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September start for £20 million transformation of Leeds city centre's Headrow

15 July 2019

From Sunday 1 September 2019, bus services and stops in Leeds city centre will change as Connecting Leeds starts major works on The Headrow.

Leeds City Council’s Connecting Leeds programme will transform transport in the city centre into world-class gateways for bus users, pedestrians and cyclists, while continuing to provide access for businesses.

Over £20 million will be invested in the improvements which also include Westgate, Vicar Lane between The Headrow and North Street, New Briggate, Infirmary Street and Park Row, Cookridge Street and small lengths of streets that link them.

Better bus reliability

When complete, the scheme will improve the reliability of buses by improving the routes they can take through the city centre. It will also mean substantial enhancements to the quality of the city centre by increasing public space, and better infrastructure for people who walk and cycling.

Starting at the end of July, the first stage on The Headrow will see the removal of the central reservation. During this time it will remain open in both directions, apart from some overnight works at junctions.

From Sunday 1 September, the Headrow’s eastbound carriageway will close, buses will be diverted and a number of stops will be relocated.

When finalised, details of the changes will be published here.

Work on the scheme will be carried out in stages and is scheduled to be completed by autumn 2020.

Enhanced pedestrian experience

As a result of the scheme, Vicar Lane will become a two-way route for buses and some general traffic, removing the bottleneck on The Headrow. This will make it possible to close the lower section of New Briggate to traffic providing an opportunity for further enhancing the pedestrian experience.

Some bus stops will be relocated to areas with wider footways for passengers to wait and the introduction of bus-only restrictions is designed to improve journey time reliability.

Making buses more punctual will help the popular aim of reducing the dominance of cars dominance in city centre as well as enhancing the public realm.

Connecting Leeds, the long-term transport strategy for Leeds, aims to improve all aspects of transport and travel in the city and connect people to the wider Leeds City Region. The Connecting Leeds programme will see unprecedented £270 million invested in the city’s transport network.

Cleaner air

Executive board member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:  “This multi-million pound investment in one of the busiest streets in our city centre will see huge improvements around The Headrow and nearby streets. After declaring a Climate Emergency, the Connecting Leeds scheme contributes improvements to cleaner air, greater public space and reliable public transport.

“As well as creating more attractive and improved public realm, to encourage walking and cycling, the Leeds PIPES district heating works will also enable the connection of homes and businesses, to low carbon heating. These will make a positive contribution to help tackle our climate emergency.

“In the short term, while this work is undertaken, there will inevitably be some disruption. We have worked with bus operators and other partners to limit the amount of inconvenience. As we progress the scheme we will aim to keep everyone informed and provide regular updates. We envision the short term inconvenience will be well worth the long term benefits the scheme will bring to public transport, public space and clean air within the city centre.”

Transforming Leeds

Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “The Headrow scheme is a key part of transforming Leeds and will see huge improvements for public transport reliability, reducing delays and giving buses priority to get easily through the city centre.

“By improving bus reliability and punctuality, this scheme will help increase public transport use and ultimately improve local air quality.

“We are working with our partners and bus operators to keep disruption during the work to a minimum..”

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