As reported in the ‘Telegraph and Argus’ on 30th January 2018, numerous plots of land could well be compulsorily-purchased by Bradford Council, to facilitate a much-enlarged traffic intersection at the junction of New Line, Leeds Road and Harrogate Road in Greengates (A657 and A658).
This has been a serious bottleneck in north Bradford for many years, and the Council are keen to free up traffic flow. The A658 is the primary route from Bradford to the airport which, from a strategic point of view, is of key importance to businesses and the local economy. The A657 is the main route from Airedale to Leeds and, likewise needs to be freed up.
An original plan, which was presented to the cycling community via Tom Jones (helpful transport planner who has recently left the Council), was very thin on cycling facilities. Tom arranged a B-Spoke meeting with officers and engineers at City Hall on 25th January 2016. The draft plan came under detailed scrutiny by cyclists, and there was great concern that even basic facilities had been omitted. This meeting was followed up by a site visit on 13th May 2016 which involved Tom, one of his colleagues, and four cyclists representing both B-Spoke and the campaign.
The site visit took up half a morning, and included an in-depth walk about the immediate area in order to establish all the local factors that needed to be taken into account including potential new housing; routes to school; nearby snickets; access to and from the Sainsbury’s supermarket, and so on.
Requests were made to include cycle lanes and Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), and these are now included in the plan. More radical ideas such as giving cyclists their own, dedicated segregated routes and traffic signals, had also been suggested, but these were turned down. What is presented here is therefore a compromise: far better than was originally proposed, but falling short of what many cyclists would have liked. But thanks to Tom Jones, B-Spoke and input from the campaign, the plan is much better than it would otherwise have been.
This is very much a case of needing to change values and attitudes by professional planners and politicians in the long-term. Public attitudes need to change too, but it all takes time. There should be potential here for better schemes in the future, in accordance with the (more recently published) Bradford Cycle Strategy which envisages a proper network to get more people on their bikes and out of their cars. In addition to being important for access to the airport, this part of Bradford is a key area for access to the National Cycle Network route 66 (Aire Valley Towpath Route). Hopefully there also will be opportunities to create traffic-free access to Apperley Bridge Station, when funding becomes available. The scheme is a compromise; the Council remain set on freeing up motor traffic by using well-established traffic planning and engineering models, but in the meantime, the campaign will continue to work to help develop more ambitious ideas and proposals to tackle congestion and pollution which should, in time and with changing attitudes, become easier to deliver.
James Craig -Secretary, Bradford Cycling Campaign