It’s about time Leeds councillors stopped faffing about with silly transport “solutions” (like cycle lanes costing untold tens of thousands of pounds) and actually did something meaningful. In my eyes, the ONLY solution worth pursuing for Leeds is... wait for it... (although you will have guessed it already from the picture)... an underground.
Other cities have them. Other cities are building them right now. Why? Because they work. Additionally, because they’re under the ground (hence the name), they immediately remove most of the traffic from the roads.
Leeds flirted with this idea in the 1930s but because of the Second World War the plans were shelved. Then, after the war, because politicians didn’t have the bottle for it, the plans were put on an even more distant shelf.
Every time I drive down Stanningley Road, queueing for what seems like 30 minutes (it is actually 30 minutes to drive about a quarter of a mile), I stare in wonder at the empty cycle lane. Occasionally, a cyclist even decides to use the road, which seems bizarre and makes me want to get out of my car and shout at them.
So, while motorists are squeezed into ever narrower lanes, councillors are sitting in Civic Hall scratching their heads wondering what we can do about it all. We’ve already had the stories in the press softening us up for congestion charges, particularly for diesels. And yet, there is no real alternative, unless of course you want to stand in the cold and rain waiting for a bus.
Personally, I’d rather sit in my car on clutch control, occasionally eating the sandwich I brought with me as I creep along and also listening to the frequently inept John Humphrys (do a Brucey, will you?) on Radio 4. With the heater on.
I’m even willing to go out on a limb here and say that if, in the future, Leeds votes for a mayor, I’ll stand on one ticket: Leeds Needs An Underground.
London just spent about £15bn on Crossrail, for goodness sake. Has anyone even looked into how much an underground would cost here? No. Well, it’s about time they did.
I’m sure our local politicians will come up with all manner of excuses, like Leeds has the wrong kind of soil but we need to ignore these people. Soil is soil.
I am sure the funding could be raised. Just think of the advertising revenue it would generate. Or, we could just queue, cycle, or get wet and bored waiting for a bus.