The completion of initiatives to enhance pedestrian and cyclist connections over the River Aire represents a noteworthy achievement in advancing cycling infrastructure within Leeds city centre.
The Crown Point Bridge Gateway project introduces a protected cycle track spanning over 1km across Crown Point Bridge, Crown Point Road, and Black Bull Street. The primary goal is to enhance connectivity to the city’s southeast, encouraging individuals to opt for walking, cycling, or wheeling for shorter journeys.
This scheme establishes connections to local educational institutions and new developments on the south bank, facilitating increased participation in cycling for city travel. Additionally, the project offers valuable work experience to local students.
Joshua, an apprentice traffic engineer involved in the scheme, expressed, “As an apprentice, I had the opportunity to contribute to the construction of the Crown Point Bridge and Black Bull Street scheme. My responsibilities included assisting the experienced traffic engineer in overseeing the construction process, monitoring progress, and observing on-site issue resolution. I gained valuable skills and knowledge that will benefit my future career as a traffic engineer and support my studies at Leeds College of Building.”
The Crown Point Bridge Gateway is part of a broader initiative to address gaps in Leeds’ existing cycle network, incorporating 2.71km of two-way protected cycle tracks, wider pavements, and safer crossings.
The Council aims to achieve a 33% increase in walking and a 400% increase in cycling by 2030 by providing safer options for walking and cycling. Progress toward this objective has been evident over the past year, with an increase in both walking and cycling journeys in the city centre.
The newly established route offers an alternative to driving into the city, expanding and connecting Leeds’ cycling network. It provides direct cycle routes to Hunslet, Elland Road, White Rose, and Stourton Park & Ride, as well as proximity to e-bike docking stations available for hire through the Leeds City Bikes scheme.
Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said; “I am thrilled to see the finished improvements to the Crown Point Bridge Gateway and it provides a vital route into the city which is already well used by commuters and cycle users. I’d also like to thank everyone for their patience whilst the work was ongoing.
“We’re making good progress with our targets to increase walking and cycling in the city and schemes like this give even more people the opportunity to try alternative methods of travel for getting around.
“By increasing the opportunities for giving cycling a go, more people will be able to embrace cycling as a normal everyday activity for getting to and from key destinations and it will help our ambition to reduce reliance on car travel for shorter journeys.”
Both the e-bike hire scheme and the cycle network improvements are being delivered by Leeds City Council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “This investment in Leeds city centre is just one of the ways we’re working together to make West Yorkshire a better place to live and work.
“Changing our travel habits is about having access to different options.
“A reliable and inclusive transport network, which puts cycling and walking at the heart of our everyday lives, is key to our plans for a stronger and better-connected region.”
Other ongoing or nearing completion projects within the cycling network improvements package include Western Gateway (Kirkstall Road to Wellington Street A65), Dewsbury Road Connector (Dewsbury Road and Parkfield Street), and Southern Gateway (Neville Street and Sovereign Street). These projects fall under the Transforming Cities Fund programme by the Combined Authority, focusing on facilitating easier walking, cycling, and public transport use.