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News article created on 6 February 2013

Leeds commuters set to benefit from better towpaths

Work to improve canal towpaths in Leeds to provide a green, traffic-free route into the city is due to start shortly.

With the planned improvements to Leeds railway station this towpath could play an important role in the city’s sustainable transport plans. Stephen Higham

The improvements to the towpath include widening it to over 3km and levelling it out to ensure its suitability for walkers and cyclists heading to work or the city centre's shops.

The current towpath surface is uneven and can be prone to puddling in wet weather. The improvement works will see the towpath levelled, made wider and resurfaced with tarmac making it ideal for people wanting to walk or cycle into the city all year round.

Two busy areas

The £465,000 project will focus on two busy areas on the city’s canals. The first phase will cover the length of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Armley and Granary Wharf and a second phase, currently under consideration, will focus on the Aire & Calder Navigation between the Royal Armouries and Goodman Street. The project will further improve the city’s canal towpaths after a similar project was carried out two years ago along the towpath between Kirkstall Brewery Halls of Residence at Bridge Road and Canal Road in Armley.

The scheme has been awarded a grant of £350,000 from Sustrans, the national cycling charity, with the remaining funding being provided by Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan.

The works on the Leeds & Liverpool canal began on Monday 28th January and will last for approximately eight weeks with the proposed Aire & Calder works anticipated to start shortly after. During the works notices will be erected to remind cyclists of the need to be considerate, give pedestrians priority and to use their bells.

Traffic-free route

Stephen Higham, enterprise manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “This stretch of the towpath is already well used as it provides a traffic-free route into the heart of Leeds but these improvement works will make it an even more popular choice for people wanting a safer, more relaxing route into the city.

“With the planned improvements to Leeds railway station this towpath could play an important role in the city’s sustainable transport plans. The wider, more evenly surfaced path will give people the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s roads and get closer to nature as they head into work or the shops.”