Leeds city centre is set to experience a cycling renaissance with the inauguration of the latest initiative in a £7.2 million investment dedicated to walking and cycling enhancements. The newly unveiled cycle track, extending from Kirkstall Road to Wellington Street, is a pivotal component of the Western Gateway scheme, significantly improving accessibility for cyclists commuting from west Leeds into the city centre.

The Western Gateway project seamlessly integrates with existing cycling routes on the A65, Wellington Street, City Square, and beyond, filling a crucial gap in the city’s expanding network of protected cycle paths. These pathways are designed to keep cyclists separate from bustling roads and pedestrian thoroughfares.

Rory Osborne, a resident of Burley, has already experienced the positive impact of the new cycle track during his daily commute to the city centre. Osborne remarked, “This new section of the route has made a massive difference to my journey. There’s lots of traffic and fast-moving vehicles along that stretch. I feel so much more comfortable when I’m segregated from it all, and I can just cruise along the cycle lane with confidence.”

Leeds is steadily transforming into a cycling-friendly city, and Osborne believes it is an exciting development, stating, “It’s been great to see the city’s walking and cycling network evolve so much. Leeds is starting to become an example of what a cycling city can look like, and that’s very exciting.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, the Executive Member for sustainable development and infrastructure at Leeds City Council, expressed satisfaction with the progress, saying, “I am pleased to see the progress on connecting cycling infrastructure around the city centre. It is important that people feel safe when making trips by bike to and from the city, and, by laying the foundations for safer journeys, more people will be able to try cycling as an alternative for getting around.”

Highlighting the importance of such initiatives, Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, emphasized, “A reliable and inclusive transport network, which prioritises cycling, walking and public transport, is key to our plans for a stronger and better-connected region. This investment in Leeds city centre is just one of the ways we’re working together to make West Yorkshire an even better place to live and work.”

The comprehensive improvements form part of a broader programme, adding 2.71km of two-way cycle tracks, wider pavements, and safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists. The recently completed Crown Point Bridge Gateway and enhancements around Sovereign Street are also integral components of this initiative. The schemes are being implemented through the Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund programme, aimed at facilitating easier walking, cycling, and public transport use.