YEP Letters: February 17

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I AM responding to the invitation issued by “CityConnect” for views on the proposed 14 miles of “Super Cycleway”, linking East Leeds via city centre to Bradford along the A65 and A647 corridor.

As a keen ex-club cyclist covering up to 8,000 miles annually, I initially welcomed the concept, but was sceptical of the claimed benefits achieving a broader spectrum of bikers, from shoppers to commuters to leisure users.

These claims did not accord with my own experience of cycling over six decades, and the assumption that a dedicated cycleway would encourage a flood of work-bound bikers simply did not equate with credible forecast techniques.

Indeed, my disbelief was such that I undertook a bike-commuter census over the rush hour periods on two mornings and evenings over two sites on the East Leeds-Bradford route, and here are the results.

Friday, February 7 on the A65 at Torre Road Flyover. Between 8.06 and 9.03am bikers inbound – 7. Bikers outbound – 1. Between 16.58 and 18.04pm bikers outbound – 13. Bikers inbound – 4.

Wednesday February 12 on the A647 at Wellington Bridge. Between 8.01 and 9.09am bikers inbound – 21. Bikers outbound – 19. Between 16.56pm and 18.09pm bikers outbound – 14. Bikers inbound – 14.

Note the census locations are at places where traffic from several roads have already fed into the nominated major routes, and therefore generously flatter the overall results. It was also recorded that 95% of the bike users were male, estimated ages – 20-30.

With the best will in the world I would like to predict that motorists and public vehicle users could be enticed in their thousands to use this cycleway. But achieving such spectacular growth is beyond any realistic estimate, and leads to the conclusion that yet another £30m of public funds is being squandered in pursuit of hopelessly impossible bureaucratic aspirations, justified by unacceptable statistical research. Do these people not realise that factors such as the hills surrounding Leeds and Bradford discourage everyone but the young, fit enthusiast? That unpredictable weather – hot or cold, wet windy or frosty – creates danger and discomfort, and is no civilised way to arrive at destinations?

And finally, how many of Leeds’s 99 councillors pedal to meetings at the Civic Hall?

Vernon Wood, by email

Honour to meet the Ziffs

THE PHOTO on your business page (YEP, February 11) of Arnold Ziff and his son Edward brought back some great memories.

I was the tower crane driver on that section of the Merrion Centre. It was the time of the “topping out ceremony” and Mr Ziff and Edward were the last people to put in place the concrete to finish the structure off.

There was a big party on the roof afterwards and I rushed down the crane to go up the passenger hoist (lift) to the roof as I did not want to miss the party. As I was stepping off the passenger lift on to the roof, Edward and his mum were waiting to get on board. Edward asked me if I was the crane driver and if I got danger money.

I replied that I did not and his mother, smiling, said they would have to look into it.

It was of course, the end of the job so I did not benefit from our conversation financially but it was a great honour to meet them both, what a bonus.

A short time after, I met Mr Ziff who shook my hand and thanked me for bringing the concrete to him so he and Edward could fill the last small hole in.

I wonder if Edward remembers this time – he was only young of course.

It took approximately two years to build this phase of the centre.

K E Coates, Westbourne Crescent, Garforth

Tory promises turned to lies

REGARDING THE email from B Duffy, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne etc are always on holiday when anything crops up.

I hope B Duffy doesn’t believe the Tories are for the working man or woman. They have not got the borrowing down but made it bigger. By trying to improve the debt/borrowing they have hit the elderly, NHS, police, Armed Forces and the working class.

If anybody needs a guide dog it’s Cameron and his crew. They got into the Government by going on TV and promising to save everything they are now destroying before our eyes. They lied then and are still doing it.

Take your Tory blue glasses off Mr or Mrs Duffy. Your comments are like Ed Balls’ surname – that’s what the Tories are doing to this country.

C W A, Farsley

Flood victims want action

I’d just like to comment on the poor people in the flood areas in the Somerset Levels and the Government are dragging their feet.

It’s two days that the Prime Minister has been having meetings, it’s not meetings we want, it’s action. There are thousands of troops based in this country, they want moving and helping these people. It really is an utter disgrace. I feel really, really sorry for these people, they must be compensated.

The Government needs to think about next May. Down in the South West I would think is a Tory heartland, let’s see what happens from the people that haven’t had any help.

Terry Watkinson, King Edward Avenue, Allerton Bywater

Lauding jobless weed smoker

I was watching Jeremy Kyle the other morning. He says to the people, “We have got a bloke coming out now who has not had a job for 20 years, stays at home all day smoking weed and lives on state benefits – will you give a round of applause for Josh.”

Get a grip, Jeremy.

Francis Lennon, Heath Croft Estate, Leeds

Debt-ridden council’s art loan

IT WAS reported in March 2012 in the Yorkshire Evening Post that Leeds City Council’s debts stand at £1.6bn.

So I was rather surprised when it was revealed this week that Leeds City Council has come to the aid of Leeds’s new contemporary art space “The Tetley” with a £190,000 loan to help it with the costs of refurbishment of the old brewery HQ. I know that people are starting to spend their money and there is some growth, but surely the council should put its efforts and resources into essential services, not try and compete with the banks. Or perhaps our council have paid off all their debts?

Nigel Bywater, Oak Grove, Morley

Tunnel vision is a good idea

JAMES BOVINGTON’S idea of using a redundant tunnelling machine from London’s Crossrail system to create an underground system in Leeds is a good one.

A similar idea was considered by West Yorkshire Passenger Transport (METRO) in the late 1980s/early 1990s before insanity set in. The idea then was to hire/buy the tunnelling machine being used for the Channel Tunnel. Sadly that machine never emerged from the tunnel and is buried somewhere under the English Channel.

The underground system described by Mr Bovington could be incorporated into a larger Tram-Train system using the existing local railway network with light rail links added to it.

Then, if Network Rail cannot be persuaded to replace the link line to Wetherby, a light rail link could be constructed. Similarly there could be a light rail link to Leeds/Bradford Airport from the Harrogate line, another from Menston to Otley, etc.

Martin J Phillips, Tinshill Lane, Cookridge

YEP Letters: February 19