The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has secured an additional £10.053 million from the Government’s Active Travel Fund, to create more space for people to travel by bike and on foot while easing the pressure on public transport and relieving congestion.
This newly announced funding is in addition to the £2.5 million already secured in July 2020, as a part of the first bidding phase, bringing the total secured to support the region’s transport response to COVID-19 to £12.5 million.
The Combined Authority, in partnership with local authorities across West Yorkshire, will deliver a programme of new cycling and walking measures, which will support more people to travel by bike or on foot, as well as create more capacity on the public transport network.
These measures will focus on improving routes into town and city centres, as well as reducing traffic around schools and in residential areas.
Protected cycle lanes will be created along key routes into city and town centres, including Thornton Road in Bradford, Leeds Road (A62) in Huddersfield, and roads in Otley and Garforth, in Leeds. These new routes will be enhanced by new secure bike parking, including a trial of app-operated cycle storage lockers in Calderdale to be delivered as a pilot for the region.
In Wakefield, the focus will be on making it easier for people to walk more, with several new or improved crossing facilities are proposed across district, to improve access to employment sites and schools.
To support more children to travel to school by scooter, bike or on foot, four new ‘School Streets’ will be delivered, including two in Wakefield and two in Bradford. This builds on those already being put in place at priority schools in Leeds and Calderdale. Schools will also benefit from the installation of secure bike and scooter storage, including 30 schools in Calderdale receiving new bike parking.
Councillor Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised our ambition to put cycling and walking at the centre of our response to the transport challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will support us to provide local solutions to local needs and make cycling and walking a viable option for short, everyday trips – particularly while social distancing remains in force.
“However, we want to go much further. Emerging work is showing that we need to increase cycling and walking trips by at least 2,000% and 78% respectively to achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038. Long-term, sustainable and flexible Government funding is absolutely vital in helping us meet these ambitions.”
As part of the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods across West Yorkshire, further measures will be introduced to create areas where residential parking and access to streets are prioritised and better environments to enable more people to cycle and walk more often, including creating active travel neighbourhoods to improve accessibility east of Huddersfield, and across Leeds including Middleton, Armley and Wortley and Chapeltown and Chapel Allerton.
The Combined Authority, through its CityConnect programme, will support businesses and schools to become more bike and walk-friendly, through grants and free advice, as well as extending its free adult cycle training programme.
The full list of schemes can be found here.