Meanwood Community Centre Transport Event
It was great to see almost 75 residents from the Meanwood area excited and
engaged to talk about transport, to contribute their local knowledge and lived
experience, together with the expertise and insight of our panel.
A massive thank you to Cllr Peter Carlill, Les Webb, Robin Lovelace, Alex Sobel,
our Chair Emma Flint and all attendees for taking part.
Below is a summary of the suggestions and insights made in the meeting.
The meeting was in broad agreement that there is a big problem with transport
in Leeds. The city’s public transport is not fit for purpose, with expensive and
unreliable buses, and much of the city inaccessible by train. Many of us feel
unsafe cycling or walking, and our roads are gridlocked, filled with large cars
often driven by only one person.
To improve Leeds’ transport, we need to put cycling, walking, and public
transport at the heart of our infrastructure decisions.
We had a discussion about some of the specific issues which plague the
Meanwood area. We noted that:
The zebra crossing on Monk Bridge Road is unsafe.
The junction by Waitrose as a whole is not safe for pedestrians or cyclists.
Many residents would like to walk into Leeds, but Sheepscar junction
makes it difficult and dangerous.
The 38 bus was removed and no replacement has been provided for it,
meaning many residents are stranded.
Many attendees wanted to be able to walk more in their local area, but several
issues get in the way. Obstructions on the pavement, including from parked cars,
foliage, bushes and bins mean that many pedestrians are pushed into walking
on the road unsafely. These obstructions often prevent wheelchair users or
parents with prams from being able to use the pavement at all. It was suggested
that Leeds City Council adopt an app or a website which residents could use to
report obstructions to the pavement, so that they can be dealt with fast.
A large discussion centred around speed limits, and the need for more 20mph
zones to ensure the safety of all road users. In addition to making roads in areas
with lots of pedestrians and cyclists 20mph, we need to have proper
enforcement of speed limits.
We talked about how to encourage parents to use a sustainable mode of
transport to get their children to school, especially where the school is walking
distance away. Having parents waiting in cars to drop off or pick up their
children produces a massive amount of pollution. We discussed electric scooters
and electric cars as greener modes of transport, or whether we could have more
bike storage installed in schools. We recognised that parents might have safety
concerns about walking to school, and how some of our pedestrian safety
measures could help.
On cycling, many residents expressed how they would love to cycle more to get
around, but many practical problems get in the way. Leeds must become a safe
city for cyclists, with more segregated cycling, and road surfaces free from
obstructions such as leaves, drains and potholes. Residents expressed
frustration with bike theft, and suggested installing more secure public bike
storage as the solution. Some residents were frustrated with the difficulty in
getting bikes fixed, expressing their wish for a remote bike-fixing service.
Public transport was discussed at length. Many of us are frustrated with how
expensive the buses are in Leeds, and how unfair it is that the separate bus
companies and train operators will not work together to integrate their ticketing.
We talked about how transport needs a fixed timetable, which is more
convenient and reliable for commuters.
Road users often do not show enough respect for each other, with drivers often
not being aware of how dangerous and frightening roads can be for pedestrians
and cyclists. We discussed the need for a change in the culture on the roads, and
more mutual understanding between road users.
The role of technology and innovation in improving our transport was frequently
brought up. We can use cameras to more strictly enforce rules such as speed
limits, traffic lights and parking regulations. It was suggested that we could use
technology to monitor the journeys people take, and encourage travelling in the
most sustainable way. For example, we could only levy congestion or parking
charges on people who commute alone in a large car, to encourage carpooling.
We could also monitor the length of the journeys a given person has taken and
the availability of alternative transport, then charge them more for parking only
if they could have made the journey without a car.
We decided that large-scale principles for transport such as Alex Sobel’s
Transport Plan are a good starting point, but that we need to move from these
broad visions to the actual details of our infrastructure. Suggestions for future
o Installing a park and ride at Lawnswood roundabout
o Re-opening ‘Leeds Cycle Hub’ at the train station
o Bringing back short-journey cycle hire schemes in Leeds
o Taxing city centre parking to fund alternative transport
o Redesigning the city centre to be car-free
o A congestion charge in Leeds
By far the biggest take away from the meeting is how crucial it is that we come
together and talk about how to change and improve our communities. One way
to do this is by regularly clearing our streets to hold street parties to meet and
get to know each other. Through talking to each other about our transport
problems and our ideas for solutions, we can work together to make Leeds a
safer, greener city, where our transport works for everyone.