A petition has been launched calling for urgent safety improvements at the historic canal bridge at Wyther Lane, Kirkstall.
The petition, which has already gathered more than 100 signatures today, comes after a car crashed into the bridge wall, causing significant damage yesterday morning (Monday, 15 March).
A vehicle involved in the crash has since been found abandoned. The bridge was still closed to traffic this morning, with diversions at Armley Ridge Road and Broad Lane.
Bramley resident Paul Chatterton, who is also a leading environmental campaigner in the city, has now launched a petition calling on Leeds City Council to make the bridge safer as part of rebuilding works. He said:
“An already horrendous safety black spot just got worse.
“The pavement isn’t wide enough for pedestrians, visibility is really poor – especially when trying to cross on foot and bike – and the road isn’t wide enough for cars. New houses planned next to the bridge will create more traffic in the area.”
Cyclist Mr Chatterton said the crash is the same point where his family was involved in a terrifying incident in 2019, where, a skip driver overtook him and his kids on the outside as they were waiting to turn right onto the canal, with skip chains hitting his head.
His petition is calling for:
- A wider pavement
- Safe crossing points
- Traffic lights and
- A separate foot bridge
Mr Chatterton, who was one of the founders of the Lilac Cohousing project in Bramley, said now was the chance for real change at the bridge, and added:
“We want a bridge that is a safer, more pleasant place for everyone.”
The petition is already receiving a lot of support from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, who claim the road is dangerous and needs updating. Local resident Stephen Craven said:
“I live locally and use it most days, mainly on foot or cycle. It’s not safe for pedestrians and risky for drivers too.”
Regular bridge user Fiona Catterall added:
“The pavement is not wide enough for wheelchair users – it’s not wide enough for two people on foot to pass each other without stepping into the road.
“For drivers, the visibility is poor, especially in summer when the trees have leaves, so you have to come much further than the markings onto the bridge in order to see if there are any vehicles coming. Waiting on this side of the bridge also creates a backlog of traffic as cars waiting end up blocking off other road turnings.
“It would be good to use this opportunity to look into widening the bridge, or creating a separate pedestrian bridge (wide enough for wheelchair users), or considering widening the pavement along the length of the bridge, and implementing a traffic light system.”
Andrew Ludford warned:
“This has been an accident waiting to happen for years, we have reported damage to the other side in the past with no action taken.”
And concerned mum Tracy Burrow added:
“It is very dangerous, my son was knocked off his bike there.”
The petition can be found here.
Armley councillor Jim McKenna attended the scene yesterday afternoon while structural engineers examined the bridge.
WLD has contacted Leeds City Council over the potential re-opening of the bridge
Police enquiries are ongoing into yesterday’s crash.