Ambitions for Leeds to become the UK cycling capital has moved up a gear, as a summit for transport leaders put together a masterplan.
Transport chiefs from around the world gathered in Leeds yesterday, at the start of a two-day conference on cycling: The Cycling Networks Fit for Growth.
They met at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where transport minister Robert Goodwill toured the city centre on a bike and gave a talk about cycling safely and infrastructure to transport leaders, including Jon Orcott, of the New York City Department of Transport, and Tina Giannopoulou, a city transport manager from Malmo, Sweden.
He said: “Although we are at an early stage of our overall strategy to make cities more cycling friendly, we have a number of very good plans in place. Not only is it better for the environment, it is good for health.”
Ambitious plans to create a £30m ‘super cycleway’ across Leeds got the go-ahead from the Government in August.
The segregated 14-mile route will run from east Leeds right over to the western edge of the city before continuing into the centre of Bradford.
The Department for Transport has agreed to pump £18m into the scheme, with a further £11.2m coming from local sources. It is hoped the cycleway will be up and running by March 2015.
Civic leaders have hailed the go-ahead for the project as a significant boost for Yorkshire’s efforts to make the most of its role staging the opening of next year’s Tour de France cycle race.
Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield said: “With the worldwide focus which will come from hosting the Grand Depart, these plans will help ensure a lasting legacy for many years to come.”
The minister met representatives of cycle and walking campaign group Living Streets on a tour of city streets and spoke at an event organised by the Department for Transport.