Leeds: £3 million scheme to give jams the red light

SAFETY FIRST: Year seven pupils from Cockburn High School, Beeston, using the new crossings on Beeston Ring Road near the junction of Gypsy Lane.

SAFETY FIRST: Year seven pupils from Cockburn High School, Beeston, using the new crossings on Beeston Ring Road near the junction of Gypsy Lane.

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A congestion-busting £3m road improvement project could help save children’s lives.

Leeds City Council yesterday (November 4) officially unveiled a series of changes to the junction of the A653 Dewsbury Road and Beeston Ring Road in Beeston.

Part of the ring road has been widened, traffic light timings have been changed, a priority bus lane has been introduced and a 1.2km shared footway and cycle way has been built.

The speed limit on a stretch of Beeston Ring Road has been reduced from 40mph to 30mph and a pedestrian crossing has been installed at the Gypsy Lane junction for pupils from Cockburn High School.

Assistant headteacher Angus Smith said: “We have a thousand children walking to and from school every day and before there was an official crossing things were more risky.

“Obviously anything that improves their safety is a good thing.”

Luke Mills, 12, who cycles to school, said: “It’s safer having the lights there. Before you had to try to get through the traffic.”

The scheme, which was first proposed in 1999, took a year to complete.

Gary Bartlett, chief officer for highways and transport at the council said: “It’s one of those rare schemes that benefits everyone.

“There are extra pedestrian and cycle facilities, we are reducing congestion and improving road safety and promoting public transport. It’s a comprehensive scheme and everyone’s a winner.”

There are plans to introduce a system which will allow buses to relay a GPS signal to traffic lights so that they change to green.

Coun Paul Lewis, chairman of transport authority Metro, said the improvements to bus routes would have a knock-on effect on services across the city.

Buses that use Dewsbury Road are part of a loop that includes Chapeltown and Roundhay.

“By shortening journey times, it makes services more efficient, which is really important when we are trying to save money and get more people to use public transport,” Coun Lewis said.

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