Leeds City Council is set to approve plans for the city centre. They aim to improve bus reliability – ensuring that buses can navigate easily through the centre – and to substantially enhance the quality of the city centre by increasing public space, and improving walking and cycling. They will contribute to the Council’s aim to improve local air quality and encourage active travel.

This work is part of Connecting Leeds which plans to invest an unprecedented £270million in Leeds’ transport network. This long-term transport strategy for Leeds aims to improve all aspects of transport and travel in the city and connect people to the wider Leeds City Region. That will involve improvements to road, rail, bus, park and ride, cycling and walking services and infrastructure. It will reduce congestion and improve air quality and accessibility in Leeds.

This current stage focuses on plans for the city centre. It involves the Headrow, Westgate, Vicar Lane between the Headrow and North Street, New Briggate, Infirmary Street and Park Row, Cookridge Street and small lengths of streets linking these together.

Vicar Lane, for example, will be two-way for buses and some general traffic, removing the bottleneck on the Headrow. This will make the closure of traffic to the lower section of New Briggate easier, making for a more pedestrian-friendly area.
Some bus stops would relocate to more suitable areas with wider footways for passengers to wait. Bus-only restrictions would look to create more space and to improve bus journey time reliability.

By improving bus reliability and punctuality, the city centre schemes will help increase public transport use, in line with the council’s target of doubling the number of bus users in ten years.

The plans were put out for public consultation last summer, and responses were very positive. There’s strong support for reducing car dominance in the city centre, improving facilities for bus passengers and enhancing our public spaces and places.
Another phase of public consultation opened on 11 March and will close midnight this Friday 12 April. You can still comment on the plans available on http://www.leeds.gov.uk/connectingleeds

Councillor Judith Blake, Labour leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This multi-million pound investment will see huge improvements for public transport reliability, reducing delays and giving buses priority to get easily through the city centre. They will also enhance the ability for people to move about the city by foot or by bike. There’s been some really good initial feedback to these proposals, which include the added benefit of creating more attractive and improved public spaces. I would urge people there’s still opportunity to view and comment on the plans by midnight Friday 12 April.”

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