Leeds City Council has been consulting on plans to create new traffic light-controlled six-lane crossroads - along with cycle lanes and footpaths - at the junction of the Outer Ring Road with Otley Road in Lawnswood, instead of the current roundabout.
The proposals are part of the council’s Connecting Leeds initiative - to improve travel around the city - and bosses it would improve “one of the busiest” junctions in north Leeds, with over 60,000 vehicles passing through each day, and help reduce bus delays.
But residents living on the ring road say the new junction is unnecessary and fear it will cause more traffic problems as well as add to noise and pollution in the area.
They also argue losing the grass verges on the ring road could lead to danger to pedestrians and cyclists from residents backing out of their drives.
Graham Sugden, 67, who lives on the ring road, said: “We are losing a landmark roundabout. It is a busy junction but also a lovely roundabout in terms of its aesthetic appearance with the flowers and garden in the middle. They want to replace it with a massive junction which will have no impact on travel times. They say it’s to decrease bus times in Leeds but we want to see their data.”
Neighbour Shameela Khan, 45, added: “It’s actually a very nice roundabout when you come from Harrogate or the city centre. In bloom, it’s beautiful. It makes no sense to take it out and put horrific traffic lights there. It’s just not well thought-through. I think we would have been willing to compromise if they had to get rid of the roundabout.”
Another resident, Beatrice Rogers, said she fears being “stranded in her own home” if the proposals go ahead.
“I do not drive, I have never owned a car but I do have a wheelchair, a mobility scooter and frequently use taxis. I am deeply concerned by plans to remove the grass verge and trees in front of my house in order to install a cycle lane and widen the ring road on the approach to the Lawnswood Roundabout. How are taxis going to be able to park and pick me up? From the plans it looks like with great difficulty. Has an assessment been made concerning the safety for pedestrians?” she said.
Local councillor James Gibson (Lab, Weetwood) called on the council to release the traffic data used to help design the plans and said: “Residents have some very legitimate concerns and the council needs to listen to those.”
A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “We are consulting on these proposals which form part of our ambitious plans to improve the bus network in this part of the city. We will continue to engage with residents and businesses in the area on specific issues in the coming weeks. This will inform the further development of proposals for this area in line with the aims of the public transport investment programme. There will be a further period of public consultation for the A660 corridor plans in 2019.”