Work brought forward on West Yorkshire’s 500 mile cycling infrastructure “ambition”

In response to the need to provide cycling infrastructure to soak up the loss in capacity on public transport, work has been brought forward on West Yorkshire’s “ambitious” plans.

The £6.9 million development has now begun with workers busy at Claypit Lane, Leeds where segregated cycle lanes are being laid. Plenty more could follow too, Leeds City Council’s Connecting Leeds “Cycling Starts Here” campaign talks of as much as 500 miles of safe cycling routes throughout the region in the future.

Deemed ’emergency’ work, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council hope to see 5.8 kilometres of new lanes operational in the near future to enable citizens to maintain a safe distance while the Covid-19 threat lingers.

Elsewhere around the UK, Sustrans is mapping a surge in temporary infrastructure projects, collecting feedback in a hope to make them permanent.

The Clay Pit Lane improvements consist of a 1.3km stretch where walking and cycling are made safer through segregation on a route that stretched Woodhouse Lane through to Chapeltown Road. The new lanes will link up with existing infrastructure on Meanwood Road and provide safer conditions on the Inner Ring Road.

In the south of the city, Summer work is scheduled to add three kilometres of segregated paths between Elland Road Park and Ride and the City Centre.

“These important schemes will provide communities in Beeston, Holbeck and Hunslet, as well as those in the north of the city, with high-quality cycling and walking routes and the Dewsbury Road scheme will provide an important missing link in the existing network to create a continuous 4.4km segregated route for south Leeds,” said Cllr Kim Groves Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee.

“By 2027, we are aiming to increase the number of trips people in our region make on bike by 300%. This will not only boost people’s health and save them money, it will also help us to achieve our aim of being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, said: “During these difficult times, we’re working hard to make walking and cycling more attractive and natural everyday choices for exercising and commuting.

“We’re delighted we are bringing the construction phase of these schemes forward for new segregated cycle routes south of the city connecting Beeston, Holbeck, Hunslet and the city centre, as well as important work on Clay Pit Lane and Meanwood Road. Every new piece of segregated cycleway in Leeds gets us nearer to the 500 miles of cycle network we are aiming to deliver across the city.

“In this Covid-19 recovery phase, Leeds is creating many more new routes which offer improved safety for people who walk and cycle, offering convenience and championing health and wellbeing for our residents. Alongside improved segregated cycleways the scheme will improve the environment for pedestrians. This work funded through CityConnect will improve environmental sustainability, better air quality and reduce pollution of all types in and around Leeds. We look forward to seeing the schemes completed later this year.”

The project’s funding stems from a £6.5m grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority via the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion scheme designed to create jobs and accelerate growth in the region.