“City debate” on long-term future of cycling in Leeds

cyclingA city-wide debate on the long-term future of cycling in Leeds looks to be on the cards.

The “city debate” is one of a number of proposals and plans outlined in a council report released this week updating councillors on what’s been happening with the “legacy” of this year’s Tour de France.

It’s going to be organised by a board that’s currently being set up, which will have responsibility for putting together both a three-year cycling development plan (for 2015-18) and a long-term strategy for cycling in the city.

The debate appears to be in response to calls by what the report describes as “pro cycling stakeholders” in Leeds for the city to “think longer term and much bigger, bringing Leeds into line with some other European Cities”.

It hasn’t been decided yet who’s going to be on the board, but a list of potential members has been drafted.

Leeds Cycling Campaign

LCC2It’s early days in terms of funding too. The board has got an initial budget of £50k to get things going, and there’s talk of a “20-year investment strategy”:

“Sustaining and increasing present levels of funding will be an ongoing challenge for the city and its partners. Looking to London and elsewhere in Europe – for example Denmark – a 20 year investment strategy would not be unreasonable for creating cycle networks capable of attracting 5% or more journeys by cycle.”

There’s going to be consultation, of course: “a wide and detailed programme of consultation and debate will take place with stakeholders across the city … Leeds Cycling Campaign … and other cycle organisations such as (national cycling charity) CTC and will continue to be crucial to the consultation process,” the report says.

It’s not clear from the report whether the proposals will have to got to council bosses for approval.

Cycle road circuit in north of city

The bulk of the report details what’s happening at the moment with the council’s efforts to promote cycling on the back of last July’s Tour, through work with schools, cycling clubs and bodies like British Cycling on schemes involving infrastructure, training, park rides and events like Sky Rides and next year’s Tour de Yorkshire.

For example, the report says that work is under way to create three cycling “hubs” in the city.

The sites, described as provisional at the moment, are: at the Fearnville leisure centre off Oakwood Lane, at Middleton golf course and the roads around the John Charles Centre for Sport, and “a major closed road cycle circuit” of 1.5km at an unspecified location in the north of the city.

You can find out more here.

The report has been drafted for a meeting of one of the council’s watchdog scrutiny committees. It’s being held on Tuesday, 13th January and it’s open to the public.

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