Inspiring Infrastructure: Crossflatts Primary School, Bingley

25 February 2015

An inspiring example of how relatively small scale infrastructure improvements can bring significant benefits when delivered in conjunction with behaviour change programmes.

The infrastructure

In 2004 Sustrans delivered one of its first DfT funded National Cycle Network links to schools schemes in Crossflatts, near Bingley in West Yorkshire.

The approximately £150k scheme involved resurfacing a section of canal towpath on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, and building a new ramp from the canal down onto a new link path across the school field and directly into the playground.

None of this was technically difficult however, the results were inspirational. When the path opened the numbers of pupils cycling went up from 4 to 40 overnight, a result so remarkable at the time that it made the Independent Newspaper on 18 November 2004.

The benefits

The secret of this success was not the quality of the design or build, but that the work was done as part of the implementation of a school travel plan. The school also joined Sustrans’ pilot Bike It scheme which brought behaviour change programmes directly into the classroom.

Ten years later the school is still working with Sustrans on encouraging pupils to walk and cycle to school. Today there is cycle parking for 100 bikes which is often full.

For a primary school of approximately 400 pupils this is encouraging. Last summer (2014) a third of pupils were cycling regularly to school, and an impressive 10% continued through the wet winter. During the Big Pedal week in 2014 29% of the school cycled or scooted every day.

Sustrans schools officer Emily Groves adds:

“Crossflatts was the first school I encouraged to buy balance bikes for the younger children to use. As a result, the majority of children are now riding a bike without stabilisers by the age of five.

The school community is very supportive and last year the Parent Teacher Association paid for a pump track and a perimeter cycle track for the children to use during lunchtime. And, fantastically, a BMX coach has been hired to do cycle coaching as part of PE lessons!”

This holistic approach to infrastructure and behaviour change work has brought lots of unforeseen benefits; the road outside the school has been traffic calmed, the school installed a shower in the staff toilets to support the 4 or 5 teachers who were regularly cycling.

The school has also noticed an increase in the number of dads bringing their children to school. Some of these dads cycle in with their children, leave all their bikes at school and then go on to catch a commuter train to Leeds or Bradford.

For further information on the project, please contact Dave Stevens.