Headingley Green Party

Why we need Paul Marchants fresh thinking to solve Headingley's transport problems

14 October 2015


Why we need Paul Marchants fresh thinking to solve Headingley's transport problems


Paul Marchant has written a wonderful document. In response to some of the ideas thrown around at the moment proposed to sort out the transport problems in Headingley.


We are all already well aware of the problems with the current Trolley bus proposal supported by our current Labour Councillors, but a less well know set of ideas are those put forward by the North West Leeds Transport Forum.


Paul’s document embodies the famous quote from Einstien “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.


Rather than relying on the tried and tested logic of transport planners who have created cities fit for cars and little else Paul has taken a step back and looked at the root causes of the problems and aimed to tackle these rather than just symptoms. You can read the document in full below or download a copy by clicking here.




A660 Corridor Ideas: Paul Marchant


The proposals below are not just about moving people and things around; they are also about increasing ‘liveability’ within the inner parts of the city. Remedial action needs to be taken to stop the transfer of ‘costs’ from those living in the outer parts of the city to those living at its heart. There has been a continuous process of ‘leapfrogging’ whereby people have moved out further from the centre to enjoy a less urban environment, only to make the lives of those closer in to become even more car-oppressed. This should be remedied. Reducing the number of cars coming in will enable more productive use of valuable space nearer the City centre. (Car parks are dead spaces).


These proposals support any plans for outer city areas which increase their ‘liveability’ – as long as these aren’t at the expense of the liveability of other areas. In particular it is vital that those living near the heart of the City are spared the ‘externalities’ of drivers from further out.


One aim is to reduce car traffic coming into the City. There is a considerable issue of pollution (the A660 in Headingley has high pollution). Pollution takes the form of CO2 (which contributes to climate change), toxic emissions given out by exhaust fumes, noise and intimidation from speed. The ‘costs’ of driving tend to be passed on from drivers to those that are driven through. It seems that chemical pollutants emitted by cars are greater than hitherto admitted, we need to spare the population living at the heart of the City such damaging exposure.


Another aim is to enhance forms of transport which are not car-based, with great emphasis on sustainable and active modes. There are wider advantages from enhancing the walking and cycling environment, as these modes also have for example health benefits https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph41 (thereby reducing the load on health services.)


A longer term possibility is to reduce the need to travel by using modern communication methods, e.g. tele–working, or by having decentralised services … and indeed by encouraging people to live closer to where they routinely travel.




Take the hierarchy of road users seriously:


  • People with baby-buggies. People with disabilities. (Also children and elderly people).
  • Pedestrians.
  • Cyclists, Public Transport.
  • Other vehicles.
  • Cars.
  • Single occupancy cars.


These proposals are ordered by enhancing the pedestrian environment, the cycling environment and public transport environment and reducing the impact of motor vehicles.


The modes of transport interact therefore any emphasis must be in favour of those higher up the hierarchy.


‘Efficiency of the transport network’ is not the sole goal. We need to rectify and rebalance matters by reversing the mistakes of the past, such that the ‘liveability’ of the environment is valued as much, if not more than, keeping people and things on the move. Therefore sustainable and active modes of transport must be encouraged by providing enhanced infrastructure for walking, cycling and using public transport.



Some issues


To support walking:


  • More enforcement against obstructive parking and corner parking especially where there are lowered crossing point pavements. Stop parking on verges in particular and pavements generally.

  • The situation of pavement parking on St. Anne’s Parade is appalling. More use should be made of the car park on the south side of St. Anne’s Rd.

  • Get more rubbish bins off the streets to improve the environment for disabled people and walkers generally.

  • Increase time for crossing at traffic lights and improve response for pedestrians wanting to cross at traffic lights. (Presumably if traffic lights detect buses approaching then the bus can go through but otherwise a quick response for pedestrians is delivered).

  • Have an ‘all-vehicle-traffic-stopped’ phase for traffic lights at certain junctions, such as at the Shaw Lane junction.

  • Narrow the crossing point of Spen Road where it joins the A660 in West Park (Lawnswood pupils are at risk in the current situation)

  • Make Headingley Mount easier for pedestrians to cross, particularly at Ash Road & Canterbury Drive

  • Make it safer for crossing over Hyde Park Rd at the top of Brudenell Rd to Woodhouse Moor, a very well-travelled route by pedestrians and cyclists and similarly at the top of Royal Park Road.

  • Make crossing St Michaels Rd, when walking along the A660, safer perhaps by installing a crossing.

  • Get on with starting and completing walking routes in Headingley: Trelawn Avenue to Ash Avenue incorporating the re-opening of the wall at the end of Chapel Street into Ash Avenue. (This improvement has been asked for the residents association but has remained uncompleted for more than 4 years!). Also re-open the path from Shaw Lane to the Otley Rd, which runs behind Holly Bank and ensure that one from Hollin Crescent to Hollin Drive.

  • Ensure that footpaths are kept clear, e.g. the one from the entrance of the Hollies running by Oxley Hall & the one from Kirkstall Lane (near the Queenswood Drive junction) to Headingley Station.

  • Increase the safety of vulnerable road users. For example, have ‘No Entry’ to motorised vehicles at Chapel Street opposite the Arndale Centre so as to protect pedestrians walking on the west side of Otley Rd. (At present incoming cars ‘nip’ through to get to North Lane instead of waiting for the lights.). Have ‘Give way’ makings at the top of Langdale Terrace so that cars don’t put at risk those walking along Canterbury Drive, into Batcliffe Woods.

  • More enforcement against dangerous pavement cycling.

  • Keep cyclists on the road rather than have them encroaching on pedestrian space. Do not have pedestrians and cyclists sharing space where cyclists might be going fast. Therefore do not have such a shared route parallel to the A660. Separate parallel routes might be acceptable.



To support walking and cycling


  • Regulated right turn for inbound A660 traffic entering St. Michael’s Rd to advantage pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Make the path west of Headingley Stadium suitable for joint bike and pedestrian use (widen?).

  • Separate cyclists from pedestrians where possible, e.g. on the radial West Park cycle route. Here the currently shared section between Harrowby Rd & Churchwood Avenue could have the cycle route entering Leeds Beckett University, through the car park, via an opening near the Harrowby Rd end.

  • Make it difficult for motorists to rat-run through Headingley View so that they avoid the lights on Kirkstall Lane opposite the Stadium, while giving walkers & cyclists good access.

  • Put parking restrictions on Ash Gardens to ease passage on this part of the West Park Cycle Route for both walkers & cyclists. (Pavement parking is a particular problem here). Narrow its unnecessarily wide entrance onto Ash Road.

  • Generally enhance the street-scene, by for example keeping neighbourhoods free of rubbish, minimising street-clutter and maintaining & enhancing the tree-stock.

  • Take a favourable view of traffic calming schemes.



To support cycling:


  • Have a cycle lane along the whole length of the A660, for both inbound and outbound, to at least the Outer Ring Road and similarly along Weetwood Lane.

  • Do not put designated cycle routes through natural and peaceful areas; e.g. do not have a designated cycle route on Woodhouse Ridge. Generally oppose urbanisation of natural & tranquil areas. (That is definitely not encouraging bikes, however not forbidding bikes). It is doubtful that many cyclists would want to use Woodhouse Ridge as it is not direct and there are steep gradients. Steepness encourages downhill speed and so gives danger to pedestrians. The problem for cyclists is cars, so it is the actions of car drivers which need to be tamed rather than have pedestrian environments spoiled.


  • Have more cycle stands which are ideally covered. Add a cover to those outside Headingley library.

  • Reduce opportunities for vehicle right turns from the inbound A660 into e.g. Spring Road or Richmond Avenue, in order to improve cyclist safety.

  • Putting in ‘No parking’ restrictions on the A660 cycle route to advantage cyclists.

  • Shave off the corners to cycling access points, e.g. the access to Winston Mount from the top of Headingley Mount. This is so cyclists can right turn from Headingley Mount at greater speed, if need be, as the corners are almost right angles, at the moment. Also ensure that cars do not block them by having double yellow lines on both sides of such a cut through, so that the cycle access remains clear.

  • Encourage the universities to provide more cycle facilities, especially cycle parking, to further develop the considerable growth in cycling by students and staff. (One car park space can be converted to be sufficient for 8 bicycles.)

  • To encourage the provision of cycle storage for dwellings, perhaps through Planning rules.



To support public transport


  • Better bus ticketing, e.g. with a smart card.

  • Better bus information, e.g. electronic service / arrival information, at all stops.

  • Bus priority at traffic lights (with staggered junctions?).

  • No new bus bays inserted as these would advantage car drivers over bus users because a bus needs to be able pull out when ready and not have to wait for a few solitary drivers. (Consider removing any existing bus bays, where appropriate, to increase pavement width or allow cycle passage and certainly not delay the bus as it attempts to turn out into a stream of cars.)

  • Have more buses stopping at the Multi-storey Car Park near the City Campus of Beckett University to reduce the gap between Blackman Lane and the Merrion Centre, thereby encouraging more bus use especially by those attending the City Campus of the Beckett University.

  • Improve cross town bus services.

  • Improve the Harrogate & Ilkley rail lines with longer platforms for longer trains.


To minimise the impact of car traffic


  • Deliveries only done in restricted hours.

  • Enforce 20mph speed restrictions.

  • Ensure adequate disabled parking.

  • Work towards introducing congestion charging for cars coming inside the Outer Ring Road.



Particular Objections to the North West Leeds Transport Forum (NWLTF) plan


The NWLTF plan is dominated by traffic management solutions that would have the effect of maximising the flow of vehicles and not people.


And although there is mention of sustainable and active transport very little is actually done in the plan to make it happen. Even public transport is disadvantaged, e.g. by its suggestion that the bus stop on Cardigan Road near North Lane should be moved out of the main carriageway and into a new bus layby to reduce the queues of cars that sometimes back-up behind it. This would only achieve making the car journey a little quicker while making the bus journey a little slower, as the bus then has to look for a break in the traffic to pull out and continue. This will therefore only add pressure to use a car rather than the bus, which is the complete opposite of what is required.


Removing the proposals to have St Michael’s Road and Bennett Road as major through routes, as was put in an earlier version of the plan, is a triumph of rationality. What was suggested earlier would be totally against sustainable and active transport. However the fact that it could be even be considered is worrying indeed.


The idea of putting a through road (Moor View) by Woodhouse Moor is a very bad idea as it is already a car-blighted area and the proposal would further damage the Park and the surrounding area. It would put yet more traffic into the vicinity and endanger people, e.g. those crossing to the Moor at the top of Brudenell Road or Royal Park Road. Those living nearby have a right to a bit of outdoor peace without even more difficulty crossing roads.


Cycle routes which put pedestrians at risk or seize their space are not what most cyclists ask, which is to be on the most direct route, but riding without risk from the other bigger vehicles. The cycle-path behind the Arndale Centre to Headingley Hill is unattractive because of the need to cross the A660 twice going outbound and if pedestrians went on it too they would be at risk from fast bicycles. An improvement to this suggestion would be to also have a separate path running parallel for pedestrians, which has deterrents to cycling along it.


The suggestion of putting motor traffic onto Ash View is directly against the wishes of the Ash Road Area Residents’ Association to re-open a walking route using this street.


Some objections to some of the NWLTF plan (strictly, to an earlier version) are put in this document.



Notes of some websites on sustainable transport


www.livingstreets.org.uk campaigns on pedestrian issues.


www.leedscyclingcampaign.co.uk & www.facebook.com/LeedsCyclingCampaign Leeds Cycling Campaign


http://www.ctc.org.uk/ the national cycling charity which campaigns on cycling issues.


http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ campaigns on sustainable transport.


The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report 'Get Britain Cycling' was released 2013. The full report is at:




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