Burley: Calls for action on ‘stupid thin road’ amid fears of fatality

Problems: St Ann's Lane in Burley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

By Christian Lee

Signs warn of a ‘stupid thin road’ and a 20mph speed limit on St Ann’s Lane in Burley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Residents are renewing calls for action to tackle a ‘dangerous’ Burley road amid concerns the council would only take action if there’s a fatality.

St Ann’s Lane in Burley will only change if there is a ‘fatality’, one angry resident has claimed. Described as a ‘stupid thin road’ by a street sign in the area, the road connects busy Burley Road to Kirkstall Lane. 

Joelle Braithwaite posted a video on Twitter captioned: “My street is too narrow for such a big truck to use. No-one cares to do anything about this street until there’s a ‘fatality’.”

The video shows traffic coming to a standstill as the lorry makes its way up the street.

Speaking to WLD, Joelle said: “It’s an ongoing problem. As a driver I’ve seen people can’t judge the distance with their cars. They either have to drive on the footpath or stop so bigger cars can around them.”

She has also experienced problems as a pedestrian: “One night walking up St Ann’s Lane while pregnant I had to pin myself against the wall because a van was driving on the footpath and he probably couldn’t see me.”

Some of Joelle’s neighbours have suggested fully pedestrianising the area but she doesn’t think that would be practical.

She said: “Probably one way is the best option and definitely stop large vehicles using the lane. You get slightly larger vehicles down there and the traffic stops.”

This issue has been ongoing throughout Joelle’s time living on the lane and she has been in contact with the council about the issue on numerous occasions.

“In letters from the council it says because there have been no fatalities they don’t see it as a problem. Why does it have to be reactionary? Who has to die before something is done about the street,” added Joelle.

Fellow resident Mark Ford agreed. He said: “I remember it being an issue in a council election around 30 years ago! I’ve always avoided going along it – neither drivers nor pedestrians have room to pass in the allocated space.” 

And @salbots Tweeted: “Total nightmare, we walked down it twice today and I very much kept the kids on the wall side rather than the kerb side. It feels such a dangerous street to walk down.”

The road narrows at the brow of the hill which can make it hard for cars to pass each other safely and lead to congestion during rush hour.

Sonya, who also lives on the road, added: “On an evening when it is busy cars are queuing up the road and it is hard for cars coming down. I’ll avoid it if it’s busy.”

In 2016 WLD ran a poll, with 76.1% of respondents in favour of the road being changed to a one-way system. 

“With so much pressure to introduce low and active travel neighbourhoods you’d think the road would be a prime candidate,” added Marcus Houlden.

Historic: St Ann’s Lane in Burley. Photo: Christian Lee

Historic route ‘doesn’t meet today’s standards’, admits council

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “St Ann’s Lane, like other parts of Leeds’ highway network, is a historical route which is narrow in places and one which would not meet today’s highway design standards. 

“Consequently, the council periodically receives complaints associated with heavy goods vehicle usage, the narrowness of the pavement and the option to make the route one way. 

“However, when each of these concerns has previously been investigated, the surveys, the highway limitations and analysis did not justify engineering intervention at that time.

“When the options to make St Ann’s Lane one way was last investigated and consulted upon, there was a significant level of objections from those residents who would be negatively impacted by the proposals and the proposal was not progressed any further.

“If there is now much wider community support for this option, then the council would be happy to review this request again.”

More of WLD’s coverage of St Ann’s Lane here.

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