10 Aug 2021
Work to transform four key areas in Leeds city centre complete after two years of construction
Construction work, designed to transform the bus network, reduce public transport journey times and improve public realm has completed in four key areas in the city.
The Headrow, Cookridge Street, Park Row and Infirmary Street have all been given a transformational makeover as part of the Connecting Leeds programme.
The multi-million-pound programme aims to improve the city centre as a place to work, live, shop and entertain and will now act as a world-class gateway for bus users, pedestrians and cycle users.
The Headrow is one of the most important roads in the city centre, with over 100 buses passing through every hour. Consultations carried out in early 2018 highlighted issues along the route affecting transport and the environment.
The road now offers priority access for buses and cyclists; safer, more convenient crossings for pedestrians; dedicated bus gates to remove through traffic in the city; wider pavements, and more greenery and street furniture.
Delivered by contractors John Sisk & Son, the scheme also offers people easier connections between bus and rail services and fewer vehicle dominated areas.
As part of the Headrow work, Vicar Lane has been opened in both directions for buses between The Headrow and North Street, which aims to remove the bottleneck at The Headrow and New Briggate junction. This has created the opportunity to close the lower section of New Briggate and work is continuing there to further enhance the pedestrian experience.
On Cookridge Street, the area has been completely closed to traffic and an urban realm area has been created which is suitable for events. It has outdoor seating and its own segregated cycle lane which connects the north of the city with the rail station. The removal of traffic from Cookridge Street has provided an opportunity to change the traffic signal timing providing more green time for public transport travelling in and out of the city centre.
Elsewhere in the city, Park Row has been successfully converted into a one-way street for most of its length making it easier for buses to use. The pavements have been significantly widened offering pedestrians more space and giving businesses the opportunity to offer outdoor seating.
Infirmary Street has been converted into a two-way operation and bus-only restrictions will improve journey times and air quality.
Cameras and enforcement will start to activate over the coming months, plan your journeys appropriately.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate said:
“I am delighted that these much-anticipated schemes have been completed and would like to thank people for their patience over the past two years, in particular the businesses and residents based in the work areas.
"Like any city centre project, this work was always going to be challenging and with the added pressures of the COVID pandemic and reduced workforces our contractors and partners have had to work extra hard to complete the schemes efficiently. We have fortunately been able to take advantage of the quieter roads and pavements during lockdowns and worked alongside our stakeholders to rejig the programmes and ensure key areas were mostly completed to coincide with reopening.
"We all want the city centre to be an inviting place for people to visit and the work we are doing to prioritise public and active travel creates a nicer environment for everyone. These new green spaces we have made, and continue to make, give people a new and welcoming place to relax and take in the buzz of the city.
"The council has set an ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2030 and it’s schemes such as these which reduce car dominance and promote active travel options that will help us to achieve our goals.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said:
“I am pleased to see that people are at the heart of these schemes, all of which play a huge part in transforming the city’s bus network, reducing car dominance in the city centre, providing high quality cycle facilities and new public spaces.
"Improved public transport will be a vital part of the inclusive and sustainable economic recovery that our region needs and I am especially pleased to see the benefits for bus passengers, walkers and cyclists that these schemes provide.”
Councillor Kim Groves, Lead Member for Public Transport, West Yorkshire Combined Authority commented:
“The completion of these schemes coupled with the recent launch of the new Leeds Core Bus Network marks an exciting time for Leeds city centre. These improvements are an important milestone in our commitment to establishing a well-connected transport system that makes travel around West Yorkshire easy and reliable.”
Nick Culshaw managing director at John Sisk & Son said:
“We’re incredibly proud to have delivered this scheme on behalf of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“The social, economic and environmental benefits that the scheme offers will also be enjoyed by many future generations.
“The city now looks modern and inviting and it’s a real pleasure to see people enjoying the improvements”.
For media enquiries contact:
Leeds City Council