I AM sure all cyclists, and ‘want-to-be’ cyclists, will welcome your report last week suggesting that Wakefield Council was adopting a new cycle friendly approach to planning and transport policy. ‘It is about time’ will be the next reaction.
It is not that the council has not had a good Cycle Strategy in the past it is just that those officers tasked with carrying out the strategy are either unaware of its aims and objectives or just do not care about putting it into practice.
For years now council policy has been to build advance stop lines and cycle lanes into all new and renewal road schemes but there are numerous examples throughout the district where this policy has not been implemented.
In the Wakefield District we have a great opportunity to develop traffic-free routes using paths along our waterways. It is possible to have such a route linking Castleford to Wakefield and then on to Dewsbury but the little progress that has been made on this project is thanks to British Waterways not Wakefield Council.
Let us hope that new council thinking will recognise the importance of this potential route and see them make the effort to have it completed.
Past experience, therefore, tells us that the council’s fine words about developing a cycle friendly environment have not been followed up in its practice.
It requires a political will to develop and implement the bold strategy which this new document promises but unless those who are charged with making the strategy happen have a practical understanding of its importance words will not be converted into action.
Let us hope that past experience will indeed be a thing of the past and that we are entering a new era in Wakefield Councils approach to sustainable transport.
Wakefield District Cycle Forum