Local residents are expressing disappointment and concern over the lack of suitable diversion routes provided during the nine-month closure of the Birkby Bradley Greenway in Kirklees, an important traffic free route for cyclists in the area. Locals and other users who we spoke to are worried about the impact this closure will have on their daily routines and ability to cycle through the area.
Cycle Kirklees member, Andrew Dunlop, took a ride along the route this morning to assess the situation and has reported that the marked diversion route for pedestrians is not suitable for cyclists. There are reports of closure signs without any diversion signs, leaving pedestrians and cyclists unsure of where to go. This reflects a cultural issue in Kirklees where provision for cyclists is often an afterthought, or in this case not thought of at.
The pedestrian diversion route takes users down Peace Pit Lane and then along Leeds Road, using only painted lines without assistance to cross to the far side of the road when going westbound. This route is unsuitable for cyclists and other users and presents a significant safety risk.
Our members feel that Kirklees Council should have requested a small portion of the TransPennine upgrade budget to surface the canal as a diversion route, which would have long-term benefits after the closure. Alternatively, a temporary or permanent segregated cycle route next to Leeds Road could have been set up to alleviate the impact of the closure.
Furthermore, those who attempt to take the Cherry Nook Road route towards Huddersfield are greeted with an unpaved gravel path, which is unsuitable for cyclists in its current state.
Cycle Kirklees Chair, Chas Ball said: “We strongly support the Transpennine Route Upgrade and recognise the need for the closure but the absence of alternative routes for cyclists and poor information about diversions is unacceptable at a time when we need to encourage a shift to walking cycling and public transport”.
Cycle Kirklees hope that Kirklees Council will take swift action to address these concerns and provide a safe and suitable diversion route for all users during the Greenway closure, and reflect to ensure that impacts of Greenway closures on cyclists of similar closures are carefully considered going forward.