Calls for crossing at bottleneck junction rejected by Leeds City Council

John and Anita Dorsett with there children Aidan aged 10 months and Erin aged 3, struggle to get through on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647a...21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme
John and Anita Dorsett with there children Aidan aged 10 months and Erin aged 3, struggle to get through on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647a...21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme
  • Residents calls for ‘safety crossing’ dismissed by council But local councillors AGREE with residents Fresh calls for re-think on ‘impossible to cross’ junction
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Residents living near a bottleneck junction in Leeds they claim is “impossible to cross” have been told by the council they will NOT get a pedestrian crossing.

People living near Wyther Lane have been calling for a crossing at its junction with Broad Lane for a number of years.

Now, the council has issued a statement saying “there have been no accidents causing injuries involving pedestrians in 10 years on Wyther Lane”, adding: “a new crossing would have a significantly detrimental impact on traffic in the surrounding area.”

But people living nearby, including some councillors, says the situation has already been made worse following the completion of the new Kirkstall Bridge shopping centre, which opened in December.

Coun Jim McKenna (Lab, Armley) sympathised with residents and said it sometimes took him a full 45 minutes to just drive from the Bramley side of the river to Kirkstall.

Another councillor, Coun Alison Lowe (Lab, Armley) said: “We would like action on this junction.”

Residents protest on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647e...21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

Residents protest on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647e...21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

Meanwhile, Labour member for Kirkstall, Coun John Illingworth accused planners of “sitting on their hands” over the recent shopping centre development and said “more could have been done” to alleviate traffic problems which have resulted from it.

Resident Anita Dorsett said: “The council has given little consideration to pedestrians in their planning for the new shopping centre.

“Crossing the road depends on drivers’ good will. My friend says it is too dangerous and will not take the kids to school via Broad Lane. The absolute priority is a pedestrian crossing on Broad Lane between the canal bridge and Broadlea Terrace. The next key priority is to widen the pavement at the Amen Corner bridge and at the Broad Lane bridge.”

Residents have also called for pavement widening at the junction of Wyther Lane and Rainville Road (known as Amen Corner).

We appreciate this will be disappointing for local residents but our ability to make changes that will bring about improvements is limited - Leeds City Council spokesperson

Crossing the road depends on drivers’ good will. My friend says it is too dangerous and will not take the kids to school via Broad Lane - resident Anita Dorsett

Local mum Kirsty Hughes agreed: “Ideally, it needs an entirely new foot bridge down to the canal near Amen Corner. Why couldn’t they have included this as part of the recent shopping centre design?”

Leeds City Council issued this statement: “The shopping centre permission was granted on appeal and developer contributions were agreed for traffic signal improvements, public transport improvements and cycling infrastructure. This includes improvements to the traffic light systems at the junction of Wyther Lane, Broad Lane, the Leeds and Bradford Road and Bridge Road.

“We’ve been listening to local residents and looking at vehicle and pedestrian movements in the area, before and after the shopping centre was completed, to assess the impact of a pedestrian crossing on Wyther Lane and widening Amen Corner.

“There have been no accidents causing injuries involving pedestrians in 10 years on Wyther Lane. Our investigations show that a new crossing would have a significantly detrimental impact on traffic in the surrounding area and on key routes across the city while a crossing at other locations would have less impact on traffic but would not be used much by pedestrians.

John and Anita Dorsett with there children Aidan aged 10 months and Erin aged 3, struggle to get through on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647c..21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

John and Anita Dorsett with there children Aidan aged 10 months and Erin aged 3, struggle to get through on the narrow footpaths at Wyther Lane, Leeds.SH1001647c..21st July 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

“Taking all these factors and more into account and after careful consideration, a new pedestrian crossing can’t be justified at this location.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for local residents but our ability to make changes that will bring about improvements is limited. We’re continuing to look at options for improving Amen Corner.”

When asked further questions about why developers had not been made to contribute to traffic alleviate measures, the council added: “Each planning application is considered on its own merits and as part of this process we’ll look at improvements that can be made in the wider area.

“We are continuing to actively review the situation at this location, and would be happy to listen and consider any ideas or proposals that residents may have regarding this particular issue moving forward.

“We will as always have to consider a range of issues regarding any proposal that is submitted to the council, including the potential impact on our tight highways budget.”

Following the council’s statements, residents pledged to step up their campaign to install a crossing and new foot bridge.

Joanne Mjadzelics

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