Leeds City Council plans to introduce 20mph zones in hundreds of streets flanking its proposed £29 million CityConnect segregated bike path linking the city with Bradford. The news comes in a week when safety charity Brake lobbied MPs to support its GO 20 campaign, which it says is supported by eight in ten people.
Leeds, which hosts the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in July and has devised the CityConnect scheme as part of its legacy from that, aims to consult with local residents in the areas concerned about implementing up to 40 new zones carrying the speed limit, reports the Yorkshire Post.
The route of what is being termed a “super cycleway,” being build with the help of £18 million from the government’s Cycle City Ambition fund, will run from East Leeds through the city centre and on then to Bradford via Wortley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey and Thornbury.
In February, the council’s director of city development and director of public health delivered a report to its executive board following a meeting last November with the charity, 20s Plenty for Us.
The report noted that the council has “an overall aspiration for all residential streets in Leeds to have a 20 mph speed limit,” but that “securing public support is needed for the schemes to function most effectively.”
It added: “Overall, the identified schemes programme will deliver a 20 mph speed limit on around 60% of all urban streets in the city and surrounding communities by 2020.
“As part of the overall plan, the proposed City Connect cycle superhighway from Leeds to Bradford includes a corridor of 20 mph local speed limits in communities abutting the route.
“The aim is that by 2020 all local schools and their residential hinterlands will be located within an effective speed reducing 20 mph speed limit area.”
Alison Lambert of Farsley Business Forum, told the Yorkshire Post: “Hopefully this would persuade more people to come here on foot and do their shopping locally.”
Yesterday, representatives of Brake visited Parliament to call on MPs to make 20mph the default speed limit in urban areas.
A survey of 1,000 people carried out by Brake and Allianz Insurance found that 78 per cent supported the GO 20 campaign and 72 per cent want roads where they live to be made safer for pedestrians.
Brake highlighted examples of places where the implementation of the lower speed limit had resulted in a drop in road casualties such as Portsmouth, down 22 per cent, and the London Borough of Camden, which recorded a 54 per cent fall.
The charity’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: “The GO 20 campaign is about defending everyone’s right to walk and cycle freely without being endangered, whether it’s to get to work, school, the shops, or just getting out and being active.
“We need to tackle the senseless and violent casualties that continue to happen daily on our roads, and we need to enable people to live healthy, active, social lives. It’s clear that 20mph limits in communities can help bring this about - and it’s clear this is what people want. “
There is comprehensive information about CityConnect on its website, including details of individual sections of the route.
Over the past week, the team behind the project have held a series of consultation events.
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council's executive member for housing, planning and transport, said: "This is an important scheme that will improve the connectivity between our two cities and create new opportunities for businesses, jobs, housing and health.
“It is also about improving the way people in these areas of Bradford and Leeds can get around and how they are impacted by the route including getting to work in some of our key areas,” she added.
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