Leeds city Council raises just about as much money today on car parking than it did 10 years ago.
It cost a lot less to park your then, but there were around 1,000 more spaces on offer.
Making parking in the city centre prohibitively expensive is one way to keep cars out, and it’s no secret that is exactly what the council leaders would like to do.
You’d think it would be a sure-fire hit. But it’s not. The city is constantly congested with commuters sitting (often alone) in their cars driving in to find a precious space and pay through the nose to park up. Why? Because the alternatives are not good enough, not convenient enough nor plentiful enough.
A car-free Leeds is a laudable ambition. A city with open green spaces, cycle lanes a-plenty and pleasant paths beside waterways and along traffic-free streets would be delightful. If those walkways led onto city squares, free from pollution and traffic noise it would be a much pleasanter place to live, work, shop and play.
But right now the city is growing in size and economy but car parking provision is reducing. We do need a long-term plan but we also need one for now. Cheap out-of-town parking for shoppers and workers and a reliable free service into the city centre would do it. If we don’t find an answer it could seriously stunt this city’s growth.ur