Quality Bus Initiative


The A65 is the most congested route in Leeds. It has long caused significant delays to traffic in both directions for a large part of the working day. This also leads to rat running through residential areas as drivers attempt to navigate parallel routes along minor roads. Bus lanes were in operation on Kirkstall Road in the early 1980s but were removed after vocal opposition from car drivers. The stretch between West Street (near the inner ring road) and the Kirkstall railway viaduct has considerable unused highway land. This section, in City & Hunslet Ward, dates back to an early dual carriageway proposal that was never built. A highway impovement line was added from the viaduct to Bridge Road in 1992.

Until recently, morning traffic joined the A65 freely in the outer parts of Leeds, and proceeded towards city centre until it encountered the fixed bottlenecks near the inner ring road. A queue developed outwards along Kirkstall Road which delayed buses and cars alike. There is no practical way to increase road capacity near the city centre, because if one obstruction is removed, there is another one immediately behind it.

There are similar problems in the evenings, as traffic approaches the bottlenecks near Bridge Road and Kirkstall Lane.

The A65 Quality Bus Initiative is a "queue relocation scheme". It does not alter the overall capacity of the A65, but it uses traffic signals to "move" the inevitable queues to more convenient places, where there is sufficient width for buses to bypass the cars. In the highly congested area near Cardigan Fields, sensors and signals will prevent any more cars entering the stretch than are leaving at the other end. Traffic in the controlled section will be able to move freely. Car and commercial drivers should see little change in overall journey times, but bus passengers should see a substantial improvement.

The scheme is being constructed in several phases. The first stretch outside Kirkstall Abbey already has sufficient width to accommodate a bus lane without major expenditure. This will be followed by much more expensive stages, with fully segregated bus lanes between Bridge Road and the city centre.

The government has agreed to fund the sections from the main Kirkstall lights to West Street near the inner ring road, and in September 2008 the council is almost ready to invite tenders. Click here to download the latest designs in PDF format: each drawing is about 1.5MB

Last updated 29 November 2008 at 20:01. Back to the top

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Promoted by John Illingworth, 37 Kirkwood Way, Leeds LS16 7EU