Residents attending an Armley Forum meetings have given a sceptical response to the new £29 million cycle superhighway.
Work has started in the Armley area on the 14 mile CycleConnect link between Leeds and Bradford, which is being implemented by Leeds and Bradford councils and West Yorkshire Comibined Authority.
But some residents at Armley Library on Tuesday evening said they didn’t see the value of the scheme, and pointed to the current disruption down Stanningley Road which they claim has left traffic at a virtual standstill as work continues.
One elderly couple told the forum that the footpath outside their house had been narrowed by 40 inches, which they claimed had made it very difficult for families walking down with prams and holding children’s hands to pass. They added:
“We’re worried about the footpath, but also the width of the lanes on Stanningley Road. We’re worried about it all really.”
Another resident drew parallels with the government cutting funding for Leeds City College, which has led to them withdrawing adult education courses from the St Barts Centre. She said:
“Which would you rather have – a silly cycle track nobody will use or education? It’s a no-brainer to me, we should transfer that money to keeping adult education at St Barts.”
Forum chair Cllr James McKenna expressed sympathy with the woman’s views but added the money to support the college came from the government and not the council. He added:
“Hopefully it will keep cyclists safe and encourage others to take up cycling, which can only be good. But if I could swap it, I would!”
One Armley resident complained in May that the scheme was ‘pillaging’ Armley’s heritage by removing original granite kerbstones down Stanningley Road. Businesses in Stanningley have also complained about the disruption and issues with parking.
The CityConnect project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, has been funded by an £18m cash award from the Department for Transport and £11m of local funding.
The scheme also includes resurfacing parts of the Leeds Liverpool canal at Rodley and Kirkstall.
Coordinators say they hope the cycle way will encourage more people to make short journeys by bike and improve access to employment, skills and education, encourage people to get fitter as well as environmental benefits by reducing the number of car journeys.
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