Q&A: Put your cycle superhighway questions to CityConnect team

12 January 2016

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Do you have a question you’d like to ask the people behind the new cycle superhighway which cuts through west Leeds?

The new £29 million CityConnect superhighway is an ambitious scheme to boost connectivity between East Leeds and Bradford.

It aims to increase levels of cycling and walking and improve people’s access to a bike and its associated health benefits. The scheme also aims to reduce CO2 emissions and improve local air quality by encouraging people to take to their bikes rather than their cars.

CityConnect is funded through the Department for Transport, via a fund ringfenced for cycling improvements.

But the scheme has also proven controversial in some quarters, with concerns about the impact of work on local businesses and residents, communication issues and the overall value of the scheme.

How will the project transform our commuting habits? How is the impact of work being managed so the impact on local communities is minimal?

Now’s your chance to find out. CityConnect bosses have agreed to field questions on any cycle superhighway subject from West Leeds Dispatch readers.

It can be on anything you want to know about the project. The agenda is set purely by you.

All you need to do is post your questions in the comment section below or drop us an email news@westleedsdispatch.com or tweet me @wldispatch.

Closing date for questions is this Friday. We’ll choose a selection of questions, put them to CityConnect and post the answers next week.

 




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Louise Megson says:

As a resident directly affect by this new initiative my questions are: particularly in the stretch from Armley lights towards town and also further up Stanningley Road in Stanningley itself where the road in part will be so narrow that the slightest miscalculation may end up in an accident – where are we, car drivers that is, supposed to go to allow the emergency services through, particularly as we have the main ambulance station on this road and the emergency services constantly use it as a route when on call? The kerbs are too high to allow us into the cycle lane. Also the removal of the bus pull-in places seems to just delay traffic more and more as the 2 + lane is becoming useless as it is slower. So is all that money spent on the 2+lane wasted? Finally how are we “local folk” supposed to get a taxi to stop outside our houses when the only way they can is to pull into the cycle lane – is this going to be “law” that they cannot any more? Alternatively they will just have to stop on the main road and hold up all the traffic? If all this has been thought through then it would help if it was communicated to all us poor sods who are going to have to live with it and don’t ride bikes.. yet pay our road taxes… moan over – pick out what questions you feel are appropriate..

westleedslife says:

Thanks for your suggested questions. Nicola. We’ve had a good few via email and a couple by Twitter today as well – keep ’em coming everyone!

Kirkstall lad says:

Totally agree with Louise Megson. Every week now I witness emergency vehicles (primarily ambulances) struggling to get through the gridlock that is Stanningley Road in a morning. The road is now so narrow in places that it is almost impossible for 2 lines of vehicles to part to let emergency vehicles through. Perhaps you could begin by asking City Connect what effect the construction of this cycle lane has had on ambulance response times and then ask the same question of the Yorkshire Ambulance service?

Also agree on the effect of buses no longer being able to pull into dedicated pull in places since they were removed to make way for this scheme. Some of these were only installed a few years when First introduced the new street car buses on the 72 service.

Can you also ask City Connect what the current cost overrun on this project is given that it was supposed to have been completed in September 2015? If they refuse to answer that one (and I fully expect them to) remind them of the fact that this information will eventually become public.

Tony Binns says:

As introduction of the cycle highway has severely reduced the width of Stanningley Road , can you please advise .What are the long term plans ,regarding the existing landscaped central reservation along Stanningley Road in Armley / Bramley.

Helen says:

Not managed to find details of how the route connects (a) Kirkstall/Burley and the City Centre and (b) travels through the city centre from LGI to bus station end. Can we have a link to a detailed map? If the route uses the towpath will there be streetlights installed along it?

Steve says:

White Elephant springs to mind

Lee Taylor says:

I believe that the cycle lane has many positives, my concerns however lie mainly around Stanningley bottom and at the top of Farsley old Road, I see major traffic problems as traffic turning down old road will hold up all behind whereas previously vehicles could go around as there was 2 lanes. Another concern is the random sections that stick out for parking, I think this is likely to cause many issues and possibly injuries. Lastly i believe the cycle lane is too wide and when vehicles are parked there is too little room for cars to get past each other.

James Butterfield says:

Can you please paint the sticky out kerbs!! These are particularly sticky outy on Bradford road, Stanningley. Only a matter of time before some serious damage is done to a vehicle. In poor light/visibility they are nigh on invisible.

Also, how will usage be measured to insure that the astronomical amount of money spent has gone to use.

Phil Laycock says:

What is going on with the stanningley section of the cycle lane, it seems to have missed the point because it’s now become a car park. Worse of all with cars parked on both sides moving cars now struggle to pass. My suggestion is simple, remove all the parking and replace with cycle lane either side…..solved.

Ps solution to the traffic at bottom of Richardshaw Lane……wait for it…………traffic lights……oh my I’m a genius…..maybe I should be incharge of town planning……probably not as I have an iq higher than a ham sandwich

Kate park says:

Hi, I am not against the idea behind this scheme , but I am very concerned about the removal of all the islands on stanginly road . I have all ready seen groups of children struggling to get across , it is also just outside the bungalows and provided a safe way to cross for all the elderly residents, they can not walk all the way to the top of the road to the traffic lights. Lots of family’s that walk to school also need to cross this road. I am also concerned about the sticking out bits of pavement that make the road by the arches very narrow, you can not see them at night.

Shell says:

When did the top bosses of the council think this to be a good idea after the “tour de farce” which the council lost money on as it didn’t increase tourism, when the money could of been put to much better use?

Kevin Smith says:

Was there any survey carried out to try and estimate the usage of this super cycle highway, I drive the section of road around Farsley/Stanningley daily and rarely see a cyclist, surely for this amount of money to be spent the figures should have been calculated.

Mark Sturdy says:

How many people currently cycle this route? – was a survey done prior to commencement of the super highway? Were any cyclists consulted? How many cyclists do you expect to use the super highway on completion? I’m in favour of cycling but as has already been commented I am concerned at the narrowing of the roads which will increase congestion and will discourage people from using buses – as they will be even slower – further increasing congestion. I also don’t think the impact on emergency vehicle response times has been considered. Great for cyclists, no thought for anyone else.

June Whitehead says:

I am worried about the reduced width of the road through Stanningley. Surely we should be widening roads to make them safer for Emergency vehicles to pass traffic not making them narrower so that they cannot pass the traffic. This could cost lives. Has it been thought through properly as to which roads are suitable for such wide cycle lanes? I agree that some of them are but I live in Farsley and the congestion on the roads is terrible already, I can only see this making it worse. I’m in favour of cyclists being safe on our roads but they could also help by more of them wearing reflective clothing and good continuous lights, not the intermittent ones, especially on these darker evenings, I think that these should be mandatory for all cyclists.

Jordan Hunt says:

Some maybe more of a discussion rather than a direct questions, no 2 is my main point.
1. How much has this scheme cost Leeds city council to date and what is the expected overrun costs. How much has been paid in compensation payments to the contractor for down time due to poor planning.

2. The A647 Stanningley road towards Armley passing Gotts park is one of the main routes used by the emergency services (just think how many times you’ve been on this road and had to move for an ambulance). How do you now expect ambulances to pass through the centre of traffic, the curb is way too high to mount and the road simply is no longer wide enough. After speaking with a paramedic friend this stretch of road has now had a direct impact on higher response times between west Leeds and A&E. He says lives will be lost whilst battling through this often gridlocked traffic. Where’s the justification in this selfish project!

3. Is the 2+ lane on Stanningley road now totally pointless as busses can’t pull in leaving room so motorists can safely pass. Thus traffic backing up and leaving it no quicker than the normal lane. Just another waste of council money.

4. Will Dick lane be totally resurfaced? After removing the central islands and poorly filling them this has left endless pot holes. On the section outside Aagrah that looks complete the new painted white lines run straight through a large pothole. Are you having a laugh?

5. What are you planning on doing with the large curbs that just appear straight out into the road at Stanningley? Will these be made reflective? Have a light up bollard? Or simply left how they are?

6. Are you satisfied that city connect have done everything they can to help and support the local businesses on this route that have been affected by the disruption. Are you also satisfied that adequate parking has been replaced where existing parking belonged.

7. Is the design poor and not fit for purpose as demonstrated at Thornbury roundabout because traffic leaving the side streets have right of way over the cycle highway resulting in nothing more than a give way after give way for any cyclist. This looks pretty dangerous for both motorists and cyclists and puts the cyclists in a worse position now than if cycling on the road resulting in no cyclist using it and opting for the road!!!

8. And to top it off will a new law be passed under the road traffic act that any cyclist not using it should be fined.

Hopefully a better answer than “get on your bike” might be given this time.

Louise Carter says:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am so upset about the current impact of the cycle super highway on my local area. I have been made aware that there was a huge public consultation according to a Facebook post I read today but I wasn’t aware of this? Was it all online? How about leaflet dropping to the people who would be affected? I am a Mum of 2 very young children so I don’t have time to go trawling the Internet for public consultations on the Leeds CC website. The work the on Bradford Road/New Street intersection directly affects me. Where has our traffic island gone? I walk with my baby in the buggy and my toddler on the scooter over to the Owlcotes centre 2 or 3 times a week and for the past 2 weeks we have almost all been killed trying to cross the road. I have tried to walk down to the zebra crossing by the dry cleaners but this requires us to cross Old Road where there is also no crossing so we gamble with being run over again. I am a doctor so am all for people being given the opportunity to be more healthy but I think that you have gone about this completely the wrong way. I sincerely hope that I don’t end up seeing a patient a work who has been run over trying to cross Bradford Road in Farsley in an dangerous place due to the stealth removed of traffic islands.

Yours angrily.

Dr Louise Carter

Joy walkington says:

How are emergency services going to get through traffic in emergencies as there is no room for cars to get out of the way?

Steven lightfoot says:

Please can someone advise firstly when the works will be finished on stanningley bottom (bradford road) there are missing trees as promised, and missing bollards (which weren’t on the original plans)
The road is still scattered with cones and doesn’t help with running a business on that road

Tony Binns says:

Is it true that a permanent ” no left turn ” onto Armley Ridge Road is to be introduced for Leeds bound traffic? Also can you please advise where any other ” no left turn” restrictions are to be introduced , for fear of traffic driving across the cycle lane.

louise says:

The left turn ban has already been lifted

A Ellis says:

I feel like this scheme hasn’t taken into account pedestrian safety with islands been taken away from very busy roads , children , elderly and disabled people are now struggling to cross the roads this to me seems very wrong and a accident just waiting to happen

westleedslife says:

Thanks for all the questions so far – some good ones here, so keep them coming!

The cycle superhighway issue always sparks a lot of interesting points and it’s obviously something feel passionately about (either for or against). Can we ask that comments on this post concentrate on putting forward potential questions rather than giving opinions on the scheme? Thanks.

Also, we had someone email today asking whether we’d be putting all the questions to the guys at CityConnect. No, we won’t – there are far too many to put all of them! But as we said in the article, we’ll pick a selection to ask.

Jeremy Akeroyd says:

Seems that most of the questions asked will be ignored as ‘CityConnect bosses have agreed to field questions on any cycle superhighway subject from West Leeds Dispatch readers.’ Selected ones that is!
So I guess we are all wasting our time as this is being built and locals have not had a say in the proposal at all___
Also common sense seems to have go out out the window
What happened to democracy in Leeds?

westleedslife says:

Hi Jeremy

Couple of pointers –

1. The questions will be selected by me, the editor of West Leeds Dispatch, not by City Connect.

2. If I counted all the questions in this comment thread, the ones I’ve had via Twitter, Facebook and social media, there would currently be in excess of 110, which would be unmanageable. What I will do is ensure the questions are as representative as possible.

Perhaps your comment would have been better directed as a question about the original consultation run by City Connect, which I believe ran a couple of years ago?

Chris Kirby says:

It’s ok to say keep the questions coming as it keeps your profile high!!! We all know how the social media thing works too you know!! I live near the old pavilion in stanningley and want to know when are you going to change the layout of these strange outcrops of cycle path that make it a safety hazard that is now dangerous to motor vehicals. And also what makes it ok to spend that sort of money on a route that doesn’t get used by cyclists? If you knew the area or asked “us” locals we’d tell you that there’s a beautiful scenic cycle path that pretty much takes the same route, it’s new from Q branch it’s called the Leeds/Liverpool navigation canal.

westleedslife says:

Not sure I understand your point, Chris. The Dispatch – an indepenent community news operation – is asking for questions to put to CityConnect, that’s all. It’s not about profile, more about civic duty. We’re not building a business, we’re a community run news operation run entirely by volunteers living in the area, we even pay for web hosting and other costs out of our own pockets. Our last comment doesn’t appear on social media, just on this post.

Thanks for your questions Chris, we’ll add them to the pot for consideration.

B Wiggins says:

When opened , will the cycle path be swept regular ?

martin says:

I drive on the A647 Stanningley Rd a few times every day and at different times of day. I also have a pedal cycle. The millions spent on cyclists who do not contribute to the highways has been a complete waste of time. The sections that now appear complete are not used by cyclists. There was nothing wrong with the white dotted line that was a cycle section of the road The new superhighway is almost wide enough to drive a small car down! Why is it so wide?

it also separates bus passengers from the buses. Even at peak times, I have not seen more than 5 or 6 cyclists riding along the road at any one time, compared to what must be thousands of cars. Keeping the traffic flowing should have been a priority. The past year or two of these road works have caused more delays than ever before, which will have a knock on effect to businesses that have taken other routes to avoid delays, or suffered the delays and extra costs,( fuel & time) that should have been considered. Receiving grants for the cycle way, does not make it a good plan. The joy of a possible freebie ( or reduced cost) should have been considered further and consequences of such scheme. This is going to be the white elephant of the Leeds city council. The tram schemes etc at least considreed the tens of thousands of people who travel on busess, unlike the hundreds that will use just part of the cycle highway. What surveys were done, asking what the people of leeds would like?

How many cyclists were surveyed and how many bus and car drivers were surveyed?

How many cyclists travel from Bradford to the other side of leeds?

If were to have itthe super highway, wouild it have neen better with just a section done and then consider the consquences and surveys of that test section, rather than just doing the whole thing?

What about when it snows? Will the snow ploughs push the snow on the cycle lanes?

Will the council now have to grit the cycle lanes as well?

The list goes on….. Time will tell, but so far I think it will be a disaster.

C Froome says:

There’s so much wrong here that I almost don’t know where to begin. First of all, cyclists do contribute to the upkeep of the highways. They do this through income tax, the same as everyone else. I’ll presume that you’re talking about ‘road tax’ or Vehicle Emissions Duty. Again though, most cyclists also run cars and so also pay this.

What was wrong with painted white lines? Everything, quite frankly. They don’t separate vulnerable road users (in this case, cyclists) from the much faster 2 tonne metal boxes. You may as well ask “why do we have pavements for pedestrians” because it’s exactly the same principle. There have been multiple surveys over the years asking the general population if they’d like to cycle more and why they don’t currently cycle places. Every time the answer has been that riding on the road is too dangerous and that people want to be segregated.

As to why people aren’t using it yet it’s because it’s not finished. Have you not spotted the signs saying that it will open ‘Spring 2016’ on your journeys up and down Stanningley Road? Would you drive on a road that was under construction if there was another, much smoother highway adjacent to it? Of course not.

I’m constantly disappointed at how some residents of Leeds fail to see the bigger picture beyond their car and how they’re going to get to the shops.

Dave says:

Hello,

Unlike many here, I think that the cycle route is a great idea, currently I drive to work along the prospective route but on completion I am hoping to cycle.

I have two questions:
Firstly, the Pudsey roundabout. Due to the slip road coming from the ring road clockwise, it forces cyclists into a dangerous position to merge through a fast lane of traffic and into the cycle lane. has this been considered and what is the chosen solution?

Secondly, I can foresee a major issue with cars being parked in the cycle lane, blocking the whole lane. how will this be discouraged and what will be done to enforce a clear cycle route?

Without consideration to the above, it would be a massive discouragement for cyclists to use the Lane.

Thanks
Dave

Michelle Burdett says:

I’m keen to understand if the kerbs out projecting into the road are permanent. There are s couple on Stanningley which are lethal and if you are turning left out if varley street it’s quite dangerous as you have to take it wide due to the protruding kerbs

Charlotte Hydes says:

Id like to know if all the crossings that they have removed will be replaced. Every time I go down Stanningley road another crossing has disappeared. I have a pram and risk my babies life crossing that busy road!

mr fucked off says:

I think this highway is a joke ..why not just paint one as usuall instead of a 4ft wide track either side of road ristricting traffic ..they dont even use the parts completed if any ..there are gaps and pot holes everywere on it .and kackered my dranage from house to road wich i have had to pay to get unblocked from all the crap they are putting down them instead of skipping it

Anonymous says:

May I ask if there are going to be other improvements at the Junction of Stanningley Bottom and Richardshaw Lane?

I have an office on Bradford Road and head towards Swinnow of an evening. It is now a virtual impossibility to continue because of all of the traffic that waits to turn right off of Bradford Road up Richardshaw Lane at peak times. There are ALWAYS queues up Richardshaw in peak times and because vehicles are not able to turn right it is backing up all of the traffic coming from Dawsons Corner towards Stanningley Bottom as vehicles can not now pass on the inside to continue their journey and end up in lengthy queues.

Very rarely has traffic queued up past our office in peak times in the 5 years we have been there but now this has become an everyday occurrence since this Scheme! We are having to leave earlier on an evening to ensure we can collect children on time.

Dawn Evans says:

The Cycle Super Highway construction continues in to April , May? June? who knows when it will end. As a resident of Stanningley who regularly uses this road by car its disruption and construction is heightening its likely cause for hazzards. The negotiation of its ever changing landscape is fraught with danger for driver, cyclist and above all pedestrian. It is increasingly becoming alarming that the road has now narrowed in places that a bus and lorry are unable to safely pass each other is not being checked. Road markings appear overnight ? are they mini roundabouts in force or free for all junctions? Pedestrian crossings are we to believe these are to be zebra crossings? surely pelican crossings where the traffic is ordered to stop would have been a safer investment for example where Half Mile Lane meets Stanningley Road a Tesco Express already is a busy location for pedestrians crossing and where two bus stops are located. At Stanningly Bottoms with two mini roundabouts and a big junction with Rickashaw Lane shops and bus stops as a driver myself it is a minefield negotiating this small stretch. Zebra crossing rules are often not followed by drivers and pedestrians eager to cross busy traffic especially school children. I must speak out as at this stage I would hope the planners and Councillors responsible for its implementation should be reflecting on and reevaluating as the work proceeds and are not at the first fatality going to say on Look North” lessons will be learned from this tragedy” .

Barbara Thomas says:

When is this cycle superhighway to be completed? I’ve read that it would be today, 29th April, but it certainly isn’t, and is still causing delays to journeys in this area! We seem to have had road works in the Thornbury Barracks area for three years now! First the change to the road junction, which I have to say worked really well, until the cycle lane started a few months later! But that caused nothing as painful as the cycle highway!

Paul Hawkesworth says:

I would like to know if the people behind this scheme will be using the facility daily. I would also like to know why no one has ever taken an opinion poll about the idea and published the results.

Perhaps it is the same people who thought up the design for the Rodley Lane/ Ring Road junction. It worked ok as it was – now traffic flow has been disrupted and gridlock occurs.

It could be that a long term view has been taken – everyone will have to use a cycle ( I won’t – I have a motorbike).

Steve M says:

How does the cycle lane cross Dawson’s corner roundabout ?

A Thewlis says:

I’m sorry but we’ve had no choice to be patient. Living off Thornbury roundabout means it now can take upto 20 mins to get out of out street.
The street is too narrow for a car to come in and go out – to access the street you have to wait on the roundabout if there is a car coming out.
The pavements are too high and I’m fed up of a 5 min journey now taking 50 mins due to the coning off of lanes – usually one that was dug up last summer and one that gas no workers working on it.
Many of my staff are late as they have to access work via dick lane.
To be honest I’m not sure what planning was done and 29 million is obscene whe we have elderly people needing homes and homeless people needing suppor.
Sorry but its been a farce from start to finish.

Ann Bradshaw says:

Can someone please advise me on what to say to tradespeople , delivery drivers etc when they ask me if there are any traffic restrictions outside my property on Stanningley Road between Cockshott Lane and Armley Ridge Road Leeds bound?

Alan Wharton says:

This cycleway ‘twixt Leeds and Bradford you have designated a “superhighway”.
This use of hyperbole, were you subject to trading standard regulations, would have clearly landed yourselves in court. Such misuse of English can only be deplored.
Are you aware that once Leeds Council once backed ‘The Clear English Campaign’?
Or perhaps you would justify this dubious schemes title because its costs are [literally] incredible to the taxpayer?

Steve Midwinter says:

The whole idea of this cycle (physco) super highway is flawed, it will not generate any meaningful increase in cyclists for recreational use or for commuting. The reduction in carriageways is dangerous for motorist , buses and HGV’s. The state of the road surfaces is in many areas still neglected and potholed with patchwork maintenance at best. Pathways are reduced in width and have obstructions such as sign supports , lamp posts , post boxes , abrupt changes in direction all of which posing problems for aged , infirm as well as mothers and babies with pushchairs and wheelchairs. Places where the cycle path runs at the back of Bus Stops which have no separation from pedestrian areas to the Cycle Path … Many of the aforementioned points are accidents waiting to happen. The Cyclists have no legal obligation to have any insurance in the event of accidents yet have the benefit of a £30m+ exclusive highway? I cannot comprehend how this can be justified and no matter what pot the funding has come from it is ultimately the Taxpayer who has financed this project. The route has multiple areas where accidents are likely as well as very steep gradients and variable cycle path widths. I sincerely hope that the proponents of this super Highway have commitment and accept the responsibility of their decision by monitoring the usage and rate of accidents of this route compared to previous numbers and also make the numbers available. to the Taxpaying Public.

Gemma says:

Everybody appears particularly concerned about width of roads etc but how about the pedestrians, has anybody given a thought at all to them? I am aware that in some areas (definitely Thornbury/Pudsey) that the pavement has become so narrow in places or have lamp posts or other posts in the way, that a wheelchair user or a parent with a double buggy would be unable to stay on the path and have to go into the cycle lane. I live in Pudsey and I travel the exact route on the 72 bus to Leeds every work day and it has just caused months upon months of misery and it still appears to be nowhere near finished especially up by me. It is all just a farce is anyone going to patrol it and reinforce how it should be used I.e the direction of travel!!! Who is going to pay for the upkeep?? Complete waste of money in my opinion.

Andrea Wynne says:

Are any road markings to be introduced on the B6381 at the junction of Leeds Old Road and Rushton Avenue? This is the junction which leads into Morrisons Supermarket, Thornbury. At the moment this wide junction is almost a desert of Tarmac with no indication of how traffic should position itself to turn into Rushton Avenue. There’s just an arched double broken line across one edge of the junction which is presumably something for the guidance of cyclists. As a motorist it signifies nothing to me.