Hyde Park Road is not a rat run as claimed by Highways. It is a through road and wide enough for two way traffic when not obstructed by double parked cars. According to Highways, the problem of double parking has led to cars meeting head on and having to reverse. Highways propose to deal with this problem not by using double yellow lines, but by closing a small section of the road to southbound traffic. Whilst this might solve the problem of cars meeting head on, it will cause several other far more serious problems.
- By making it difficult for shoppers to access Woodsley Road, the one way system will encourage many to do their shopping elsewhere. Recently £65,000 was spent on improvements to Woodsley Road in order to attract more shoppers. £40,000 was voted by INWAC in February 2008, with the remainder coming from ward councillors and Groundwork. Street lighting has been replaced, the road has been resurfaced and new paving, benches and planting have been installed. Residents-only parking permits and limited-time parking have been introduced to combat the problem of commuters leaving cars there. And this Christmas, for the first time ever, the road was illuminated by festive lights to brighten it up and attract more shoppers. Councillor Chastney is quoted as saying “We are very happy to be supporting this regeneration work. The concerns of the local residents have been listened to, so I’m sure this road will become the vibrant, modern and accessible shopping area they need.” All this money and hard work will have been wasted if the residents of Hyde Park, North Hyde Park and Headingley Hill are denied easy access to the shops on Woodsley Road, which is precisely what this scheme would do.
- The drivers of delivery vehicles and others seeking access to the shops on Woodsley Road will be forced to drive along the narrow residential streets adjacent to Hyde Park Road, many of them double parked by commuters. This will create a nightmare situation for the residents of these streets with increased noise and pollution, and an increased risk to the pedestrians and motorists using these streets.
- Those who currently double park on the stretch of Hyde Park Road to the south of the proposed one way section will very likely choose to double park on the stretch to the north, including the stretch adjacent to Woodhouse Moor, exacerbating the already bad problem of double parking on this part of the road. This proposal will effectively turn this part of the road into a car park for commuters, passable only by single lane traffic.
We therefore ask that you write, both as a group and individually, to the Chief Highways Officer, Gary Bartlett, and also to the member with responsibility for Highways, Councillor Richard Lewis, asking them to drop this scheme, and to replace it with a scheme to restrict parking to one side of the road only by the use of double yellow lines and enforcement.
Highways are claiming that their proposal will address speeding on Hyde Park Road when clearly making the road one way will do the opposite. In addition, they are claiming to have consulted the community, when our presence here this evening shows that there has been a clear failure of consultation. We therefore ask that you refer this proposal for Scrutiny so that all its failings can be examined and the appropriate lessons learnt.
Councillors were very supportive and agreed to write asking for the scheme to be scrapped and to ask for Scrutiny. But at the suggestion of Councillor Akhtar, they decided to delay taking any action until after a meeting had taken place the following Monday between Councillor Harper and Councillor Lewis (a meeting that was subsequently cancelled).