Video nostalgia: Leeds’ first bus lane (but without the cameras)

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Back in 1983, dedicated bus lanes were a relatively new phenomenon in Leeds.

The original picture was taken in September 1983 and looks up toward the Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds. The clock at the university shows that it is after 4pm. At that time until 6.30pm, the new bus lane was in operation between Portland Crescent and Blackman Lane.

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Accordingly, cars were supposed to move over to give priority to bus traffic in the nearside lane but as the picture shows, some motorists ignored the rule (although it must also be pointed out that back then there were no cameras waiting to ensnare those who flouted the working arrangement and subsequently issue fines). The road layout has been altered significantly since 1983 but the skyline remains largely unchanged, albeit not for long, as work on the new Laidlaw Library gathers pace.

The £25m building, the first in over fifty years to be built on the Woodhouse Lane frontage of the university’s campus, is due to open in February.

It will stand between the former Emmanuel Church of England, now known as the Emmanuel Centre and the former Trinity St David’s Church, home to the Halo nightclub and will house 5.1km of shelving and around 150,000 books (and some 5,800 bookends), not to mention over 1,000 new study spaces. The three-storey glass-fronted building will have a grassed roof with working bee hives on it and is part of a wider £120m building and refurbishment scheme being undertaken by the university which will see £38m spent on the engineering department, £40m on the medical school, £14m on the Student Union building and £24m on a refurbishment of the Edward Boyle Library, which will be completely stripped back to resemble how it looked in the 1970s.

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