Call Lane bar staff warn people could be 'hit by buses' as Leeds council explains why it has not pedestrianised street

Leeds Council has explained why it has not pedestrianised Call Lane after bar staff raised concerns about safety and called for it to be closed to traffic.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:16 pm
Bar staff have expressed concerns for safety and called for Call Lane to be fully pedestrianised.

It comes after one bartender told the Yorkshire Evening Post that they believe people are at risk of being hit by buses as they walk down the street.

They said that people have to walk in the road to maintain social distancing between themselves and people sat at tables having drinks or food.

The person, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Bars have been told they can have tables out but they have to be one metre from the road.

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"But when people walk past who aren't customers they naturally move away from people sat down on the street and into the road.

"However, that street hasn't been pedestrianised like Greek Street has, so buses are still zooming down it.

"Someone is absolutely going to get hit before the summer is out."

Leeds City Council said it has not pedestrianised the popular street because it is a "vital link" in the public transport network..

However, it said it has closed the street to traffic during the busiest times on Friday and Saturday evenings.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Call Lane is a vital link in the city centre public transport network and an important route for buses heading south of the city.

"As part of the Connecting Leeds scheme which is nearing completion, we have worked closely with businesses in the area to develop the proposals and widen the pavements to provide much needed outdoor space for businesses, as they re-open in accordance with the Government roadmap.

“Currently, with only outdoor hospitality allowed, the outdoor areas on Call Lane are very busy, so we are working to ensure the street is as safe as possible for all concerned – and to this end we will be putting in a speed table in the next few weeks to reduce vehicle speeds.

“As part of this, the street is currently closed to traffic at the busiest times (Friday and Saturday evenings) and we are continually reviewing whether further measures are necessary as well as working closely with bus operators to minimise disruption to routes.

"Once hospitality is allowed to open indoors, expected date of 17th May, it is likely this extra capacity for venues will take some pressure off the street.”

A spokesperson for First Bus said: "We have worked closely with partners and hospitality businesses along this section of Call Lane to help support the city’s recovery from the pandemic by diverting bus routes to maximise customer usage on Friday and weekend evenings.

“To suggest that people are at risk of being hit by a bus during the day is alarmist and wrong.

"Drivers are professional and fully trained to drive their vehicle in busy city centre locations.”

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Construction work to turn Greek Street into a pedestrianised area completed in July 2020.

The transformation includes a new level surface of granite paving, new feature lighting, CCTV and a vehicle access control system.

It has also provided bars and restaurants to have more outside seating space.

The area is fully pedestrianised every day from 11:30am-5am with controlled vehicle access outside of those hours.