13 Oct 2015
Council chiefs to discuss long-term transport vision for Leeds
A 20-year vision to improve Leeds and its transport network is to be discussed by senior councillors next week.
Ideas of possible changes to improve transport infrastructure as well as making the city centre more attractive and people-friendly will be discussed at the executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 21 October.
The aim of the paper is to start discussions around options that will influence the Single Transport Plan being prepared the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The report proposes ways of moving away from the ‘motorway city’ idea from the 1970s which resulted in a road-heavy city centre, while the executive board will also consider a separate report on how to enhance public spaces to make them more pedestrian-friendly and productive for a modern city centre economy.
A package of measures is already being worked on to reduce the impact of traffic in Leeds city centre, which would see the closure of City Square to general traffic by 2021 as part of the creation of a world-class gateway to the city.
Further measures are proposed to improve the infrastructure at Armley Gyratory, Ingram Distributor and the M621 to reroute traffic away from the city centre.
Other proposals in the report for discussion as part of the vision include:
- Possible closure of Neville Street to general traffic to further enhance the city centre
- Providing a major rail hub which offers the best possible long-term solution to host high-speed rail services and increased local services
- Review the options for the Inner Ring Road as a key strategic highway
- Enhanced measures and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists and improving the public realm through reduced vehicle use in the city centre and South Bank
- Sustainable modes of high-quality additional public transport
- Developing a low-emission strategy promoting carbon reduction and better air quality
- Further development of park and ride facilities
- Providing electric vehicle charging points
- Complementary car parking policy with a focus on unlocking brownfield sites in the city centre
- Improvement to highways to ease congestion, offer more reliable and faster journey times plus improving freight efficiency
- Provide new transport infrastructure for key economic areas such as access to Leeds Bradford Airport, East Leeds Extension and the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone
This ideas put forward are the result of widespread engagement across the city, with the aim of continuing the discussion so that the vision can be fully integrated within the Single Transport Plan.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“This report is deliberately aimed at provoking debate, ideas and conversation about the future of the transport network in Leeds. The ultimate ambition is to have a modern transport network which is as integrated as possible allowing people to move around the city as quickly and easily as possible, so we are very keen to build on the discussions we have already had to formulate some definite plans.
“Historically, transport especially in the city centre has been heavily influenced by the 18th and 19th centuries when the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the main railway lines into the city opened. Those developments, followed by the ‘motorway city’ approach of the 1970s, have left us with the network we have today which is outdated and very restrictive. We are now keen to move away from that, getting traffic out of the city centre and making it a more attractive place to live, work and visit as well as addressing the need to reduce traffic pollution in Leeds. The exciting regeneration of the South Bank area gives us the ideal opportunity to reshape the city and the city centre again in a modern, forward-thinking way. We look forward to continuing this debate and hearing what people think.”
Notes to editors:
The package to create a new gateway to Leeds by closing City Square to general traffic is part of the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund City Centre Package being managed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
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