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Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway will help make cycling less white and middle class

Around 50% of work on the 23km route, running through some of the country's most deprived areas, is now completed ...

The £30m Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway will help make cycling less exclusively white and middle class, and reduce the 30 hours a year people in the area spend stuck in traffic, according to Cycle City Connect, the partnership managing the project.

Half the work on the 23km government-funded route, which runs through some of West Yorkshire's most densely populated and deprived areas, is now complete.

Of more than 100 junctions all but two will give cyclists priority over turning traffic and cycles will be protected from motor traffic and pedestrians using stepped pavement and kerbs. Cycle City Connect hopes the route will help more people feel safe cycling, tackling pollution and poor health suffered by those on lower incomes due to a lack of exercise.

Work starts on Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway

Gavin Wood, of Cycle City Connect's Project Engagement Team, told road.cc: "Currently most trips in Leeds and Bradford are made by private car, accounting for about 60% of journeys across the region; a large proportion of those are three miles or less. Those private car trips are a large contributor to the congestion issue - people currently spend nearly 30 hours a week in traffic jams, being traffic, not moving."

"We have 1.5% of journeys made by bike across Leeds and Bradford. The most common barrier to riding a bike that people don't feel safe, so the rationale behind building segregated cycle routes is that if we can make people feel safe, make the routes convenient, we can begin to tackle some of those issues of air quality and congestion."

He said: "This is the most direct route between the two cities and goes through some of the most densely populated parts of the region with some of the more deprived areas of the region, with low levels of physical activity generally.

"Those are the people we are targeting and those are the people we want to get on bikes."

He added: "Cycling is still a very much white middle class pursuit and we are trying to normalise it."

More than a quarter of Bradford's children are classified as living in poverty, with some wards along the superhighway route among the 10-15% most deprived in the country.

Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway row continues as campaigners say designs changed without their knowledge

Wood also defended criticism earlier this year of two junctions where cycles have to give way to turning traffic from a gyratory, calling the backlash a "storm in a teacup".

He said: "We couldn't bring it into line with the  Transport for London best practice [guide] for that type of junction. It's two junctions out of 100-plus junctions so in the overall majority cyclists will have priority."

Leeds Bradford cycle superhighway give way at side street.jpg

Motor vehicles will give way to cycles crossing side streets on most junctions

The Cycle City Connect project is a £60m government-funded infrastructure scheme, paid for from the Cycle City Ambition Fund, of which the Leeds-Bradford Cycle superhighway forms a part. The superhighway will be complete in April 2016, with most of the route still under construction.

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16 comments

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CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago
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"Leeds-Bradford cycle superhighway will help make cycling less white and middle class"

Are they hoping to discourage the demographic that gets the most benefit? Reading how much of a cock up the design has been, maybe they will be successful!

I am so glad I left Leeds years ago

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HarrogateSpa | 8 years ago
1 like

You can get a better idea of what's been done on the cycle superhighway in this article. Overall, I think the standard is good, but as pamplemoose says, they seem to be leaving the trickiest junctions until last.

It's clear that City Connect have alienated some people, but you still have to judge what's being built on its own merits, not on what you think of the City Connect organisation.

This article on the canal towpath received quite a lot of comments. The gravel surface is a disappointing choice by Canal & River Trust, but most disappointing of all is that some poor quality, potholed path at the Shipley end isn't going to be done at all. A lot of it is lovely to ride, just not with a road bike.

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MamilMan | 8 years ago
2 likes

Leeds City Council love wasting money and if I were running a project and could get an extra 20% funding by finding a way of ticking a few more boxes (race, disability, sexual orientation) I'd do it.... if I were a lefty blood sucker.

 

Here in Leeds we're sick of this kind of thing. Expect the cycling lanes to be wheelchair friendly and repainted in rainbows by January.

 

Meanwhile the council leader blames the tories for them closing everything down yet have £750,000 to spend on a crocoldile enclosure for 3 baby crocodiles.

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severs1966 replied to MamilMan | 8 years ago
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MamilMan wrote:

Expect the cycling lanes to be wheelchair friendly...

Chance would be a fine thing. Some of the parts already built are not even cycle friendly.

Incdentally, ALL properly-designed cycle infrastructure should be wheelchair-friendly; that isn't some kind of "lefty" agenda, merely an inevitable consequence of doing the job properly.

What have you got against making things wheelchair-friendly? Do you want the world to be more wheelchair-hostile?

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the little onion | 8 years ago
4 likes

Dear Road.cc

 

Do not fall for the lazy and cynical PR of this abysmal cityconnect team - calling the piss-poor design of key junctions "a storm in a tea cup" is a massive insult to us West Yorkshire cyclists. We have consistently been lied to by CityConnect about both the "super" highway and the  towpath. The consultations have been a sham, and the designed project bears little resemblance in many areas to the consultation documents. See here for full details: https://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/bradfords-new-cycle-super-deathway/

 

The "super" highway gives way to sideroads in a demonstrably dangerous manner. The towpath has been covered in loose gravel, speedbumps, soluble surfaces and other abominations that make it less cycle friendly.

 

FYI, the PR and communications budget of this project is £3 million. Out of a total budget of £29 million (to create 2 cycling routes). They shouldn't be praised, but held up as an example of everything that is wrong with major UK cycling projects.

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CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago
2 likes

"Cycling is still a very much white middle class pursuit and we are trying to normalise it."

What is to normalise? If the Asian community doesn't want ot engage in cycling then that is their problem. Is it to do with clothing? At least the infrastructure is being put in place to allow people to engage. If the routes become vandalised or not kept clean of debris, broken bottles. The local community will suffer from a missed opportunity

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RedfishUK replied to CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

" At least the infrastructure is being put in place to allow people to engage. If the routes become vandalised or not kept clean of debris, broken bottles. The local community will suffer from a missed opportunity

The problem is, if the infrastructure is not used, then all of the people opposed to any cycling infrastructure will use it ans an excuse to block any further building.

There are a number of routes into Leeds that would have been more obvious connecting areas where you currently see more cyclists -- and yes they would be middle class suburbs (I think the racial profile is a bit of a red herring, but the class profile is probably correct).

The scheme being built was also chosen as it links Leeds to Bradford. so I guess ticked more of the boxes in the bidding application

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dafyddp | 8 years ago
3 likes

It a pretty exciting time at the moment - cities across the country are racing to prove their cycle-friendly credentials with properly invested schemes. I'd love to think we're going to hit a point in about five years times when all of a sudden, cycling infrastructure seems to be the norm.

fingers crossed

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severs1966 replied to dafyddp | 8 years ago
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dafyddp wrote:

cities across the country are racing to prove their cycle-friendly credentials with properly invested schemes

Leeds isn't. They are catching up from decades of being incredibly hostile towards bike riders. In about five years time, Leeds will catch up to where they ought to have been in about 1986.

Since announcing the cityconnect scheme, the council has changed the design to an inferior one, slowed down the build to at least double the time it will take to finish it (probably they will never do the difficult bits), and continued to build other junction alterations and cycle-hostile road "improvements" without any consultation, or even mention, of the schemes with their own cycle consultation group. 

Leeds continues to build almost 100% primarily for car users at the expense of all others. They regularly announce huge schemes and then quietly shelve them (trams scheme, trolleybus scheme, pedestrianising City Square, it will go on for decades yet)

Building ONE cycle path is not participating in a race towards cycle-friendliness; Racing to "prove [...] cycle-friendy credentials" is a PR exercise, not a real advance. The whole of the rest of Leeds' thousands of kilometres of roads continue to be incredibly hostile to bike riders. A "super" highway is no use if you get killed trying to ride to it from your house.

Fundamentally, Leeds council doesn't care whether bike riders live or die. They are backed up by a police force populated by cops who also don't care, and regularly flaunt their disregard by parking in cycle paths. Unlike elsewhere (http://road.cc/content/news/170561-police-officer-fined-blocking-bike-lane), Leeds police will never be punished for this.

The Leeds-Bradford cityconnect scheme is primarily one of Leeds Council's long history of vanity projects, and will be unswept, unpoliced, covered in parked cars, and probably never completed.

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solsticepilgrim replied to severs1966 | 8 years ago
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"The Leeds-Bradford cityconnect scheme is primarily one of Leeds Council's long history of vanity projects, and will be unswept, unpoliced, covered in parked cars, and probably never completed."

I am originally from the Bradford area and have riden most of the proposed route. I am not too sure about the sections further west in Leeds, but I reckon the sections in Bradford probably won't get too much use due to the hilly terrain. Church Bank and Barkerend Road are reasonably steep climbs for 'new' or 'inexperienced' cyclists on a heavy framed bike without the usual array of gadgets and extras.

There are little to no cyclists using these roads anyway, so to conjure up new ones is going to be a difficult task for a narrow 2m wide bi-directional track with poor junction design. It would have been better to spend the money developing a full standard 4m wide (Dutch Standard) cycleway where there already is a flow of cyclists such as  the Bradford valley from Shipley through to the city centre. Although this has been developed as a shared-use path by sustrans, the money from city connect would have been better spent in this location where it would actually get used on a regular basis.

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Andrewwd | 8 years ago
3 likes

Can folk stop going on about cycling being a white middle class pursuit please? Plenty cars I see cost more than most people earn in an entire year.

Driving is a middle class pursuit.

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pamplemoose | 8 years ago
2 likes

I live along the route (not far from where the first picture in the article was taken) and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by how good some of it looks.  I'll probably actually use it for just pootling in to town and back.

It's nowhere near finished however and it's notable that they've skipped over some of the junctions on the route that I'd describe as 'tricky'.  Hopefully they'll be going back to these.  There's been so much slippage of this work though.  It was originally supposed to have been finished by now.  Instead it's only 50% done and the city centre part of the scheme has been pushed back to be part even more (I think).

There's also the issue of cars parking in the sections that aren't kerb seperated!

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kitkat | 8 years ago
2 likes
Laura Laker wrote:

 superhighway will help make cycling less exclusively white and middle class

Why is cycling seen as white & middle class?

Is it a barrier to any - race/gender/religion riding a bike (oh if only there weren't so many WASPs riding bikes)

Dr Hutch wrote quite a good peice in Cycling Weekly recently about how the perception of cycling has somehow become that is an elitist pursuit rather than a very efficient mode of transport which can be accessed by anyone at anytime

I saw a chap handpedaling into work the other day... more power to him and less to those that want to segreate cycling from the masses with statements like those

 

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jollygoodvelo | 8 years ago
0 likes

Looks pretty good.  Well done The North.

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skull-collector... | 8 years ago
2 likes

Shame tha the canal towpath resurfacing project which was part of City Connect is such a clusterfuck with "Cyclists dismount" signs, speed bumps, dangerous loose surface (gravel) and other now unsweps leaves casusing even more of a hazard.

Thanks Canal and River Trust, you took the cycling money to improve your paths under the guise of "cycling infrastructure".

I hope the cycle "super" highway will be better.

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the little onion replied to skull-collector-not-really | 8 years ago
1 like
skull-collector-not-really wrote:

Shame tha the canal towpath resurfacing project which was part of City Connect is such a clusterfuck with "Cyclists dismount" signs, speed bumps, dangerous loose surface (gravel) and other now unsweps leaves casusing even more of a hazard.

Thanks Canal and River Trust, you took the cycling money to improve your paths under the guise of "cycling infrastructure".

I hope the cycle "super" highway will be better.

 

Too bloody right - they are a bunch of incompetant idiots

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