A new city cycle route in Leeds has been launched, with Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin joined by double Olympic champion and Leeds local Alistair Brownlee to cut the ribbon.
The route runs between north Leeds and the city centre, along Clay Pit Lane. The infrastructure is part of a £6.3 million package of more than 7km of cycling and walking routes being delivered across Leeds by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, which aims to encourage more people to travel by bike or on foot, in partnership with Leeds City Council.
The Clay Pit Lane scheme provides a new 1.3km segregated route between Chapeltown Road and Woodhouse Lane. It links to existing routes on Meanwood Road and provides a safer crossing over the Inner Ring Road. The scheme also provides significant pedestrian improvements, incorporating a continuous route for people travelling into the north of the city on foot.
As Leeds active travel ambassador, Brownlee made first tracks on the route following the official opening. He was joined by local children from Shakespeare Primary School, as well as representatives from businesses and community groups who have received Combined Authority support to encourage people to cycle and walk more.
These included Living Streets, which is working with the Combined Authority to promote walking at businesses and schools; local community organisations MEMEC and Leeds Bike Mill, who have received Community Grant funding to run cycling projects; and local employers the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, who have received support to encourage staff to walk and cycle more.
Also there to support the launch were councillor Manisha Kaushik, deputy chair of West Yorkshire Transport Committee and councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds’ executive member for infrastructure and climate. “Cleaner and greener transport is at the absolute heart of my pledge as Mayor to improve the transport options in our region,” said Brabin.
“Encouraging more people walk or cycle short journeys, such as trips into town, couldn’t be more in keeping with this. Children from Shakespeare Primary School have cycled all the way from Lincoln Green to the Leeds Arena today, and it’s this sort of example we really want to see more of, showing that cycling is for everyone, and is safer and easier than ever thanks to fantastic new routes like these.”
Kaushik added: “It’s brilliant to launch this new route at a time when people are coming back into Leeds in ever greater numbers as Government restrictions ease. It offers people in north Leeds a genuine alternative to travelling by car, with a segregated route that is safe and free from traffic, all the way into the city centre.
“Supporting people in our schools, workplaces and communities to travel by bike and on foot is more important than ever as we look to address the health, transport and economic challenges created by COVID-19, but also in helping our region achieve its aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”
Hayden, said: “We’re delighted to open the 1.5km Claypit Lane segregated cycling route. It builds on the expanding Leeds cycle network, providing a safe, segregated route which links directly into the north of the city centre. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we offer options for walking and cycling as an everyday, natural and pleasant choice.
“As we reopen the city, these new routes will offer a safer, convenient and a healthier way for people to travel. Every new piece of segregated cycleway in Leeds moves us closer to the 800km of cycle network we are aiming to deliver across the city.
“This cycling route opening is a great time to remind people of our new campaign ‘Walk it Ride it’, a collective city-wide movement towards healthier, greener travel in Leeds. We want to inspire, and help others inspire, more people to consider walking or cycling for those shorter trips and this new cycle route should make that an easier choice for the surrounding communities.
“Leaving a car at home and walking or cycling is good for our health, it’s good for our air, cuts congestion and makes our streets and roads safer for everybody.”
Brownlee added: “I use the city’s roads and routes regularly for training. I’m also passionate about sustainability and improving the safety for cyclists out on the road. It’s great Connecting Leeds in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have aspirations to create 500 miles (800kms) of safer cycling routes across the city which is one of the largest amounts of infrastructure of any city in the north.
“With all the new cycling infrastructure in Leeds I’ve witnessed many more people on bikes taking advantage of the safer, cheaper and healthier way to travel. It’s really encouraging for the future health and wellbeing of Leeds residents.”
The scheme to provide new infrastructure along Claypit Lane is one of a package of new projects accelerated by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme to increase travel choices in Leeds as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The schemes have received £6.5 million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
In addition to Clay Pit Lane, new cycling routes on Elland Road and Dewsbury Road are due to open soon. On Elland Road, a 3km segregated route will link Elland Road Park and Ride with the city centre, and the existing segregated cycle route on Dewsbury Road will be extended with a new 1.5km section between Garnet Road and Beeston Ring Road.
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