The railway cycle paths are a brilliant asset of living in Leith. But despite recent improvements – new benches – the Restalrig path is still in a bit of a state. So a much needed clean-up of that path will take place on May 11, organised by Councillor Adam McVey and Councillor Tymkewyc. Are you free? Fancy volunteering? If you do, head along to the Hawkhill Avenue end of the path at 11am. The usual kit will be provided: gloves, bags, litter pickers. The hope is that the whole path can be cleared so everyone is welcome.
In response to our recent Tweet we were delighted to receive the text of a letter sent by one Constitution Street resident as part of the council’s online consultation on the Leith Improvement programme. I’ve posted it below because I think you’ll agree it gets to the heart of what needs to be done by the Council in order to both ensure that the planned improvements really do impact positively on the the street and also that the concerns of residents are acted upon. (The final paragraph is crucially important.)As far as we’re aware, the Council have not as yet responded to the questions raised, perhaps they will when given this second opportunity?As a home-owning resident of Constitution Street, near the junction of Queen Charlotte St, on the eastern side of the street, opposite the St Mary’s Star of the Sea church, my primary concern is for a satisfactory reinstatement of the road surface and the pavements alongside it.Since being dug up, filled in, dug up and filled in again repeatedly (for utilities work) during the period when the council still intended to run the tram down here, the street’s surface has been a widely acknowledged disgrace. Also, at times during this period, increased use of the street by HGVs and buses (when neighbouring streets used by certain buses were closed and the buses were rerouted down Constitution Street) the impact on residential properties along the street was frankly hellish. There were times when our house rumbled and shook more or less constantly day and night.Matters have improved since a big yellow sign was put up on Bernard Street stating that Constitution St was “unsuitable for HGVs”, and since further signs were put up restricting speed to 20mph – and I would sincerely urge the powers that be to retain the 20mph restriction once the reinstatement works are completed. If possible, making the speed restriction signage clearer and then enforcing it would be a big help locally as it is frequently ignored, particularly by the HGVs that still use the street and by buses. Incidentally, the speed-sensor unit fixed to a lamp-post directly opposite the Port of Leith Housing Association building has ceased to work.I’d be very happy for a council official to visit our property and witness for themselves the physical disruption and noise nuisance in a building abutting this narrow section of Constitution Street. We have been here for nearly six years, we now have two small children aged 5 and 3, and there are many other families with young children in and around this area for whom the neglect and mismanagement of Constitution Street has been and remains a more or less constant thorn in our side.Finally, re the reinstatement works, I would urge the council to insist that the contractors look below the surface of the street, carrying out a proper structural survey and addressing any problems that may lie beneath the surface. I say this because on more than one occasion, in the aftermath of the successive waves of utility work carried out some three to four years ago, workmen had to return to fix holes that opened up in the street, discovering that the previous workmen had failed to properly fill in the holes they’d dug – and there were found to be “voids” left beneath the surface of the street, which exacerbated the percussive effects of traffic on the road. It would be a serious oversight – with likely unnecessary future cost implications – if the contractors (McNicholas Construction?) failed to deal properly with the underpinning of the street and simply addressed the cosmetic aspect of the street’s surface.Andy Mackenzie, Constitution Street resident
So, we’re all cock a hoop with the improvement plan, aren’t we? Yes, the pavement outside my flat has been left cracked and broken (as has a tile at the entrance to my stair) by the recent work but surely when the new pavements are laid and the road surface replaced we’re all going to see – and feel – a huge and long-overdue improvement in how things have been over recent years since… no, I’m not going into it again.
But here’s a thing – how do we KNOW that the new work is going to be an improvement? Who is going to monitor that the problems many of us have complained to the council about in recent months and years (the fact that our homes rumble and shake as heavy vehicles and buses pass) are addressed by the work that is done?
According to some, the work on Constitution Street will be done by the time the Fringe begins in the summer so really we need to get thinking about this now. I know I should probably just trust that the council will do right by us but let’s face it that’s not exactly what’s happened up until now. For most of us, our homes are our biggest assets, they’re what we spend most of our monthly income on, they’re where we most want to feel safe and secure – shouldn’t we do our best to make sure that the works the council undertakes really ARE improvements?
Despite the fact that every time I’m in a taxi the only topic of conversation is the tram debacle – often because we’re sitting in stationary traffic as a result of the state of the city’s roads due to the project – I sometimes forget just how badly this whole scheme has been run. I suppose it’s like really bad news that you just can’t quite keep facing so you allow yourself to forget. But reading Allan Alstead’s guest blog on the Guardian Scotland blog, I’ve been reminded in glorious technicolour just how shockingly bad it is. And it’s not even open yet.
If you want to read the worst of it, click here.
And do let us know if you agree with Allstead – have you lost faith in Edinburgh Council and its officials as a result of the trams?
Residents are invited to come along and vote for three priorities for each ward. It is also a chance to meet members of the Community Safety Team, and learn more about their work, and what they can do to help. There will also be a report back on work done based on the vote taken at the November meeting.
McDonald Road – Speeding & road safety concerns
Drummond High School – Inconsiderate & unsafe parking
Leith Walk – ASB on Friday & Saturday nights relating to licensed premises
Albion Road – Speeding
Albion Terrace – Dog fouling & environmental improvements
Spey Terrace & Dryden Terrace area – Dog fouling
Ward 13 (NL26, NL27, NL28)
Pirniefield & Restalrig – Inconsiderate parking & traffic issues
Restalrig – Youth nuisances
Water of Leith Walkway – Seasonal anti social behaviour & street drinking
Restalrig – Dog fouling
Western Harbour – Stair security & underground car park security
Great Junction Street – Stair security.