A Leeds Cycling Campaign member has lodged a complaint about the Council’s lack of public consultation on the plans for the ring road roundabouts at Rodley and Horsforth (reproduced below). A big thankyou to Nick Munton for writing and submitting the complaint!
The Council’s Executive Board approved the necessary expenditure to carry out “improvements” to these two roundabouts, which are intended to improve traffic flow, before any public consultation had taken place.
A consultation document was subsequently posted on the Council’s website, but was not otherwise advertised or brought to the attention of interested parties. I responded to the consultation on behalf of Leeds Cycling Campaign, complaining that the proposed plans made virtually no provision for cyclists, despite the fact that both roundabouts are on the routes of future cycle-superhighways, as identified in the Council’s own bid document for funding for what is now known as “City Connect”.
At the Cycle Consultation Forum meeting held on 9 April 2014, the Officer responsible for the implementation of the roundabout schemes addressed the meeting and explained that the plans being used were old plans that had been “on a shelf” for some years and agreed that they did not take account of cyclists in the way that would be done if the schemes were being designed today. He had no explanation as to why the Executive Board had approved the expenditure on the plans before any public consultation had been carried out.
One of my colleagues in Leeds Cycling Campaign prepared drawings to show how cycle lanes could be included in the designs without removing any traffic lanes, and how the designs could be improved generally, for both cyclists and pedestrians. These drawings showed that cycle lanes could be included simply by reducing the width of the lanes approaching the roundabouts to the minimum width that is already acceptable to the Council when designing the City Connect scheme. Those drawings were submitted to the Council shortly after the April meeting of the Cycle Consultation Forum.
We were informed that our suggestions for improving the designs would be considered, and we were expecting to have some constructive engagement with officers to discuss how the original designs could, at the very least, be improved.
We did not hear anything further from the Council until we were informed at the Cycle Consultation Forum on 16 July that our suggestions had been rejected and that construction was about to commence, using the original designs.
My complaint is therefore that the Council has not carried out any meaningful public consultation in relation to the works to the roundabouts on the ring road at Rodley and Horsforth. The Executive Board approved the necessary expenditure before any consultation had taken place. The consultation itself was not widely advertised, and our responses to the consultation have been ignored.
The result is that outdated designs for these roundabouts, that make very little provision for the safety or convenience of cyclists and pedestrians are about to be implemented. As noted above, both roundabouts are on the identified routes of future cycle superhighways. If those cycle superhighways are ever built, both roundabouts will need significant modifications to be made at great cost. In short, public funds are being squandered by implementing sub-standard designs now.
This is all particularly unfortunate when the City is trying to develop a legacy of the Tour de France and has ambitions to become the “Best City” and a “Child Friendly” city too. Implementing the outdated designs for these roundabouts is a retrograde step that makes a mockery of those ambitions.
I would like the redevelopment of these roundabouts to be put on hold whilst meaningful consultation with Leeds Cycling Campaign is carried out.
I understand that there is a perceived deadline for the construction of these roundabouts that is linked to the availability of Department for Transport “Pinch Point” funding. However, the Council has arrived at the present position by its own failing to consult early enough, and failing to review and update the old and outdated designs.
No attempt appears to have been made to negotiate any extension of the funding deadlines that could create the time to carry out a meaningful consultation and improve the designs.
Furthermore, I understand that the Thornbury gyratory in Bradford, which is on the City Connect route, is also being redeveloped with “Pinch Point” funding, but that that junction is being made cycle friendly as part of its redevelopment. If it can be done in Thornbury it can also be done in Rodley and Horsforth.