Motorists' concerns

Edinburgh tram line ‘leaves no space to park’

Motorists have been spotted parking on the new cycle lane

Motorists say Edinburgh’s £200 million tram line extension has left too little room to park their vehicles, leaving them at risk of fines.

Passenger services begin this week on the three-mile link between the city centre and Newhaven, but already there are concerns that trams may face hold-ups because the design has not left enough space between parking bays and the lines.

Some drivers have resorted to parking on the pavement or in the cycle lanes to avoid getting too close to the tracks.

Edinburgh council insists there is no problem with the layout but it has employed parking wardens who will provide “extra enforcement” measures to ensure there are no delays.

Phil Bentham, a van driver from Manchester, told the Sunday Mail newspaper that space in loading bays between the tram tracks and the cycle lane along Leith Walk was inadequate.

“The loading bays aren’t wide enough. If I parked fully on the road I would definitely have obstructed a tram,” he said. “The loading bay is right beside the tram and cycle lane. I had to mount the kerb and fold the mirrors in or I’d have been blocking the trams.”

Scott Dixon, a consumer advice expert who specialises in motoring issues, believes the council should have foreseen problems on the route.

He said: “City of Edinburgh council ought to have had the foresight and vision to see these potential issues and accommodate all road users. These bays were clearly designed many years ago when vehicles were generally much smaller than they are now.

“Parking and loading bays ought to be accessible for all road users. Why should anyone be fined due to the council’s incompetence?

“I’d suggest the council doesn’t use its inability to foresee problems they have caused as an excuse to penalise road users who are simply trying to do their best to adhere to the rules without causing any obstruction.”

Scott Arthur, the city council’s transport and environment convener, said: “It is important that vehicles are parked properly. We’ll be carrying out increased enforcement along the route to ensure this is the case. The new layout will take time to bed in. That’s the purpose of the period of testing.”

Services on the new route between Picardy Place in the city centre and Newhaven are scheduled to start from 7 June. Work began on the £207.3 million extension in November 2019.

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