PEDESTRIANISING Hall Ings, creating a new park and ride in South Bradford and building new cycle routes are all part of a £500m bid to “transform” cities in West Yorkshire.

Improved links between Bradford’s two major rail stations and new bus lanes are also included in the Transforming Cities Fund bid to the government.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has submitted a bid to the government for almost £500 million to improve city centres and transport routes.

The Authority has developed the bid in partnership with district partners, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, North Yorkshire, Selby, Wakefield and York councils.

The Government is expected to decide on the grant by March. If West Yorkshire does recieve funding, it could either be the full funding requested (£480.49m), “core” funding (£406.28m) or a lower level of funding (£292.17m).

The scale of works will depend on the level of funding received.

Many of the schemes aim to get people out of cars and either using public transport or walking/cycling.

In Bradford the main schemes will be

- the reconfiguration of Hall Ings to remove traffic

- a new cycling/walking route between Bradford Forster Square Station and Bradford Interchange

- demolition of the Hall Ings car park to create a new entrance way to Bradford Interchange

- the creation of dedicated bus priority areas in the City Centre with removal of some traffic to improve air quality

- Work to improve bus, pedestrian and cycle facilities between Dewsbury and Bradford

- the creation of a new entrance to Bradford Interchange

- a bus based park and ride facility in South Bradford, near the M606 with 500 car capacity, electric bus charging points and electric vehicle charging points

- reconfiguration and widening of bus lanes along Manchester Road

- improved cycle infrastructure along Manchester Road

The bid will also include a new Cityconnect segregated cycle route from Bradford city centre to the West of the city.

The scope of that scheme will depend on the amount of funding in any successful bid. If the Authority is giving the core funding, then £3m will be spent on creating a new route from the city centre, through Thornton Road, to the outer ring road.

If the full amount of funding is provided then £17.5m would be spent to create a 7.3km cycle super highway from the city centre to Queensbury.

Of all the Bradford schemes, the plan to pedestrianise Hall Ings is likely to be the most eye catching.

The bid says: “Bradford currently suffers with significant air quality issues, car dominance and poor multimodal interchange provision. This package of measures aims to transform access to and within the city centre through enhanced walking and cycling provision and greater provision for bus priority, encouraging modal shift and improving air quality.

“By providing for active and sustainable travel across the city centre, we will reduce severance and improve wayfinding between the transport hubs as well as other key destinations. This will also draw buses out of the core city centre which will help to create a safer, more pleasant environment.

“The scheme builds on the award-winning City Park Public Realm Scheme which successfully increased pedestrian activities/footfall and reduced vehicle traffic within the city centre. It will contribute towards achieving Bradford’s Clean Air Plan targets, improving air quality in the city centre and creating a healthier, more liveable environment.”

Numerous letters of support from different groups are included in the bid - including one from Bradford Cycling Campaign. It says: “The existence of our campaign is necessitated by the fact there are a number of barriers to cycling being a normal, everyday activity in our region, most notably areas which don’t benefit from an integrated and pleasant walking and cycling network.

“Fear of traffic, not hills or weather is by far the most often noted barrier as to why people don’t cycle more and as to why parents don’t let their kids cycle to school. Substantial investment in high quality cycling infrastructure in this region will be a game-changer and we’re confident it will offer a good return on investment on numerous levels, including public health, air quality and improved traffic flow.”

Works in other parts of West Yorkshire include new cycling and walking routes through Brighouse town centre, a new bus hub at Heckmondwike and a 700 space cycle parking facility at Leeds Rail Station.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council said: “Through this ambitious City Region Transforming Cities Fund bid we are setting out how we plan to improve people’s access to employment, education and training and our businesses’ ability to grow, invest with access to a valuable and skilled local workforce.

“Crucially, it addresses the challenges currently experienced by our most disadvantaged communities where people are cut off from opportunities because they don’t have access to affordable and sustainable travel.

“This bid will provide local people with a real alternative to travelling by car, enabling them to make sustainable journeys that are better for their physical and mental wellbeing and our environment and it will enable us to reshape our town and city centres by putting people at their heart.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “These plans have been developed to further increase the pace of regeneration in the city, helping us to secure more jobs and new homes for local people. They are also a crucial part of our commitments to tackle air quality and meet our climate change targets. It is now important that we share our proposals with the people of Bradford and the district to get their views as this bid is designed to deliver for everyone. That’s why we’ll be consulting with our communities in the new year to test and refine our plans ahead of our final plan submission in the spring.”