Tour de France: a Legacy for Leeds

Last week, Leeds City Council's Executive Board endorsed a document "Cycling Starts Here" outlining plans for the legacy. You can read the whole document here or see our brief highlight summary below!

Introduction

"In summarising these various headline statistics in Leeds it is fair to conclude that our cycling baseline is low by the best national and international standards, but is on a similar footing to the majority of core cities outside London. In the last ten years cycle commuting has grown by half but it is still less than 2% of all journeys, which although not dissimilar to many other cities, in the UK compares unfavourably to the best cities in Europe, for example Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Berlin where there has been long standing investment in the infrastructure and a cycling culture. Consultation has already identified concerns about the safety of cycling in the city and the perception that cycling is a niche pursuit rather than a mainstream activity which will clearly present challenges for bringing about step change."

Nice to see a bit of realism for a change.

"Local 20mph speed limit coverage to include all schools and enhance connectivity to the cycle network."

On West Yorkshire LTP: "A demanding target of managing future traffic levels has been adopted within which public transport, cycling and walking will play a much more significant role."

"Looking ahead we want to:

  • Develop our proposals for completing the cycle network and integrating further cycle “superhighways” into the network, with the funding bids in place through the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the city region for further projects.
  • Continue to develop new and innovative ways of improving the safety and confidence of cyclists.
  • Seek to connect our parks into the cycle network and develop safe places in our parks to cycle.
  • Make dedicated cycle spaces for beginners and experienced cyclist to train in safe environments. We will therefore seek to develop up to 2 closed circuit cycle ways, with one at least 3km long.
  • Focus on continuing to improve road safety to lower the injury rate and reduce the risk of injury to cyclists"

Mainly good stuff, though somewhat unambitious use of "up to two" ("none or more"?) and we shouldn't think of a cycle network as ever being "complete".

Aha! Targets!

  • Proportion of adults cycling at least monthly for recreation to be at least five percentage points higher in 2023 than the 2011 baseline, with an interim target of at least three percentage points by 2018
  • Number of trips made by bicycle in each local authority area to be at least 20% greater in 2023 than a 2012 baseline, with an interim target of at least 12% greater by 2018.
  • At least one-third of all cycling activity (for utility, leisure and for sport) to be by women by 2023.
  • For cycle sport to achieve at least the following increases in numbers in the region by 2018 compared to the 2012 baseline: of competitive events,
  • 3% increase from a baseline of 232 events; of non-competitive events, 10% increase from a baseline of 9 events
  • For the annual rate of cyclist casualties in the Yorkshire and Humber region to be below the national rate for England for the next 10 years.

 

Funding

"With the commitments now being made to City Connect and previous investment over the last ten years by 2015 capital investment in the cycle network will be nearly £30 million. Looking forward the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group in report last year suggested a figure of at least £10 per head per annum (i.e. c£7.5 million p.a. in Leeds) as appropriate for the long term development of local cycling plans and this figure has also been endorsed by British Cycling. At present with City Connect coming on-stream Leeds will begin to approach this figure. Looking to the long term therefore, whilst City Connect is a one-off, investment will be needed for the long term. Sustaining and increasing present levels of funding will be an ongoing challenge for the city and its partners. Looking to London and elsewhere in Europe - for example Denmark - a 20 year investment strategy would not be unreasonable for creating cycle networks capable of attracting 5% or more journeys by cycle. There will also be the challenge of supporting a sporting and recreational legacy which remains similarly unquantified."

There is an error in the paragraph quoted above. The APPCG suggested £10 per head per annum *rising to £20 per head*, so a long term ambition of £10 has halved the ambition before we even start! Hopefully, we can point out the error at the first meeting of the Programme Board.

Executive Board is asked to:

a. Endorse the five key objectives of the Cycle Yorkshire strategy

b. Support the legacy committments as described at table 1.

c. Agree to the setting up and resourcing of a ‘Cycling Starts Here’ Programme Board to include city partners, with Leeds City Council taking the strategic lead.

d. Note the range of Directorates and external partners who have a direct and indirect interest.

e. Support the development of a holistic Cycling Strategy for Leeds.

f. Request the Director of City Development to develop plans to resource the transformation of cycling in Leeds through the future budget setting process.

Happily, Executive Board resolved to do all of these things!

This plan seems to be as good as we could expect - recognition of the low starting point, targets (ok not as ambitious as we would like, but targets is a step forwards!) asking the Exec to approve more resources, and a joint programme board which would likely include us.