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Meanwood Community Centre Transport Event

Date: 16.11.19 | in: Transport | Tags: , , ,

Alex Sobel’s transport meeting in Meanwood was a resounding success. It was great to see almost 75 residents from the Meanwood area excited and engaged 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 only if they could have made the journey without a car.
We decided that our large-scale principles for transport 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 projects included:
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.

 

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Published and promoted by Nik Rutherford on behalf of Alex Sobel (Labour Candidate for Leeds North West) both at Phillip Coyne Labour Rooms, Nelson Street,Otley, LS21 1ST