People fear a £500m scheme to build 2,500 homes to the east of the city centre would cause traffic chaos.
Architects Spawforths are hoping to submit a planning application which would kickstart their City Fields development this spring.
And they revealed plans for phase one, which would include the building of 500 homes and part of a new bypass road, at a public exhibition on Tuesday.
But John Hyde, of Pinders Heath Residents Association, said the development, on land off Aberford Road about a mile from the city centre, would cause serious traffic problems during the construction work.
He said: “They’re not planning to build the relief road until after the homes are built, which is going to cause big problems.
“Aberford Road is already very busy at peak times, and you’ve got Pinderfields Hospital so what about emergency vehicles?
“The infrastructure just isn’t in place to support this.”
The project, which used to be called Wakefield East, would include a new 2km waterfront area with canal-side walks, cafes, bars, shops, restaurants and public spaces across 150 hectares.
A spokeswoman for Spawforths said: “The consortium are aware of the concerns of residents about the traffic generated by the development proposal and are still exploring the delivery options for the Wakefield eastern relief road.
“Any scheme proposed would be subject to detailed scrutiny in terms of both congestion and safety to ensure that the road network can cope with the development traffic without any adverse effect upon emergency service vehicles.”