Plans for transport improvements on key Leeds commuter route

Leeds, Leeds Star

A new £2.61m project aimed at making the Whitehall Road area an easier place to travel for busses, bikes, cars and pedestrians will go before senior councillors in Leeds next week.

The improvement scheme, which will be entirely funded by contributions from local developers, will include new pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes and widening of the road to create extra space for buses.

The project will not only aim to ease traffic flow in one of the city’s key commuter routes, but also offset any potential impact of emerging plans to reduce the traffic in City Square by 2021.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“The Whitehall Road area has seen some major new developments in recent years, with more on the way, and that will of course mean more people travelling in and around the area by bike, on foot and on public transport.

“These planned improvements to Whitehall Road will make a real difference, and will be paid for entirely by contributions from developers, meaning their projects will not only contribute to a stronger local economy but will also mean a better commuting experience for those travelling and working in the Whitehall Road area.

“Other exciting plans are also in progress that we believe will fundamentally change the way people travel around Leeds centre over the next five years. This work will allow us to help future proof some of the very important roads in the city centre, whilst providing some great improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.”

At next week’s meeting of the council’s executive board, councillors will be asked to approve improvement works at the junction of Northern Street and Whitehall Road along with the spending of £2.61m of section 106 money contributed by developers.

The full programme of works will include widening of Whitehall Road to the north and south sides and widening of Northern Street to create separate cycling facilities.

The junction of Whitehall Road and Northern Street would also be widened to accommodate pedestrian crossing facilities and more room for traffic.

If approved, work on the project would be expected to start in January 2017 and take around 48 weeks.

Last year the council unveiled a 20-year vision to improve Leeds and its transport network.

Ideas put forward included the closure of City Square to general traffic, further development of park and ride facilities and improvements to the infrastructure at Armley Gyratory, Ingram Distributor and the M621 to reroute traffic away from the city centre.

To see a full copy of the executive board report on the proposed Whitehall Road improvements, visit: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s148329/Whitehall%20Road%20Cover%20Report%20180716.pdf