CLARIFICATION: City Square: Not a model of good practice

CLARIFICATION 20th Feburary 2014

Leeds City Council have now clarified they do not regard the whole of City Square as a model of good practice. Please see below:

"There has been no claim made that cycling arrangements in City Square are a model of good practice.    

However, a part of the arrangements at City Square that has been claimed that work satisfactorily is the arrangement where a cycle track requires cyclists to give way to pedestrians at pelican crossings. There are three such arrangements near City Square: at Wellington St near King Lane, at Wellington St by the entrance to the Northern Concourse and at City Square near the bottom of Park Row.  They have been in place for years now and there and have not been controversial once implemented.   

Unfortunately that narrow and specific point has been misunderstood and portrayed as a claim that the whole of City Square is a model of good practice for cycling. There are numerous difficulties for cyclists in City Square resulting from former policies and practices and the conflicting demands for space. These have only partly been remedied for cyclists by the arrangements that have been put in place in the area. 

I trust that this clarifies matters."

Original Post

City Square has recently been held up by Leeds City Council as a model of good practice. On the other hand, some cyclists have commented that City Square is a horrible botched compromise, completely non-functional in some directions, and with a good deal of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. The Infrastructure safari carried out as part of the 2013 CTC/cyclenation conference visited City Square, and the experienced cycle campaigners there were decidedly unimpressed. One described it as "a bit of a mess with what is basically a motor flow imperative being sprinkled with walking and cycling token gestures." Leeds City Council say there have been no complaints, no collisions, and it works as far as they are concerned.

What's your experience of City Square? A safe haven for cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of a vibrant city centre? Or a muddle of people on bikes and on foot forced to the sides by two, three, or four lanes of vehicles? Is it appropriate for Leeds to be basing their idea of "High Quality Dutch Style infrastructure" (such as we were promised on Cookridge Street) on this model?

If you have any comment to make about City Square and its suitability as a model for cycle infrastructure in Leeds, please contact your local Councillor with your views - you can find your Councillors here, and please also copy in Gary Bartlett, Head of the Highways Department at Leeds - gary.bartlett <at> leeds.gov.uk  It would be lovely if you could copy us in too, contact <at> leedscyclingcampaign.co.uk

Thanks and Happy Cycling!