As reported on the Leeds Citizen blog, Leeds City Council has now approved the Elland Road Park & Ride Scheme despite strong opposition from residents and some councilors. In my view, the Council has chosen to take the easy option for them by approving a scheme on land they own and which is vacant, rather than pursuing a scheme which would require more work but would, ultimately, be far more beneficial to Leeds, and far less damaging to my community.
Now the scheme has been approved, it is up to local residents (including me) and local councilors to try and hold the council to account for their decision if the things local residents were concerned about become reality.
I asked Leeds City Council some questions about the scheme back in July. In their answers they made some clear predictions that certain problems would not occur. I was only partly convinced on some issues, but let’s see. They are committed to conducting an impact study 12 months after the park and ride opens, and issues can be raised with their traffic management section. A summary of what they told me is below (my emphases in bold).
Just in case I’m sounding like a NIMBY, I should point out that any true NIMBY would not be able to survive where I live. If Leeds City Council were going to build a nuclear reactor, LS11 would be their preferred location…
We have studied traffic counts and built computer simulations of all the main traffic signal junctions. We have tested them with existing traffic, plus traffic from new developments and the expected traffic for park and ride. The results show that there is enough capacity during the morning and evening peak periods for this traffic…the new access junction has been designed to accommodate the Police HQ, Ice Rink and Park & Ride. Traffic impacts at the other junctions are marginal and will not result in any significant changes to queuing and delay.
The new signalised junction at the Park & Ride \ Police HQ, will invariably result in lower speeds between Wesley St and the new access and will also offer more gaps for vehicles accessing Heath Road, Mount and Grove. This will improve conditions for both pedestrians and vehicles.
The scheme will cater for those specifically traveling from the West and Southwest and we cannot envisage anyone traveling from the East to use this Park & Ride site.
Elland Road is an A Class road (A643) and we do not introduce traffic calming measure on such roads. The speed limit is 30mph and, especially at peak periods, has a reasonable compliance. Speed survey undertaken outside the football stadium shows an average speed of 31mph, on par with the actual speed limit of 30mph. Traffic calming measures are normally installed on roads where there is a history of accident problems with excessive speed being a contributory factor. Since 2008 to date there have been a total of 35 injury accidents at Elland Road between Railway Viaduct and Wesley Street, of which 30 (86%) involved slight injury. Excessive speed was a contributory factor in just 1 accident which involved an emergency vehicle on call [the Divisional Police HQ will presumably mean many more emergency vehicles on call along Elland Road] The accident rate is not flagging this section of Elland Road up as a Length for Concern.
The reduction in vehicle trips to the city centre will have a positive effect on air quality and carbon emissions [in the city centre]. It does not follow that this proposal will make health problems worse and it could actually contribute to improving health in the surrounding Beeston and Holbeck area. Increases in diverted traffic from J1, M621 to the Park & Ride site does not pass residential properties. However, in practical terms the effects of scheme although positive will be imperceptible when compared with background conditions.