Tree planting ceremony held to mark Kirkgate scheme
The successful completion of a £6million scheme to improve Wakefield's Kirkgate area has been celebrated with the planting of trees by Wakefield Council Leader, Cllr Peter Box CBE and Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee.
An avenue of trees has been planted on the Kirkgate roundabout, to complete the landscaping of the scheme.
Major highway improvements have been made to the area, to make it more accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motorists.
Initial surveys have shown that since the work was finished, more pedestrians are using the signal controlled crossings to cross the roundabout than previously used the subways.
As part of the major scheme, the junction of Brunswick Street with Monk Street was closed to traffic and new paving introduced to improve conditions for people walking and cycling between the city centre and Kirkgate Station. The re-opening of Park Street junction is providing better access for vehicles to and from Kirkgate Station and the surrounding residential area.
The new infrastructure will support future development and investment in this part of the city.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "We are really pleased to see that the work we have undertaken has been successful.
"With the right infrastructure now in place we can expect to see even greater benefits to the district. It could lead to new investment and development which would be a further boost to the local economy."
The scheme has been financed through the Combined Authority's 'West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund', part of the Leeds City Region Growth Deal, a £1billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which will accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: "I am pleased to see that early indications are showing that traffic is flowing well through the signal-controlled Kirkgate roundabout and that the bus companies are noticing an improvement on services that use the route. And, we understand the scheme has improved pedestrian access in Wakefield city centre's Kirkgate area."
In recent years there have been other major improvements to the Kirkgate area with the refurbishment of the train station and the opening of the new West Yorkshire History Centre which houses the West Yorkshire archives.