Traffic cameras could improve safety at notorious Kirkstall junction

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Concerns have been expressed over this busy Kirkstall junction. Photo: Google

A spate of crashes at a notorious Kirkstall junction has prompted calls for action from motorists.

There have been three crashes within a week at the four-way junction that connects Kirkstall Road, Abbey Road and Kirkstall Lane, and Leeds City Council chiefs have promised to install new traffic cameras in May to improve safety.

One motorist – Monica Tailor – contacted WLD earlier this week to voice her concerns about the accidents.

Ms Tailor said: “I have to drive through this junction every day to get into work in town. There have been so many crashes there over the years – I don’t know why the council are taking so long to sort it. I’ve also seen so many near misses there I’m getting nervous about driving through it.

“Someone will get killed here if something doesn’t happen to sort it out.”

Another added: “Cars jump the lights, use the wrong lanes and will cut around the junctions to go in Kirkstall Bridge retail park. It all backs on up to Burley Road and you can queue for 20 minutes just to come down to the traffic lights. It’s a joke!”

Councillor Fiona Venner (Lab, Kirkstall) posted an update on social media last week. She wrote: “Following recent crashes at the Kirkstall Junction (including three last week), Hannah Bithell, Andy Rontree and I met a Senior Highways Officer at the junction at 8.30am this morning. We looked at records of crashes at the junctions for the past five years.

“The two major patterns of collisions are right turn conflicts (mainly turning into Abbey Road) and red light violations. We will be taking the following actions:

“We will shortly be installing cameras to enforce the yellow box marking – this is approved and will be delivered in the coming months once the manufacturer has supplied the cameras. There will be a six-month warning period before fixed penalty notices (fines) are issued to offenders (this is a government statutory requirement).

“We will raise the red light violations with the West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership to see if the location would qualify for red light cameras – there are certain criteria to meet so it will depend on us demonstrating the case

“We will discuss the potential for some minor changes to the traffic light sequencing with our Urban Traffic Management and Control team. Any changes to the sequencing, for example a right turn filter onto Abbey Road will produce a longer cycle through the traffic light phasing and therefore an increase in traffic queues, so we need to weigh any benefits of changing the sequencing against the disbenefits of more congestion. Changes to the sequencing may help but would still require drivers to obey the lights and take care when making their turns.

“In addition to the above we will look into the junction in more detail this year and see if there are any further changes that would help reduce collisions, noting that there is a limited budget with lots of demands for road safety works elsewhere in the city, so we would need to make a robust case for the funding (which is likely to be significant).”

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said there had been 14 recorded injury collisions at the junction in recent years, four of which were “serious”.

The spokesperson said in a statement: “We are aware of local concerns about safety at this busy junction, with the primary cause of collisions there being driver error.

“Following a successful application by the council to the Department for Transport last year for relevant powers, new traffic cameras are due to be installed at the site in May this year and it is hoped they will lead to a reduction in the number of collisions.

“The cameras will enforce two prohibited right turns, one from the A65 Abbey Road into Bridge Road and the other from Bridge Road onto the A65 Commercial Road.

“Further to this, the council has commissioned a traffic survey that will allow us to review signal timings at the junction and consider other possible measures to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

“This work is very much in line with our Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 Strategy, which aims to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries caused by collisions.”

5 COMMENTS

    • Its probably the only answer to do something about the stupid, selfish drivers at this location. For anyone with sense and consideration its an easy enough junction to negotiate.

    • If drivers stopped treating red traffic lights and no left/right turns as optional, there would be no need for the cameras.

      While the council are at it with cameras, they need to enforce the no right turn from the bottom of Woodhouse Lane/Albion Street onto the Headrow outside The Light. Three times recently I’ve almost been knocked down while crossing the road at that junction by cars turning right down the bus only lane.

  1. See we’re now also going to be subjected to yet more average speed cameras on the inner ring road. Why? The crashes. Of course, many of these are illegal driving racing or in stolen cars/motorcycles (remember the one wheelying past the police car?). There’s so many revenue raising cameras now, a moments distraction things on your mind(as everyone does/has), it’s so easy to fall foul. Tied in with the reduction of speed limits. Meanwhile, your home burgled, tough. 80% go undetected. I see the new bikes being installed are already being stolen. 2 dumped on York Road last week.

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