So the Trolleybus is off the agenda, but what is next?
Well the good news is that Leeds looks like it will be able to keep the central government contribution of £173 million, with the stipulation that this is to be spent on public transport projects within the city. There is nothing to say that cycling cannot form part of this, and could clearly be a quick, low cost solution to some of Leeds' immediate problems.
The key themes of the initial transport summit were summarised by Cllr. Judith Blake as follows
Key emerging summit themes
We need to improve the ease of use of the public transport system for everyone in Leeds – better connectivity, reliability and the use of technology will be key to this.
We need to deliver significant public transport investment in Leeds in the short term - the role of the bus network will be an essential element of this.
We need to gain consensus on our more ambitious medium to long term plans, bringing forward a deliverable solution that has the support of the city. The future vision for the city centre, including public space and the effective allocation of road space, are key issues for Leeds.
It is pleasing to see that effective allocation of road space is mentioned, although it is concerning to see that cycling and walking is omitted.
The next step is a survey where the city council are canvassing views from residents across the city this can be accessed at this link: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/TransportConversationSurvey (Deadline 11th November)
It is a general survey that asks about current transport habits, and what your ideal choice of transport would be. Then asks for your views on Leeds City Centre and local neighborhood, including whether there are too many cars, whether you feel comfortable cycling in it, and whether it is pedestrian friendly. Most of the survey is closed questions, meaning it is quick to complete, however there is a space for further comments on some questions.
Q1 - Q11 All personal choices and rather easy to spot the ones that support cycling and walking.
The last statement in Q10 is interesting:
The purchase of land and property to deliver transport improvements on narrow key transport routes should be considered.
One could argue that if road space was effectively reallocated to cycling, walking and public transport, compulsory purchase of land may not be necessary.
Q12 The statement:
Schemes to reduce congestion at busy junctions
Treat with caution! Reducing congestion, generally means huge junctions that increase the flow of traffic. This is usually at the detriment of other modes of transport.
There is also an open option at the end where you can list some of your priorities, you may wish to consider the following points:
- Cycling and walking should become the default choice for short journeys (less than 3 miles).
- Residential areas need effective filtering of through traffic. This can be achieved quickly and cheaply through effective use of bollards. This not only results in areas becoming cycling and walking friendly, they also become nicer places to live.
- An effective public bike share system could facilitate short cycling trips, and solve many of the problems linked with bike ownership (storage, maintenance).
- Main routes (30mph and above) require protected cycling spaces away from motor traffic. The quickest and cheapest way to do this is through reallocation of existing road space.
- Longer journeys need to be catered for both in terms of cycle routes and an effective public transport system.
- The ultimate aim should be that residents can live comfortably in Leeds without the need to own a car.
Q13 It is unlikely that we will ever achieve mass cycling without a complimentary mass transit system, so that always must be the aim in the long term. However, in the short term we could achieve much using smaller scale projects with a focus on cycling and walking. Many cycling and walking schemes are quick and relatively cheap to implement and offer not only transport benefits, but health, pollution, and well-being benefits too.
These are just my suggestions, if you think you have a good response, please email it to us using firstname.lastname@example.org and I can add them into the article.