A £20million city centre improvement scheme has reached the next exciting phase of delivery.
From Sunday (4 October), buses will return to serve the Headrow in both directions. This means that the temporary bus stops on Calverley Street, Great George Street and Merrion Street will be taken out of use and later removed. Bus services will return to bus stops on The Headrow and Albion Street.
The return of a two-way bus operation on the Headrow will enable the return of bus services to the Bus Station, such as the 72 and support the return of cross-city connections such as service 1 which links the north and south of the city. As well as this, priority measures will soon be introduced to improve bus journey times for users.
The work forms part of the Connecting Leeds ambition to improve bus reliability, reduce congestion, enhance the quality of the city centre and reduce air pollution. This is a partnership with Leeds City Council, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus operators investing in public transport including new, low emission buses serving many communities. The work is being delivered by contractor John Sisk & Son.
Safer crossings are being introduced to improve the area for pedestrians and wider footways will allow for more café seating and greenery, complementing forthcoming plans the city has to enhance the historic townscape on The Headrow next year.
The first nine shipping container sized tree pits have also been dug out in preparation for the first semi-mature trees to be planted in tree-planting season. In total there will be a net gain of over 30 trees on the Headrow scheme alone.
Executive board member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:
“I am sure that we are all delighted to see this multi-million pound scheme progress towards its final stages. Buses returning to serve the Headrow in both directions again will significantly improve journey times for the travelling public and ease access into and out of the city centre ahead of the Christmas period.
“As well as creating a more attractive and improved public realm the finished Headrow scheme will help contribute towards our ambition to tackle the climate emergency and improve air quality in the city centre.
“As ever, I would like to thank people for their co-operation and patience while we complete this vital project. We are urging people to continue to plan their journeys in advance to avoid any disruption and consider walking or cycling for shorter trips.”
Commenting on behalf of the Bus Alliance representing all operators in Leeds, Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire said:
“Customers have been really understanding in helping all bus operators to manage changes to routes and stops during the months needed to complete this necessary work. The re-opening of The Headrow will enable everyone to realise the benefits of better punctuality and predictable journey times that come with improved bus priority.”
Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said:
“The Headrow scheme will transform this key thoroughfare in the heart of Leeds and it will create a more useable space for pedestrians and people waiting for buses. I have high hopes that the new look Headrow will encourage more people to come into the city centre by public transport, walking and cycling which will ultimately improve local air quality. It’s vital we invest in our bus infrastructure now so that we can respond to anticipated increase in demand once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“Over the coming months we will continue to work with our partners to keep disruption during the next stages of the project to a minimum.”
The project is expected to be fully complete by spring 2021. Information about new bus routes and stops can be found at www.wymetro.com