Is this what Constitution Street really needs? And will the Council listen?

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
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