Words: Richard Beecham
Work could start on a new mass transit system which could run through parts of West Leeds as early as 2030, according to the city’s latest long-term transport plans.
The timescale is set out in a new document produced as part of Leeds City Council’s Connecting Leeds strategy, which aims to make the city carbon-neutral in the next decade and increase the number of people cycling by 400 per cent in just 10 years.
Transport chiefs will be hoping it’s third time lucky for the mass transit system, as previous planned schemes were cancelled in 2005 and 2016, leaving the city as the largest in Western Europe without an integrated mass transit system.
As reported by WLD in July, under the current provisional proposal, one line would serve Holbeck, Armley, Bramley and Pudsey before heading into Bradford and North Kirklees, ending at Dewsbury.
Line two would link Leeds Dock, Temple Green, Tingley, Woodlesford and Castleford.
A document, set to be discussed by the council’s executive board, states that transport chiefs aim to start work on a new system at some point between 2030 and 2035.
It is hoped such a scheme would have the capacity to transport between 18,000 and 20,000 people per hour.
The document added:
“A city region mass transit solution will deliver the right blend of technology, priority and capacity to move high volumes of people in
the parts of our transport network where demand is greatest.
“This is a crucial missing element of our transport investment pipeline for corridors where heavy rail is not an option and the capacity of bus network solutions is insufficient.
“Without a network legacy we believe the scale of the benefits of a new mass transit network, alongside the potential to adopt the latest technologies, presents an unparalleled opportunity for Leeds, the city region, the north and the UK.”
Documents list “big moves”, which include other priorities such as encouraging “alternative fuelled vehicles” and “ensuring walking and cycling are the first choice for the shortest trips”.
It also lists encouraging the “use of shared transport” and improving the public transport offer in the city.
Under the title “mode shift”, it outlines revised targets for 2030, which include an increase in bus use of 130 per cent, a doubling of rail use, and a staggering 400 per cent increase in the number of people cycling.
It is hoped this will lower the number of car journeys by almost a third.
A timeline of proposed transport improvements in the city lists the pedestrianisation of City Square, as well as the completion of both the East Leeds orbital road and Headrow and Corn Exchange improvements for the next couple of years.
The authority wants to hold public consultation events in early 2021.
Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will meet on Wednesday, December 16 to discuss the plans.