Leeds City Council is continuing to develop its plans to bring about transformational improvements to public transport in Leeds.
Proposals on a range of measures are progressing which together will bring about an integrated package of improvements in transport in Leeds including new park and ride services, bus priority lanes and modernised transport facilities across the city.
The plans were unveiled in December 2016 following the results of the transport conversation held in the city, which asked how best to invest £173.5million of funding secured for Leeds to improve public transport following the decision by the government not to proceed with the New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus scheme.
Following the transport conversation, which resulted in more than 8,000 responses being received, Leeds City Council working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), partners and transport operators have been working on plans for the following measures:
- Easing congestion, improving bus journey times and reliability through bus priority measures on key corridors in the city including the A61 North, A58 north east and A647
- New park and ride services in the city to add to the successes of Elland Road and Temple Green
- New and improved rail stations including a parkway station serving Leeds Bradford Airport, Leeds and Harrogate along with other new stations at Thorpe Park and White Rose/Millshaw Business Park to support job creation and housing growth
- Improved district transport hubs making use of the latest technologies and better connectivity between local communities and neighbourhoods
- Enhanced access at Cross Gates, Morley and Horsforth rail stations and car park expansion at New Pudsey to increase its park and ride capacity
- Connecting with city centre plans to create modern transport interchanges, enhanced public spaces and maximising the benefits from the remodelled Leeds Station and the arrival of high-speed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (formerly HS3)
Together with the £173.5m from the Department for Transport, additional support from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and private sector stakeholders including £71m investment from First West Yorkshire to provide at least 284 new low-emissions buses for Leeds by the end of 2020 increases the total funding package available to in excess of £270million of investment.
The first improvements to come forward for further public consultation will be bus priority measures focused on key transport ‘corridors’ in the city. These form part of an aim to double the number of bus passengers in the next 10 years from the current 250,000 bus journeys made every day in Leeds.
The strategy also looks to encourage more walking and cycling on people-friendly streets, promoting a healthy Leeds through better air quality and reduced carbon emissions due to more use of public transport.
The plans have been supported and guided by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds transport advisory panel. The panel is chaired by the Director of Strategy for Transport for the North Nigel Foster, and includes leading transport experts and senior figures from transport bodies and organisations, along with representatives from the worlds of business, education, planning, accessibility, equalities and campaign groups.
These transport improvements form part of the wider Leeds City Region economic plan which aims to deliver up to 35,000 new jobs and an additional £3.6billion of economic output by 2036.
Mass transit ambition
Leeds City Council is continuing to examine options around mass transit travel for the city. It was not possible to use the NGT money available for this as mass transit systems are considerably more expensive (up to £80m per kilometre to build) and take a long time to deliver, (the government has said the NGT funding must be committed by 2021). There was a clear direction from those who took part in the transport conversation for actions and improvements to happen as soon as possible rather than waiting for a much longer-term single project to be delivered.
Cycling and walking
To encourage more cycling participation, Leeds is committed to continuing to improve cycling infrastructure in the city, with £35m being invested in the mostly government-funded City Connect cycling superhighway in the city. Development of the Leeds core cycle network is also ongoing. Through reducing congestion and improving air quality and public spaces, the proposals also aim for a more people and family-friendly approach to encourage more walking.
What we have achieved so far and what next?
Leeds is increasing its rail service with a range of new and expanded station facilities and trains. This includes the opening of two new stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge last year with associated car parks providing a new park and rail option, and unlocking the development of new homes and jobs. In 2016/17 just under 100,000 journeys were made from Kirkstall Forge train station, with over 350,000 journeys being made from Apperley Bridge station in the same time period.
Park and Ride
Park and Ride is an important element of Leeds Connect for Leeds. Park and Ride is good for the city economy and the environment as it reduces parking in the city centre and also helps to reduce congestion and improve the city’s air quality by reducing the number of cars entering the city centre.
The Elland Road Park and Ride has been hugely successful while the recently-opened Temple Green service is already seeing more than 2500 parked cars there per week. Further park and ride sites in other areas of the city are now being considered.
New rail stations and improvements
Looking to the future there are the proposals for three new rail stations for key development and economic hubs serving Leeds Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and White Rose/Millshaw Business Park. A £32m programme of car park extensions in West Yorkshire are currently being implemented including upgrades in Leeds (Guiseley, Morley, Garforth, New Pudsey) will provide additional standard and blue badge parking bays, CCTV, lighting, drainage and future proofing for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points. Additionally by 2023 all rail stations will become accessible including upgrades planned at Cross Gates, Morley and Horsforth.
Additional improvements will be provided by a West Yorkshire wide Stations Improvement Fund of £38m providing improved seating, information, lighting and security, additional ticket machines and improved accessibility. The following stations in the Leeds district are included in the programme: Phase 1, Bramley, Micklefield. Phase 2 Burley Park, Cottingley, Cross Gates, East Garforth, Garforth, Guiseley, Headingley, Horsforth, Morley, Woodlesford all to be completed by 2020.
Leeds Station is one of the most important pieces of transport infrastructure in the country, and one of the busiest train stations. With proposals for HS2, HS3 and rail growth, a masterplan is helping to guide this future development representing £500 million including a new Station Campus, multiple entrances and a Common Concourse – to ensure a seamless interchange between HS2 and the current station, Neville Street will be pedestrianised and Dark Arches transformed.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is working with Leeds City Council and other partners across the district to deliver the City Connect programme. It will bring about increased levels of cycling and walking through improvements to infrastructure and activity to enable more people to access to a bike. The Phase 1 completed schemes in Leeds include; Leeds & Bradford Cycle Superhighway; Kirkstall Shipley Canal Towpath upgrade; Increased cycle parking; Leeds Community Cycle Hub and Activity Centre. Nearly half a million trips by bike have been recorded since opening.
The second phase of the CityConnect cycle superhighway project in Leeds is now underway and includes 7km of superhighway to the north and south of Leeds city centre.
New bus provision
Bus operators in Leeds have been investing in new, cleaner, vehicles for their services that improve the customer offer. Many now come with audio and/or visual next stop announcements, have free Wi-Fi, improved seating and USB/wireless charging opportunities along with ticketless smartphone options and contactless payment services. Reallocation of buses within operators fleets have also seen newer vehicles allocated to routes that serve Leeds.
There are also commitments to further improvements to buses over the coming years, with continued network reviews to optimise travel times and serve more communities, along with the creation of fresh travel opportunities through new routes. For example Arriva have recently replaced 37 older buses in Leeds with new ones (some with audio & visual next stop announcements). Additionally Yorkshire Tiger have recently introduced new buses on the airport service (737/747 services) linking Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate.
Armley Gyratory Upgrade Project
Consultation on the plans to upgrade Armley Gyratory launch on 21 February 2018 with the first of three drop-in events with the details as follows. To see more information on the plans to improve the road layout of the gyratory and the Leeds to Bradford corridor, see the supporting leaflet (PDF 2MB) for details and visit one of the sessions.
Bramley Community Centre, Waterloo Ln., Leeds, LS13 2JB
Wednesday 21 February 17:00 - 20:00
Armley Leisure Centre, Carr Crofts, Leeds, LS12 3HB
Saturday 24 February 10:00 - 14:00
Pudsey Civic Hall, Dawsons Corner, Pudsey, LS28 5TA
Tuesday 27 February 17:00 - 20:00