Tramworks (n; pl): Areas of Edinburgh dug up for ridiculously long periods of time, causing massive amounts of disruption, for the purpose of installing (or preparing to install) sections of the city’s much bemoaned tram ‘network’; commonly prefixed by an expletive.
“Oh my” “You cannot be serious?” “I don’t believe you!” Just three of the remarks that people have replied to me with when I’ve told them that work on Princes Street (we’re getting trams, had you heard?) is due to be completed ‘on time’. Well, this particular set of tramworks are “due” (note room for manoeuvre) to be completed ‘on schedule’ (said schedule presumably not being the one saying we’d have three lines in operation by 2011); meaning that Princes Street will once again open to buses, taxis and cyclists on June 30th.
This is a bit of a surprise mainly because I’m not aware of any other set of central tramworks being completed anywhere near on time. It’s also a bit of a false celebration because there was only ever meant to be one set of tramworks on Princes Street and they finished almost two years ago; however, due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ (the management seemingly the only people who aren’t able to foresee incompetence) they had to go back and dig it all up again.
Moaning aside, I am glad that Princes Street is once again able to be used. The fencing and other barriers that have festooned it for most of the last 11 plus months have not exactly sold the city to its full potential. Thank goodness they won’t be there during the festival (the traditional season for making money out of gullible tourists).
The jollity is slightly lessened, however, when you discover that York Place is to be closed for a year for yet more work and that Shandwick Place is little more than one massive hole; but I feel we should celebrate whenever possible (goodness knows there are precious few such moments in this project). More exciting is the closure of part of George Street for the festival season. Yes it’ll be a bit of a hassle [read: complete and utter pain in the backside], but they’re closing it to make it into a pub (the Spiegeltent, normally in George Square, no less); so that is clearly much more acceptable (it’s a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality; totally not casual alcoholism…).
Whether Princes Street will indeed reopen this weekend remains to be seen (lets just say I don’t think anyone is holding their breath); but I think the council are missing a trick here: If you have to close streets for your ridiculous trams, put an interesting drinking establishment on it, then it will be much more acceptable and it’ll lessen the pain (unless you fall down a hole after having one too many).