland’s renewable energy technologies will require convincing that the skill and industrial intelligence to succeed in systems installation exists.

Ross Martin’s Scotsman article The tram network just needs a driver makes a forceful case for an elected mayor (does Edinburgh possess a Ken Livingstone?). Strong and visionary leadership, he says, could have driven the tram project to completion long ago.

In the great European cities …from Barcelona to Venice, from Dubrovnik to London, an elected mayor, call them provosts in Scotland if you please, drives the development and regeneration of their cities. They lead them in times of trouble and they set out their stall to deliver growth

And what about Leith?  Action needed now to repair damage done to Leith a passionate polemic on Greener Leith blog urges immediate investment in the shopping streets of Leith

What is urgently needed is not more pie in the sky, but a coherently worked out investment plan to kick start the sustainable, resilient, regeneration of Leith

A similar point is made by Mark Lazarowicz, MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith, in his latest blog Trams: Practical Action Needed Now.

Let’s not forget the people of North Edinburgh and Leith where the tram was originally meant to have gone. Traders and residents along Leith Walk and Constitution Street in particular have suffered years of disruption – it’s been ‘all pain, no gain’…whatever happens in the future, there needs to be much more substantial help now to support businesses and economic activity in Leith Walk and Leith.

Of course that won’t be the last word…

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