Transport Committee to consider vision for West Yorkshire cycling network

Members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee will be shown a draft map of how the county’s core strategic cycling routes could look, based on partners’ current cycling strategies and plans, at a meeting on Friday.

Covering Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, the provisional map shows the substantial network of existing cycling routes such as the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, which people have already used to make well over one million trips by bike or on foot. The map also shows planned connections that could be agreed and developed through future investment where funding can be secured.

At the meeting, Transport Committee members will also be asked to endorse the draft phase one Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) for Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

Creating the right environment that enables people to make shorter journeys by bike or on foot have been recognised as having significant potential to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Combined Authority’s ambition of making Leeds City Region carbon neutral by 2038.

Councillor Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “We know that making active travel and attractive option is an important factor in achieving our ambition of tackling climate change and supporting people’s physical and mental health.

“These proposals to extend opportunities for people to enjoy safe and sustainable journeys contained in these Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans build on the significant progress that has already been made through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme.

“The development process has been designed to ensure the plans can be tailored to meet people’s specific local needs as well as being suitable to their local environments.

“These plans put us in a strong position to develop further our pipeline of schemes and to identify and secure the funding we need to deliver them and build on the successes we have achieved through our CityConnect programme, which includes the creation of over 67km of new segregated cycling infrastructure and a range of programmes to encourage people out on their bikes.”

Active travel journeys can also deliver significant physical and mental health benefits. A recent report showed that as a result of participating in the ground-breaking, 12-week ‘cycling on prescription’ scheme, which is run by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, over 1,000 people have been given a boost to their mental health. Around a third of people taking part reported a 32% increase in confidence, a 29% increase in feeling close to others and a 26% increase in feeling relaxed.

The phase one plans cover south Bradford, Brighouse, east Huddersfield, north east Leeds, and Wakefield city centre’s north and south corridors for cycle network development. Walking plans focused on Keighley town centre, Halifax town centre and Park Ward, Dewsbury town centre, Harehills Corner in Leeds and Wakefield city centre.

LCWIPs are part of the Government’s strategy to improve walking and cycling across the country by developing walking and cycling networks that can be introduced over time. West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been working with district partners in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield to develop LCWIPs that will be used by the Combined Authority and its district partners to shape future investment in walking and cycling.

Development of LCWIPs began in 2018, and as part of this process, cycle network workshops and walking street audits were held with local ward members, community organisations, user group representatives and local authority officers. Netherlands-based mobility specialists Mobycon, UK walking charity Living Streets and consultants Steer were also involved in the work.

During the second phase of engagement, which took place in September and October 2019, these stakeholders were invited to review the plans drawn up as a result of phase one through an online survey, or by email.

The next phase for the region’s LCWIPs is the development of West Yorkshire-wide proposals that building on the engagement methodology and lessons learned through phase one and which uses the evolving strategic cycle route network map.

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