Conflict arises during the new cycle scheme consultation period

Cycle & Walking Lane SignCycle & Walking Lane Sign

Leeds City Council are proposing an extra 7 km of cycle lanes throughout Leeds. The lanes are due to cost £7.6 million and are to be completed within a two year period – starting in Spring 2021 and finishing by March 2023.

But not everybody has welcomed the scheme.

Anna Donaldson, a Horsforth Resident expressed her dismay.

“I mean there is a pandemic going on, there is poverty, there is everything going on and a city like this, we should not be spending more on cycle lanes.”

Anna is not the only Leeds resident troubled by the plans.

A large number of critical comments have been left on Leeds City Councils press release, with one reading: “Priority should be given to other needs, such as educational equipment for children during school closures, food, information services and many other more deserving and rewarding projects.”

Leeds City Council estimates that the additional cycle lanes “will improve journeys by bus, rail, bike and on foot for up to 1.5 million people” as well as taking 12 million car trips off the cities roads every year. 

Leeds locals still took to Twitter however, to find more answers from Leeds City Council and Connecting Leeds.

Since the first national lockdown, more people have been cycling, with The Bicycle Association reporting a 63% increase in the sales of Bicycles since March 2020. 

Kim Groves, the Councillor for Middleton Park and Chair of Transport for West Yorkshire Combined Authority, highlighted the benefits of the proposals.

“We know people during lockdown have embraced cycling and we want to continue those behaviours”

“Enabling increasing numbers of us 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.

A Leeds Cycle Network Ambition map, outlining the aims for the future cycle lanes in the city
A Leeds Cycle Network Ambition map, outlining the aims for the future cycle lanes in the city. Source: Leeds City Council

“The scheme has really linked together cycling and walking. We have had massive increases, as we know people want to walk and cycle more and we know people during lockdown have embraced cycling and we want to continue those behaviours.

“I know when we have put the interactive maps out, there has been huge interest in terms of where people want cycle routes. It has been really encouraging.”

This interactive maps shows just a handful of locations that will now be connected via cycle loops/lanes.

Emily Groves, a Cycle Coach and Active Travel Advisor illustrated the benefits further.

“It is always tricky, because people are always quick to criticise cycling infrastructure. It is one of those things that just takes some time.”

“There is a mental well-being aspect of it. You are out, often on your own and it is something you can do very easily with someone else. Just being out in the fresh air, seeing different things, all of that is so so beneficial to your mental health.”

About the Author

Rachel Johnston & Sam Teesdale
Third-year Journalism students

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