Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Campaigners to use new report on congestion to fight development plan
One of the main roads through Wharfedale and Aireborough is over-capacity according to a new report.
And a group trying to prevent over-development in the areas says proposals to build more than 5,000 homes along the A65 between Leeds and Ilkley is a matter of “great concern” as a result of the study.
The Wharfedale and Aireborough Review Development (WARD) commissioned Met Engineering to carry out a study on the A65 and also the A658 Harrogate Road, which serves Leeds-Bradford Airport .
WARD says the report shows the A65 is badly congested and the building of new homes – as part of Local Development Framework (LDF) proposals by Leeds and Bradford Councils – will only exacerbate the problems.
According to the study, the worst place for congestion along the A65 is between Guiseley and Rawdon , with drivers averaging speeds of 11mph during peak times, while the normal travel time of 18 minutes from Rawdon to Leeds can take 42 minutes during busier times. On the same journey, a bus can take more than a hour in peak times, compared to 37 minutes normally.
The report also says some drivers are “rat-running” along the A65 from Menston to Kirkstall to avoid congestion, and says passenger numbers at the airport are anticipated to rise by about two million to five million travellers a year by 2016 to add to traffic problems.
“The A65 is simply unfit for the volume of traffic now using it on weekdays and at weekends, and any further increase in traffic will see further reductions in traffic flow speeds, higher levels of congestion and more rat-running through residential areas,” the report concludes.
A spokesman for WARD said: “This report supports our view that the A65 cannot take any more traffic. The proposed amount of new housing along the A65 is a matter of great concern – 5,000 homes in Rawdon, Guiseley, Menston, Burley -in-Wharfedale and Ilkley.
“We accept that new housing is required in the Leeds area. However, the fact that so much has been built in recent years along the A65 is unfair and unacceptable.
“WARD will be using the evidence in this report to fight for sustainable development, with road and public transport improvements before any more development is permitted.”
A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “We do understand this group’s concerns, the A65 is certainly a very busy route into and out of the city which, at peak times can be very frustrating for motorists.
“Ultimately we feel the best way to reduce congestion on such busy roads is to encourage more people to use public transport. That means giving people more choice and new options for leaving their cars at home and using buses, trains and bikes.
“The quality bus corridor is just one of a range of initiatives to alleviate congestion on routes in the north west of the city.
“We hope the improved bus service, together with new cycle lanes will encourage people to choose these more sustainable travel options, reducing the number of cars on the roads. This will make a real difference to commuters using services throughout this corridor.
“We are also working with our neighbouring councils as part of the City Deal to put together a transport fund to help tackle congestion across the city region.”