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New Cycle Superhighway now open

CityConnect Cycle SuperhighwayPeople now have a safe, segregated cycling route linking Bradford and Leeds thanks to the new CityConnect cycle superhighway, which opened today.

Councillors from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford and Leeds Councils joined cyclists at Thornbury Roundabout, where the two districts meet to officially cut the ribbon to open the route.

Segregation

Stretching just over 14 kilometres, or just over 9 miles, its first stage (CS1) runs from Church Bank in Bradford to Leeds City Centre via Barker End Road, Leeds Old Road, Stanningley, Bramley and Armley. The new route features segregation from the highway, priority over cars at most side road junctions and increased safety measures along its length.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect team has developed the Cycle Superhighway, working with Bradford and Leeds councils.

To ensure the scheme meets cyclists’ and other road users’ requirements and provides them with a safe environment, CityConnect held almost 100 consultation events along the route. CityConnect also established an Advisory Group comprising representatives from cycling health and transport organisations and sought input from experts across the country on the scheme’s design. As a result, the route features to ensure people feel safe from the traffic conditions they tell us they find intimidating, which can deter them from cycling at all.

Legacy

The CityConnect cycle superhighway is the result of a successful bid Cycle City Ambition Fund in 2013 by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and West Yorkshire district councils. It is just one of a raft of improvements being delivered to create a lasting legacy to the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Transport Committee said: “Cycling is a key element of the integrated ‘Metro-style’ transport network that West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the LEP committed to developing in the recently updated Strategic Economic Plan to support and encourage economic growth and job creation.
  
“People taking up cycling can expect to lose weight, reduce their levels of stress levels and experience improvements in their mental wellbeing as well as enjoying a quick and convenient way of getting around.

“Through the CityConnect Cycle Superhighway, the Combined Authority and its partners are providing people with the first step in a network of improved and new routes that enable people to enjoying those benefits safely.

“Also by providing an environment that encourages more people to cycle, the CityConnect cycle superhighway will also help to reduce congestion and counter rising levels of air pollution, which recent data indicates that up to 700 deaths this year in Leeds alone.”

Cheap and healthy

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Portfolio holder for Sport and Culture said: “We are committed to encouraging people to take up cycling because it is a cheap and healthy form of transport that is also kinder to the environment than the many cars clogging up our roads.

“In recent years we have been putting together the infrastructure to enable the take-up of cycling. This is a further major scheme, which along with our partners, we have managed to install to open up a more traffic-free route between the major commuting cities of Bradford and Leeds. We urge people to take advantage of it as far as they are able.”

Pleasing

Leeds City Council executive member for Regeneration transport and Planning Councillor Richard Lewis said: “It is very pleasing to see the Cycle Superhighway open. This scheme can help to boost people’s health, ease transport congestion and improve the air quality in Leeds. We want to encourage everyone to give cycling a try and I look forward to the superhighway being well used.”

Because we have considered the needs of all road users, it has not been easy process but the feedback we are getting from many cyclists that they can’t wait to use the route points to the fact that we have got much of it right.

CityConnect is the first scheme of its kind outside London and it puts West Yorkshire on the world stage of cycling development and numbers using it are expected to increase five-fold over the next 10 years.

Now the Cycle Superhighway is open, the City Connect Team has an extensive program of engagement planned to support this growth and help people overcome the barriers that can prevent people from cycling. This includes working with schools along the route, delivering cycle training, Dr Bike sessions and led rides, and a Bike Friendly Business accreditation scheme that will advise businesses on what they can do to encourage more of their staff and visitors to travel by bike.

These sessions will be remind people that CityConnect is not just for committed “cyclists” but anyone who happens to want to choose the bike and ride in a safe, convenient environment.

Monitoring of the route will also be ongoing so that alterations can be made if necessary and to ensure that any lessons learnt are taken forward to the next phase.
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