A colleagues from Leeds Cycle Campaign went along to a meeting about the possible installation of a cycle path alongside the HS2 line.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned a Feasibility Study into potential demand for cycling in communities along a route that broadly follows the HS2 corridor. The study will examine how we might create a new national cycleway, by linking or upgrading existing cycle infrastructure or rights of way from London to Birmingham and then onto Sheffield and Leeds, Stafford, Stoke and Manchester.
The Feasibility Study is being carried out by Royal Haskoning DVH (a Dutch consultancy) in conjunction with Phil Jones and John Grimshaw (the founder of Sustrans), both of whom were at the meeting.
The primary objective of a linear cycleway would be to provide a national exemplar of modern and international cycling infrastructure fit for 8 to 80 year olds and bringing benefits to local communities along the route to serve both leisure and utility cyclists and walkers by providing safe, convenient, attractive and continuous links to local stations, urban centres, countryside and tourist attractions typically, but not exclusively, within 3 miles either side of the HS2 route.
The primary purpose of the meeting, which was attended mainly by highways and planning officers from the local authorities on the route through Yorkshire, was for the study team to get a very quick introduction to the existing routes, the problems on those routes, and other desirable routes, some of which would need major infrastructure (such as bridges over motorways) to enable them. We also discussed how such a project should be funded and managed.
The consultants will produce a design guide (which could be a very useful reference for other cycling infrastructure projects), and will report back to the DfT in the autumn. It then “only” needs the DfT to provide the funding, and agreement on a body to manage its construction (and possibly maintenance). It’s hoped the cycleway could be built over a period of ten years – i.e. it could be on the ground long before the HS2 railway!
Full Briefing note below