You remember we were successful with the Cycle Cities Ambition Grant (CCAG)? Well whilst work continues on the plans for the main east-west superhighway, the first work to hit the ground will be on the canal. Anyone that cycles on the towpath from Leeds out to Shipley will know that whilst the ends are nice smooth tarmac the bit in the middle - about 16km - is in a poor state with a broken stoney surface, numerous pot holes, muddy pools and even an occasionally angry swan. You *can* ride this on a normal road bike, but let's be honest, it's not fun, and not a viable commute for those of us that might not want a hose down at the end.
As part of the CCAG bid, 1.6 million is being spend on resurfacing. This means tarmac or an equivalent hard-wearing surface - which means you'll be able to ride your road bike from Leeds to Salt's Mill and sip a coffee in their nice cafe without a pool of silty water forming on the floor beneath you :-)
The powers that be are very keen that the work is done and dusted before Le Tour so work is set to kick off in February and be finished by June. There is a lot to do so 6 gangs will be working away at once, and diversions and closures are inevitiable. Details will be posted here at some point.
As a campaign we are really happy with this much needed improvement to a key bit of infrastructure. We have though made a strong case against the use of barriers (those horrible A-frame things). For most of us these are a pain, for some they are discriminatory (think about a tandem, tricycle, pushchair, mobility scooter, wheelchair...). Unless there is a *very* good reason, backed up with solid evidence, we oppose their use. We understand that this viewpoint is shared by a majority of users and that barriers will not be used, and existing ones removed. This will go a long way to improving accessibility and usability for all.
So, fingers crossed, all will be done by the summer - a great start to what will be a brilliant year for cycling in Leeds :-)
(The consultation process is open until Jan 17th - read more and have your say here).