West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) that its applications for £22.1m for Leeds City Region cycling schemes has been successful. The amount will also be matched through local funding sources taking the total allocation to £30 million in the next three years for CityConnect 2.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair, Cllr Peter Box said:
“Cycling and walking are important elements of the transport network and are key to providing people with links to employment and training opportunities.
“CityConnect2 will enable WYCA to deliver transformational cycle infrastructure schemes in Bradford, Calderdale, Huddersfield, Leeds, Wakefield and York, connecting to key employment and regeneration sites.
“The CityConnect 1 and 2 programmes are evidence of the heightened interest in cycling generated by last year’s Tour De France Grand Départ and the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in May.”
WYCA Transport Committee Chair Cllr James Lewis said:
“Work on the CityConnect1 Cycle Superhighway between Bradford and Leeds, which resulted from our successful £18m bid to the Government’s Cycle City Ambition Grant funding in 2013 is already underway.
“Securing a further £20m plus from the Department for Transport (DfT) means we can build on the success CityConnect1 and our vision to get more people cycling more often.
“CityConnect2 will deliver similarly ambitious schemes in the Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York districts, providing people with safe and convenient links to areas where we are supporting investment and job growth.”
Cllr Lewis said widespread consultation will be carried out in the development of CityConnect2.
“We have spoken to many local residents and businesses along the route of CityConnect1 to ensure we are getting the project right and we will carry out a similar programme, including local events, in the development of CityConnect2 to ensure it we develop routes with the greatest potential to generate growth in cycling,” he added.
In Bradford, a 2.5km extension to the cycle superhighway from Forster Square Rail Station along Canal Road will provide a strategic link from deprived areas and new residential areas to jobs and training opportunities in the city centre. The new link will also provide a connection from the city centre to the Airedale Greenway on the National Cycle Network.
Also in the Bradford district an extension of the canal towpath upgrades in CityConnect1 towards Skipton in Craven will mean new links with a number of communities and provide a continuous off-highway cycleway between Skipton and Keighley, Bingley, Shipley as well as the city centres of Bradford and Leeds.
In Kirklees, high quality segregated cycle routes in Huddersfield Town Centre, a key centre for employment and training opportunities, will be connected to the Strategic Employment Area of Cooper Bridge and on the Upper Calder Valley towpath to Calderdale towns and communities such as Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Elland, Brighouse and Todmorden.
Supported by additional cycle parking, the new cycle infrastructure will also be connected to Golcar on the Huddersfield to Marsden towpath providing a continuous 35km segregated cycle route which can be used for commuting and leisure journeys.
In Leeds city centre, CityConnect2 will provide a 5km extension of high-quality, segregated links connecting the City Centre Loop and the 23km City Connect1 cycle super highway between Leeds and Bradford.
Wakefield city centre is a key location for employment and training and a high-quality segregated cycle and walking links in the city centre to both the City Fields development and Kirkgate Train Station with cycle parking facilities will improve access to these opportunities. A new 12km off-highway towpath scheme will also provide a new link between the centres of Castleford and Wakefield as well as Normanton Industrial Estate plus access to green space along the way.
In York, a wheelchair- accessible Scarborough Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will provide better links between York Rail Station and areas north of the City Centre enabling users to avoid the city’s busy Inner Ring Road.
Announcing the funding Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
“We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through.
“Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”
CityConnect2 initiatives will be complemented by a comprehensive behavioural change programme and improvements to neighbourhoods to make local streets safe and attractive for walking and cycling.
WYCA submitted the application in partnership with the five West Yorkshire district councils and York. Up to £30.2 million will be spent on the schemes, with £22.1m of the funding required coming from central government.