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People-first Leeds City Centre in 2023

Leeds City Centre

Major changes are taking place to vehicle movement in the city centre, as King Street and Thirsk Row are becoming two-way, starting on Sunday 8 January 2023.

These form part of Leeds City Council plans to make City Square people-first by removing general through-traffic away from the area. This next phase will facilitate works to the area in front of the Queens Hotel. Access to Wellington Street will be maintained for access and deliveries during the works. Buses and taxis will need to travel via Infirmary Street and Kings Street to access Wellington Street.

Leeds City Centre

From 6am Sunday 8 January, the following city centre road layout changes will occur:

  • The current one-way direction of travel running from Thirsk Row via Wellington Street and King Street (up to Infirmary Street) will no longer be in place.
  • King Street and Thirsk Row will become two-way.
  • Thirsk Row will become two-way for all traffic.
  • King Street will have a new southbound 24-hour bus gate.

Since November works have started on the removal, alteration and replacement of existing road markings, traffic islands, signage, and signals. Some of the works will be completed before the Christmas break. The final alterations can only be done immediately prior to the change in the period before 8 January.

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Changes traffic flow: Leeds City Centre

From Wednesday 4 January along Thirsk Row, Wellington Street, Quebec Street and King Street, a series of lane and road closures will take place. During the final 24-hours prior to the switchover, there will be further closures, however most of the works will not close the full section of road.

Access will be maintained throughout for businesses, residents, and emergency services, with the final re-surfacing works planned for the spring/summer 2023.

“King Street and Thirsk Row becoming two-way is a major change in the city centre. For road safety purposes, we’re putting in place signage and other measures to help pedestrians who should take extra care when crossing these roads.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate

Final Thought

Road works and pedestrianisation are rarely immediately popular but in general the move away from treating traffic problems with increased road capacity is a good one.

By encouraging walking and public transport cities can remove from their city streets all but the most essential traffic. This improves air quality, reduces carbon emissions, waiting times and gets people walking.

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