New temporary cycle lanes on the A65 Kirkstall Road will play a vital role in helping people travel safely in the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, Leeds City Council said today.
The authority has unveiled its plans to encourage more active travel across Leeds, which includes encouraging people to walk and cycle thanks to temporarily widened footways and low traffic neighbourhoods.
The first section of temporary cycle lanes will be on site late June along the A65 Kirkstall Road from Vesper Walk to the city centre to install “wand orcas” (semi-permanent bollards that are bolted to the road) to physically separate the space for cyclists and traffic.
This scheme has been fast-tracked and will be the first of the arterial routes into the city where such measures will be installed.
As well as an additional 100km of segregated cycle lanes plans also include an additional 500 cycle parking places across the district.
A council spokesperson said:
“To ensure people feel safe making their everyday essential journeys, over the last few weeks footways have been temporarily widened using water barriers in the city centre and across a number of local town and district centres.”
School Streets schemes have begun to be tested out at six Leeds primary schools from 1 June – including Primrose Hill in Pudsey – restricting traffic movement outside the schools during school drop off and pick up times to make walking, scooting and cycling to school safer and healthier for children.
Other schools are being identified for future waves of the scheme, subject to funding.
In May an interactive consultation went live asking the public to share ideas of where the council could improve social distancing and active travel measures, on main roads, in local neighbourhoods and around schools.
More than 20,000 contributions from 4,100 respondents are being considered.
As a first response, proposals for intended works will be available for comment. This can be viewed by visiting here.
Seventy one percent of Common Place respondents supported reducing traffic speed or volume measures to keep those using active travel safe. Fifty percent of those surveyed who own a private vehicle said they expect to use it less in the coming months.
Other notable suggestions included providing motorcycle parking and providing suitable locations for installation of this are also under way.
The Government has announced £250 million to support local councils who want to implement active travel measures.
Only £45m of the £250m announced by government has been made available initially and West Yorkshire Combined Authority have been allocated in the region of £2.5 million to assign to the five local authorities it covers, which includes Leeds.
Leeds City Council’s bid includes creating 500 miles of safer cycling routes across the city.
It will also introduce low traffic neighbourhood schemes in places like Hyde Park, which remove through traffic on identified streets, creating a safer space for walking and cycling whilst keeping access for local residents.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said:
“We want to embed a positive cycling and walking culture in Leeds. We have invested over £30m on cycle superhighways in the last few years and we have a further 15km of segregated cycle routes from existing programmes in construction this year.
“To achieve our ambition of 800km of segregated cycle routes and respond swiftly to this current situation we need to find quicker and cheaper ways to deliver this network on all our main roads in the city.
“Following the A65 Kirkstall Road, we are looking at pop-up segregated cycle lanes on other arterial routes, we’ve had lots of interest from other schools keen to join the school streets initiative and we’re very excited about introducing our first active travel neighbourhood.”
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