Cycle campaigners have joined forces with local creatives to highlight the negative impact of both the tram project and new rules which come in to force today that makes staging even free public art events illegal – without a license from the council.
Angry local artists are planning to bring Leith Walk to a standstill at 12pm today, by running a “multicoloured pedal powered people’s tram,” slowly up and down the street.
Leith based James Stewart, who describes himself as a “Freelance Interventionist” says in a statement released to selected local websites: “This intervention aims to challenge users of Leith Walk to make their own intervention in the street – to claim it back from the state.
“It’s a public place, we shouldn’t need permits or licences to use it,” he added. “We’re encouraging anyone who wants to be part of the first tram to run down Leith Walk to join us at 12pm on Elm Row.”
Described as a “pop up art installation,” The People’s Tram event has been kept under wraps until the last minute as organisers were concerned that their plan would be “regulated out of existence,” if they went public earlier.
It is affiliated to the wider series of April Foolery events that are being organised throughout the city in order to protest at the Public Entertainment Licence regulations – dubbed by artists an Art’s Tax.
The People’s Tram event also comes in the wake of news that Leith Walk has been named as one of the worst streets in the UK to cycle in.
One local cyclist who helped to conceive of the plan said: “Most cyclists would probably support the idea of a tram – if not the impact it has had on Leith Walk. So when we were talking about how we could make a meaningful contribution to the wider April Foolery protest it seemed entirely sensible to me to come up with a means of highlighting two incredibly daft things the government has done – the first is to try and force everyone to get a license for all free events and the second is to destroy one of the main streets in Edinburgh on the pretext of the tram – only to decide not to put a tram down it.
“And besides I get to say I was on the first tram down Leith Walk in a long time.”
The People’s Tram will depart from Elm Row at 12pm on April the 1st.