A row has erupted over designs for a junction on the Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway that campaigners are calling a "serious failure". While CTC, Sustrans and the Leeds Cycling Campaign say plans have been downgraded without their knowledge to offer cyclists no protection from traffic turning from a three lane gyratory, CityConnect, the group responsible, say they may have been misinterpreted.
Pictures emerged on social media this week of the segregated cycle track, paid for by a £18.1m cycle city ambition fund from government, which forces cyclists to give way at the Grange Avenue junction of Dick Lane, in Bradford.
Following concerns the design puts cyclists at risk from collision with turning traffic City Connect has acknowledged its plans may have been misinterpreted, and has promised to review the work and set up a meeting for those plans to be discussed.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director, said though the superhighway designs are generally good, work done at this junction does not conform to original designs, which he called a "serious failure".
He said: "We would reiterate the comments made by the Leeds Cycling Campaign that they are generally happy with the design and consultation processes. Even though everything has not turned out as the campaigners would have wanted, the CityConnect authorities have generally aimed for a decent level of cycle priority at junctions. This particular junction however appears to be a serious failure and, contrary to CityConnect's claims, does not accord with the published design drawings."
He added this situation provides a clear example of why high national design standards for cycle infrastructure are needed in the UK, and added CTC will be looking to make sure the Prime Minister and his cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, make good on promises to improve those standards.
A post on The Alternative Department for Transport blog says designs were never clear, with drawings offering little detail on how the cycle route would cross the side roads. Later plans appear to have dealt with this detail but priority differs from junction to junction.
CityConnect released a statement on its Facebook page saying: "The design for this junction has not differed from the design consulted on although we acknowledge that the design drawings for this junction may have been misinterpreted. Safety concerns from the safety Audit Team were one of the factors for the design of this junction."
It said although plans have gone through the correct sign-off process, including Sustrans, CTC and Leeds Cycling Campaign as well as "all other interested parties" and public consultation, a review will now be undertaken.
It said: "In light of the considerable interest on social media and sections of the press, the design team have been asked to produce a position statement to be reviewed by the Advisory Group to ensure that the final design is the best possible outcome in this location."
Sustrans said it supported the ambition of a "Dutch style" cycle route between Leeds and Bradford, and though the development of designs was "genuinely open and consultative" the charity can't remember this junction being discussed.
On its Facebook page the group said: "We think this has been a positive experience and one that has demonstrably raised the standard of the designs and taken us closer towards realising that [Dutch-style design] ambition. However in respect of a few key locations, we feel that the final design still feels significantly short."
"I can't recall the specific example of Dick Lane / Grange Ave ever being discussed in advisory group meetings. We certainly spent a lot of time and effort, over the course of a year, arguing for the principles of priority, safety and convenience. None of which this achieves," Sustrans added.
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