A pilot scheme to close some streets in Leeds to private cars to deter rat-running and encourage walking and cycling could be extended to parts of Armley and Wortley as part of a £10 million funding boost announced today.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority says it has secured an additional £10.053 million from the Government’s Active Travel Fund to create more space for people to travel by bike and on foot, while easing the pressure on public transport and relieving congestion.
This newly announced funding is in addition to the £2.5 million already secured in July, bringing the total secured to support the region’s transport response to COVID-19 to £12.5 million.
Proposals include creating active travel neighbourhoods to improve accessibility east of Huddersfield, and across Leeds including Middleton, Armley and Wortley and Chapeltown and Chapel Allerton.
Details have yet to be released over exactly where in Armley and Wortley the scheme will take place and when the measures will be introduced.
A six-month active travel neighbourhoods trial was launched in Leeds this week. It aims to make streets in Beeston, Hyde Park and Chapeltown more accessible for children, pedestrians and cyclists.
West Yorkshire-wide programme
The Combined Authority, in partnership with local authorities across West Yorkshire, will also deliver a wide-ranging programme of new cycling and walking measures, which will support more people to travel by bike or on foot, as well as create more capacity on the public transport network.
These measures will focus on improving routes into town and city centres, as well as reducing traffic around schools and in residential areas.
Protected cycle lanes will be created along key routes into city and town centres, including Thornton Road in Bradford, Leeds Road (A62) in Huddersfield, and roads in Otley and Garforth in Leeds.
These new routes will be enhanced by new secure bike parking, including a trial of app-operated cycle storage lockers in Calderdale to be delivered as a pilot for the region. In Wakefield, the focus will be on making it easier for people to walk more, with several new or improved crossing facilities are proposed across district, to improve access to employment sites and schools.
To support more children to travel to school by scooter, bike or on foot, four new ‘School Streets’ will be delivered, including two in Wakefield and two in Bradford.
This builds on those already being put in place at priority schools in Leeds and Calderdale. Schools will also benefit from the installation of secure bike and scooter storage, including 30 schools in Calderdale receiving new bike parking.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said:
“We are pleased that the Government has recognised our ambition to put cycling and walking at the centre of our response to the transport challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will support us to provide local solutions to local needs and make cycling and walking a viable option for short, everyday trips – particularly while social distancing remains in force.
“However, we want to go much further. Emerging work is showing that we need to increase cycling and walking trips by at least 2,000% and 78% respectively to achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038. Long term, sustainable and flexible Government funding is absolutely vital in helping us meet these ambitions.”
The Combined Authority, through its CityConnect programme, will support businesses and schools to become more bike and walk friendly through grants and free advice, as well as extending its free adult cycle training programme. The full list of schemes can be found here.
WLD reported in July that Haddon Road in Burley was set to become one of the first streets in Leeds to become a pedestrian and cycle friendly zone. Restrictions are proposed at certain times of day or all day as part of the creation of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood.