Leeds City Council has announced that the £270 million Leeds Transport Investment Programme has now been completed. Quadrant Transport looks at how this aims to transform travel around the city.
The programme started in 2018, with the vision for Connecting Leeds being to deliver a transformational change in the transport network and connectivity across Leeds and the wider region.
It aimed to bring people, places, jobs, education, and leisure closer together and it was to be achieved through improvements to road, rail, bus, park, and ride, cycling and walking services, and infrastructure. The key focus was to see reduced congestion and improved air quality and accessibility.
There Is More Work That Can Be Done To Improve Leeds’ Transport Ambitions
Building on the £173.5 million awarded by the UK Government for investment in public transport, Leeds City Council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and further investment by bus operators has delivered significant improvements to the bus network, enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate said: “In 2016, we started our biggest-ever transport conversation in which over 8,000 people told us what’s important to them and for Leeds.
“After working together in partnership for six years and completing this unprecedented number of projects, we’ve come to an end of this phase of our transport development.
“I’m delighted and proud to have experienced the completion of so many schemes across Leeds – from the UK’s first fully solar-powered Stourton park and ride site to the wider pavements and bus priorities along the Headrow and the fantastic new urban realm spaces around the Corn Exchange Gateway scheme.
“I’m really pleased to see new areas of public realms as part of these transport schemes, with new space for biodiversity and people to relax. There’s still much more work to do to meet our transport ambitions and that work continues.
I would like to thank everyone has worked on this programme and to the people of Leeds, for their patience whilst construction has taken place in this phase as well as the next stage of transforming for the city.
Park And Ride Facilities Have Been Built And Expanded
Leeds City Council has worked in partnership with local businesses, stakeholders, and all transport operators in the city to deliver the projects.
From this, Connecting Leeds has supported the build and expansion of park and ride facilities. These include the Stourton park and ride site with 1,200 spaces, the expansion of Elland Road and Temple Green park and ride sites, totally to over 2,000 additional car park sites.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “We’ve invested tens of millions into public transport in Leeds including many miles of cycle and bus lanes and the award-winning, solar-powered Stourton Park and Ride site.
“Not only has this investment been delivered on time and on budget, but it has provided a real alternative to cars, which will reduce air pollution. We have also created beautiful, green spaces that everyone can enjoy.
I’m proud that we’re making similar improvements across the whole of West Yorkshire, so all of our communities can live happier and healthier lives.
The council through Connecting Leeds has worked in partnership with local businesses, stakeholders, and all transport operators in the city, to deliver numerous projects, which has seen the following significant achievements:
Improvements have been made along two key corridors on the A61 South/1639 route to and from Stourton, along Pontefract Lane, Hunslet Road and Great Wilson Street. Improvements have also been seen along the A647 Leeds to Bradford route to reduce bus journey times and improve service reliability, together with cycling and walking facilities.
Providing An Alternative To The Car Is Key To Reaching Net Zero
Other interventions implemented along corridors include Alwoodley to Leeds (A61M) Harewood junction and Wigton Lane signal upgrades, A61 Harrogate Road, Potternewton Lane, Holt Lane, Adel (A660) with signal upgrades and bus priority measures along the route.
Almost one thousand new real-time information boards at bus stops have been installed through Connecting Leeds, along with a colour-coded Leeds Core Bus Network Tube map. This is making it easier for users to navigate 18 bus lines for services and is transforming the look and feel of bus stops.
In addition, bus operators have introduced a fleet of new, low-emission buses. These buses are offering audio and/or visual next-stop announcements, free WI-FI, improved seating and contactless payments.
On behalf of all bus operators, Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “These transformational works are now benefitting customers with new passenger facilities and improved information supported by high-quality services and better reliability.
“There are well over 200 new ultra-low and zero-emission buses now helping to create cleaner air on the city’s streets and reduce carbon emissions.
“Where we provide great service quality supported by bus priority, we know we can offer a realistic alternative to the car, achieve bus passenger growth, and encourage more sustainable travel around the city.
This has been a ground-breaking programme in respect of the partnership working and level of investment delivered. This close relationship between all partners is at the heart of what has been achieved.
As the Leeds Transport Investment Programme has now been completed, the city’s transport network will be better and the travelling public’s accessibility, along with improved public transport as an alternative to reliance on using cars will be improved.