Leeds’ £6.9m investment in cycling and walking accelerated by COVID

Construction work to further boost West Yorkshire’s cycle and walking network, which will play a vital role in the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, has been brought forward as part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s emergency response in partnership with Leeds City Council.

Work has started on a new segregated cycling and walking route on Claypit Lane, Leeds, as part of a £6.9m package of new infrastructure in the city.

Plans to improve Clay Pit Lane for people travelling by bike and on foot between north Leeds and the city centre include a 1.3km segregated route between Chapeltown Road and Woodhouse Lane.

This new section will link to existing routes on Meanwood Road and provide people with a safer crossing over the Inner Ring Road. Importantly, the scheme also includes a new continuous route for people travelling on foot into the northern part of the city centre. In the south of the city, construction work is due to start this summer on a new 3km segregated cycling route between Elland Road Park and Ride and the city centre.

The existing segregated cycle route on Dewsbury Road will also be extended with a 1.5km section of new route between Garnet Road and Beeston Ring Road. This package of schemes is being delivered as part of the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, which is aimed at enabling more people to travel by bike or on foot, in partnership with Leeds City Council.

Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Through our CityConnect programme, we have invested significantly to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot, which will be crucial to meeting the transport challenge created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These important schemes will provide communities in Beeston, Holbeck and Hunslet, as well as those in the north of the city, with high-quality cycling and walking routes and the Dewsbury Road scheme will provide an important missing link in the existing network to create a continuous 4.4km segregated route for south Leeds.

“By 2027, we are aiming to increase the number of trips people in our region make on bike by 300%. This will not only boost people’s health and save them money, it will also help us to achieve our aim of being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest.”

In addition to infrastructure investment, the Combined Authority is working with partner councils to make more road space available to people travelling by bike and on foot.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, said: “During these difficult times, we’re working hard to make walking and cycling more attractive and natural everyday choices for exercising and commuting.

“We’re delighted we are bringing the construction phase of these schemes forward for new segregated cycle routes south of the city connecting Beeston, Holbeck, Hunslet and the city centre, as well as important work on Clay Pit Lane and Meanwood Road. Every new piece of segregated cycleway in Leeds gets us nearer to the 500 miles of cycle network we are aiming to deliver across the city.

“In this Covid-19 recovery phase, Leeds is creating many more new routes which offer improved safety for people who walk and cycle, offering convenience and championing health and wellbeing for our residents. Alongside improved segregated cycleways the scheme will improve the environment for pedestrians. This work funded through CityConnect will improve environmental sustainability, better air quality and reduce pollution of all types in and around Leeds. We look forward to seeing the schemes completed later this year.”

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