By David Spereall, local democracy reporter
Cameras could be installed at five Leeds junctions to crack down on drivers who ignore the rules of the road.
Leeds City Council is applying for new powers to fine motorists who illegally sit in yellow box junctions and ignore ‘no right turn’ and ‘no left turn’ signs.
Under proposals, two city centre junctions, as well as locations in Kirkstall, Armley and Chapeltown would be monitored by cameras, with drivers potentially fined up to £70 if they commit an offence.
Outside of London and Wales, most traffic regulations are enforced by the police.
But under new legislation brought in by the Department of Transport (DfT) last year, local authorities can now apply to adopt these enforcement powers themselves.
Under the arrangements, drivers on other roads who flout bans on U-turns, ignore priority signs and encroach on cycle lanes could also be penalised.
A report on the plans on the city council’s website said the cameras would make the roads safer and increase compliance.
Council analysis found the rules across the five junctions were broken hundreds of times by motorists in the space of just a few days in the autumn.
The local authority insisted that though the costs of installing and monitoring the cameras were likely to be covered by fines, the plans were not being drawn up for the “purpose of raising revenue.”
An answer from the government on whether or not the powers can be adopted by the council is expected this summer.
Public consultations would be carried out ahead of any moves to install the cameras at the five locations.
The report said: “The enforcement of moving traffic restrictions is not a core priority for the police, who often have other higher priority needs.
“Moving traffic enforcement (MTE) will help Leeds City Council to meet our statutory traffic management needs, make our roads safer and reduce congestion at proposed locations which may also help to reduce carbon emissions from transport.”
Which junctions/streets would be affected by the cameras and how?
- Queen Street/Wellington Street – city centre
Drivers travelling soutbound on Queen Street in the city centre are banned from turning left onto Wellington Street and heading towards Leeds Station, so as to avoid them hitting pedestrians using a crossing immediately after the turn.
However, council analysis found 110 breaches of the regulation here during peak hours across a single week last September.
- St Peter’s Street/Duke Street/York Street – city centre
The often chaotic multi-lane A61 in the city centre would also be covered by cameras if the council is allowed to adopt enforcement powers.
Motorists travelling south down St Peter’s Street are banned from turning right onto York Street, which runs alongside Leeds Bus Station, to prevent the risk of collisions with vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
A yellow box junction sits on the intersection, with the intention of stopping drivers sitting in it during congestion and blocking oncoming traffic.
Both regulations are frequently disgregarded, however.
There were 262 breaches of the yellow box rules during peak hours across one week in October alone, according to a council survey.
- A65 Abbey Road/Commercial Road/Kirkstall Lane/Bridge Road – Kirkstall
Two ‘no right turn’ signs are in place at this crossroads, on which Kirkstall Leisure Centre sits.
The council says both measures are in place to protect pedestrians and to avoid collisions with oncoming traffic.
Between them however, the signs were flouted at least 128 times across a working week in mid-late September.
- Chapeltown Road/Harehills Avenue – Chapeltown
Drivers travelling south down Chapeltown Road towards the city centre aren’t supposed to turn left onto Harehills Lane, as a pedestrian crossing operates on Harehills Lane immediately after the turn.
But the ‘no left turn’ sign was ignored 159 times during rush hour across a week in early October, according to council analysis.
- Stanningley Road/Armley Ridge Road – Armley
A yellow box junction sits on the A647 Stanningley Road, where Gotts Park sits to the left.
The council says the markings ensure the junction runs efficiently and traffic flows smoothly. However, one beady-eyed officer observed 188 obstructions of the box during the morning rush hour alone across one October week.