Friday, August 14, 2020

Plans progress for West Yorkshire mass transit system

Proposals to make £2 million available to support the further development of a mass transit system have been approved by members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee.

The funding will help support the development of route options and the modes of transport that would be the most appropriate for each.

The West Yorkshire devolution deal, agreed in March and currently the subject of a public consultation, includes a Government commitment to explore the case for a modern low carbon West Yorkshire mass transit system.

The deal will also give the Combined Authority access to a new £4.2 billion Government fund to support urban transport development which will be introduced in 2022/23.

The further development of a West Yorkshire mass transit system was among 11 schemes being considered by the Investment Committee at its meeting yesterday (Wednesday 8 July).

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee and Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Our continued investment in schemes that help improve our transport network while tackling the climate emergency will be essential in the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Improved transport is vital to ensuring that we create a more inclusive economy that benefits all our communities.”

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “Mass transit is essential to delivering a 21st Century transport system for West Yorkshire and is crucial to the connectivity plan we are developing to address future transport needs. The West Yorkshire devolution deal has created an opportunity to accelerate this project which will bring benefits across the region.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said: “It is more important than ever that our plans to improve transport across the region move forward as quickly as possible to support the economic recovery while taking into account the full impact of COVID-19 and potential long-term changes to how people work, travel and access services.”

The Investment Committee also discussed the following schemes:

  • A64 Bus Priority and Park & Ride – Approval to proceed to the next stage of planning for a package of schemes in East and North East Leeds designed to improve current bus journey times, encourage modal shift from private car to bus, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. Total value is £8.878 million with the Combined Authority contributing £7 million from the Transforming Cities Fund.
  • Integrated Corporate Systems – A scheme to improve the capacity and efficiency of the Combined Authority finance and human resources systems in preparation for becoming a Mayoral Combined Authority. The indicative budget is a maximum of £1.5 million and will be funded from the Combined Authority’s own balances and reserves.
  • Bradford Strategic Transport Model – A new multi-modal transport model for Bradford designed to appraise and develop future transport schemes ensuring integration, value for money and carbon emissions are fully tested.
  • Leeds City Centre Cycle Connectivity Scheme – This brings together six cycling infrastructure schemes to be delivered as part of the Leeds Station Cycle Access Improvement package adding seven kilometres to the existing cycling network with a focus on linking up and filling gaps in the existing and planned cycle network. It will cost £7.81 million and be funded by the Combined Authority through the Transforming Cities Fund.
  • Rail Accessibility Programme – Horsforth and Crossgates – This will deliver step free access to both stations with new lifts and footbridges being installed. It will cost £8.371 million with the Combined Authority contributing £950,000 It will cost £709,000 with the Combined Authority contributing £367,000 through the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund.
  • A629 Phase1b – This scheme will improve the Calder & Hebble junction through highway capacity enhancements, including carriageway widening, increasing the number of lanes and revising the current road network with closure of the existing A6026 Wakefield Road link and the introduction of a new highway link between B6112 Stainland Road and the A629. This will cost £27.83 million and be funded through the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund.
  • Leeds Bus Station Gateway – This scheme will upgrade passenger facilities including a new travel centre, enhanced information displays and new solar panels. The scheme will cost £5.208 million and be funded through the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme.
  • A660 Signals – Upgrades to signals from the junction of the A660 Otley Road and Spen Approach to the pedestrian crossing south of North Hill Road to reduce congestion. The scheme will cost £1.056 million with the Combined Authority contributing £733,000 from the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme.
  • West Yorkshire Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans – This scheme will undertake strategy development work to further develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans, building on a first phase of work which is now complete. This stage of the scheme will cost £600,000.
  • Transport ICT – Combined Services and Assets Database – An update to the existing database to improve the quality, reliability and timeliness of public transport service information, helping residents to be more informed about their journeys for work or leisure. This will cost £200,000.

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