‘No end in sight’ for traffic jams in Yorkshire cities

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TRAFFIC jams in Yorkshire cities are not getting any better - and in many British cities they are getting worse, a survey has revealed.

In the worst-congested cities, evening rush-hour journeys are taking more than 70 per cent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic, the poll by traffic information company TomTom found.

Compared with 2013, congestion in 2014 was worse in 14 of the UK’s 17 biggest cities, with Bristol the only destination where jams had eased slightly.

In Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield, congestion levels were about the same in 2014 as in 2013.

Congestion levels had worsened over the past year in London, Brighton and Hove, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Southampton.

The worst city for jams was Belfast, with average journeys taking 39 per cent longer than in free-flowing traffic.

London was the next-worst city for hold-ups with average journeys taking 37 per cent longer than in free-flowing traffic and 67 per cent in the evening peak.

Other cities where drivers were particularly badly held up in the evening rush-hour were Manchester (with journeys taking 72 per cent longer) and Edinburgh (71 per cent longer).

TomTom said that in 2014 a typical UK city commuter with a 30-minute drive home spent an extra 66 hours stuck in traffic than they would have done on a free-flowing road.

Added to the 63 hours stuck in morning traffic, that amounted to 129 hours wasted in a year.

Worldwide, the worst city was Istanbul, followed by Mexico City and by Rio de Janeiro.

Transport bosses in Yorkshire insisted they are doing all they can to ease congestion.

A Bradford Council spokesman said it had invested heavily in improvements at Saltaire roundabout and the Canal Road/Stanley Road junction and consultation had started on a gyratory scheme for Keighley town centre aimed at reducing queues.

The spokesman said further spending by the West Yorkshire transport fund would see improvements at the Harrogate Road/New Line junction and the creation of a dual carriageway on the A650 Hard Ings Road, Keighley.

Improved car parking at key rail stations and new stations at Apperley Bridge and Low Moor would boost public transport, he said.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for transport at Leeds Council, said: “While we continue with ‘business as usual’ schemes, such as the vital improvements to the inner ring road, our strategy to reduce congestion in the city is to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto public transport, walking and cycling.”

He said the 800-space park-and-ride scheme at Elland Road had been a “massive success”. A 1,000 space park-and-ride at Temple Green is due to open in 2016 and a new station will open at Kirkstall Forge later this year.