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Combined Authority’s Transport Committee asked to approve £3.6m of new cycling schemes in Wakefield and York

Cycle bridge over the River CalderThis week’s West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee is being asked to approve £3.6m of investment in new cycling and walking infrastructure, in the Wakefield and York districts.

At Friday’s meeting, Committee members will be asked to agree £1.85m for the second and third phases of the new Greenway route between Castleford and Wakefield, including a new bridge over a rail line. They are also asked to back investing £1.74m to provide a much-needed cycle link across the River Ouse at York’s Scarborough Bridge. Both schemes are being developed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect team in partnership with district council colleagues.

Fully surfaced

The Castleford to Wakefield Greenway is a fully surfaced cycle path from Castleford to Wakefield alongside the River Calder. The first phase of this project is currently under construction and will complete the missing link between Methley Bridge at Castleford and Fairies Hill Lock. It is due to be open early in the new year.

Phase 2 of the scheme will provide a link between the Castleford Greenway (opened 2014) and the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway via a new bridge over the Castleford to Leeds railway line. Phase 3 will create a link from these two schemes to the Trans Pennine Trail (and Leeds and Wakefield) at Methley Junction.

In York, the Scarborough Bridge Project will result in a new, wider bridge across the River Ouse near to the centre of York, adjacent to the existing Scarborough-line railway bridge. The new crossing will be a much wider replacement for the existing narrow footbridge, which is used daily by over 2,600 pedestrians as well as 600 cyclists who currently have to carry their bikes up steep steps and carry them across.

Ramps and stepped access

Incorporating ramps and stepped access, the new, traffic-free bridge will be suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, those with mobility issues and people with pushchairs and prams. York Council has secured significant match funding to enable this scheme to go ahead.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee Chair, said: “Phases 2 and 3 of the Wakefield to Castleford scheme represent the joining up of the new cycling and walking route as well as links with the wider national cycling infrastructure. It would also provide a new connection into Leeds where we are already developing new city centre infrastructure to complement the Leeds Bradford Cycle Superhighway.

“As a result of work between our CityConnect team and our district council partners, we have been able to create some of the UK’s best cycling infrastructure in West Yorkshire. The fact that people have used the Cycle Superhighway to make approaching ½ million trips since last summer shows that creating safe, segregated and attractive routes, backed up by training, is encouraging people to enjoy active travel.

“I am pleased that through the Scarborough Bridge scheme, we are now extending that valuable work into York and will be making wholesale improvements to a route already popular with cyclists and pedestrians.”

Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways at Wakefield Council, said: “This exciting project will provide people living between Wakefield and Castleford with additional opportunities to cycle and walk either for leisure or to commute to and from work.”

Scenic route

Cllr Ian Gillies, City of York Council’s executive member for transport and planning, said: “The Scarborough Bridge scheme will help to open up a great scenic route from the train station to the heart of the city for residents, visitors and commuters.
  
“The new bridge will be over double the width of the current crossing providing a far more comfortable crossing for the 2,600 pedestrians and 600 cyclists who use it daily. Ramps at either side will also help to make the route accessible for people in wheelchairs and pushing prams.”

An increase in usage has been reported on CityConnect schemes that have already been completed, such as the Leeds Bradford Cycle Superhighway and the resurfaced canal towpath between Kirkstall and Shipley. Well over 400,000 trips have been made on the Bradford Leeds Superhighway route since it opened in July 2016.

Under construction   

Further CityConnect schemes are under construction along Bradford’s Canal Road Corridor, the Leeds City Centre project and the route between Wakefield and Castleford. Improvements to the Airedale Greenway section of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, the Calder Hebble and Rochdale Canals in Calderdale, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Kirklees are all moving to construction phase.

As well as progressing these schemes, work continues to develop schemes in Huddersfield Town Centre and the route between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden along the Rochdale Canal including exploring opportunities for additional funding to support future delivery

Find out more about CityConect schemes (opens in new tab).

Friday’s Transport Committee meeting will also be asked to approve the development of a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, in line with the Government’s recommended approach. Using £86k funding awarded from the Department for Transport for that purpose will put the City Region in a stronger position to take advantage of future funding opportunities.

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