Heavy machinery has arrived at Elland Road to begin work on a £2.8m congestion-busting scheme.
Construction of the city’s first major 800-space park and ride scheme is underway this week seeing installation of a new high quality surface, bus waiting facilities, shelters, lighting, signage, ticketing machines, fences, CCTV and landscaping.
Collaboration between Leeds City Council, Metro and First Group will see express double-decker buses running every 10 minutes between the new park and ride facility and Boar Lane in Leeds city centre.
Leeds City Council executive board member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“The Elland Road park and ride is just part of our future plans to offer Leeds residents better, cheaper more efficient travel options. It is a fantastic use of existing car parking space and a hassle-free alternative to parking in the city centre.
“We are committed to driving down congestion and this project will certainly help bring the number of cars in the city down.
“Thanks to this initiative motorists can leave their cars behind knowing they will be safe and secure and enjoy a short, cheap ride into the city centre. Leeds has not had a purposed-built bus-based park and ride of this size before and it brings us on par with some of the other major cities we are surrounded by. It is not before time and I look forward to other schemes in the near future.”
Return fares will be around £3 making it cheaper than parking in the city centre and self-service ticketing kiosks will enable passengers to top up smartcard tickets with the advantage of smartcard discounts and special offers.
Journeys will take around six minutes with additional stops in the south of the city centre for the fast-growing numbers of people working in that area. Operated by First Group, the services will run from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday apart from Saturday match-days when Leeds United Football Club play at home.
Metro Chair Councillor James Lewis said:
“Providing people with quick, comfortable and frequent journeys between an easily accessible park and ride site and the heart of Leeds will help to reduce the numbers of cars on city centre roads.
“As well as improved air quality, reduced congestion means the easier flow of goods which benefits businesses and the local economy.”
Work on the new scheme is expected to be completed by mid-June in time for the Tour de France Grand Depart.
Bob Dorr, service delivery director for First in West Yorkshire said:
“We are delighted that work has started on this important Park and Ride project and we look forward to welcoming customers on board our vehicles later this year.”
Forming part of a wider ‘Elland Road masterplan’ the scheme was first outlined in 2007 with the intention of regenerating the area around the football ground along with Beeston and Holbeck.
Future plans will see a new permanent ice rink being built next to the park and ride area and scheduled to open in autumn this year. Construction is also nearly complete across Elland Road of the new divisional headquarters for West Yorkshire’s Police.
Highways improvements will aid access to the main Elland Road entrance to the park and ride site, which will include15 dedicated disabled parking spaces.