The key to solving parking problems in Leeds city centre is to drive out the use of cars as much as possible, according to a leading councillor.
Parking provision has been a major issue for Leeds Council – and the city’s residents – for more than a decade.
The authority says it is focussing on providing alternatives to the traditional car commute and is trying to change culture and perceptions about how to get around.
In the final day of the YEP’s parking series, Coun Richard Lewis, who is the member of transport, regeneration and planning, outlines why travelling into Leeds by car has become so prevalent in the last few years and what alternatives there are available.
He said: “We have been stuck with the dilemma since the beginning of the decade. Schemes came forward in 2000 for major office building.
“2008 came and that stopped and we had a lot of sites where nothing was going to happen for a number of years. They became surface parking and it solved a problem and all these were being provided at a reasonable cost.”
But things started to change in 2010 when a new planning officer came to Leeds and started to work up a long-term vision for the development of the city.
That involved using these spaces for development to make Leeds an attractive place for people to live and do business but the council needed to provide parking alternatives.
They have come in the form of park-and-rides at Elland Road, more recently Temple Green and there are plans for 1,100 spaces to be created at Stourton. A park-and-ride for north Leeds is also in the offing and car parks at suburban train stations are being extended.
But, with the road network around Leeds under pressure and no scope for building more highways, the big drive is to get commuters out of cars.
Coun Lewis added: “That, for us, is the big progression but we can’t change people’s behaviour overnight. It is about getting people to see what else there is as well as what we have in the future.”
Better cycle and pedestrian links, and more public transport are just a few.
“Millennials are not buying into that pattern set for years –move to the suburbs and commute – there is a generation change taking place.”