Typical WMDC investment in cycling

Transport in Wakefield Metropolitan District, West Yorkshire, England

Transport around Wakefield is largely planned and implemented by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. I originally started this page stating "I struggle to think of a single measure they have taken in the last ten years regarding transport to significantly improve our society, but I will highlight some of the rubbish. Much of this criticism is levelled at the damage done to my home town, Pontefract". I suppose this is still basically true, but on my travels around Pontefract at the end of 2006 I discovered two paths which have been surfaced, at Atkins Lane and Denwell Terrace. Whoever was responsible - WELL DONE! The rest of this list I am catching up with, but it seems hard to keep pace, as by and large damage is done quicker than I record it.

It is difficult to quantify the frustration I feel. In general the officers and members at Wakefield are evasive. I don't know if they are bad people, but without doubt they conduct themselves terribly. I have been redoing some web pages and over ten years after I put a comprehensive and quantitative review of ALL WMDC cycle routes on the net, we still find that their is no semblance of anything but a piss-poor excuse for cycle maps, utilising every excuse they can to pretend they are doing something for cycling where in reality, since my involvement things have got steadily worse for cyclists and pedestrians.

About 5 years ago I stood at a meeting of 'Wakefield Cycle Forum' and stated I had better things to do with my time than pretend we were getting anywhere. I said I would return in five years to find out what has been done for cyclists in the Pontefract area. Back in the day, Sandy Clarke, the chair of the forum was a little disenchanted with WMDC, but not so much as to abandon some optimism that we could work with WMDC. Recently he wrote:

One of the most frustrating things for anyone campaigning for better infrastructure for cyclists in the Wakefield District is seeing new developments take place without proper provision for cyclist when, with only a little thought and very little expense, first class provisions could have been made. The Cycle Forum over the last few years has tried to intervene in planning applications to improve this situation with mixed, and generally disappointing, results. Even when we point out that our suggestions are in line with Council Strategy and Policy we are told that they cannot be incorporated into the plans. Even getting a simple thing like proper cycle parking can prove to be impossible.

The big problem, since the Council abandoned its ‘Healthy Transport Team’, is finding officers in the Council who have any sympathy for, or understanding of, the needs of cyclist. In the last couple of months, however, a glimmer of hope has appeared in the usually murky Council skies. A new officer has been appointed in the Highways department with a brief that includes examining planning applications from the transport perspective. At a recent meeting with this officer members of the Cycle Forum were gratified to discover a clear understanding of the needs of cyclists and a desire to ensure in future that these needs were represented in the planning process. As a result we can only hope that in future developers are forced to take sustainable transport seriously in developing their plans."

Now call me negative, but a cycling organisation that cites Wakefield Met (1990 - July 2010) as a partner is like a turkey giving Bernard Mathews a blow job.

Last Update 18th July 2010