Leeds today: paper cranes, bus lane cameras, the Yorkshire flag and hacking.

Later on today we’ll have a special report about Create, but for now let’s take a look at what is in the news and blogs today.

The introduction of bus lane cameras starts today, reports the BBC. Drivers using the bus lane is “rife” and extremely frustrating to law-abiding commuters in cars, and dangerous to bicycling ones. The last two weeks have seen cameras in use and dummy notices posted to offenders, but from today a real £60 fine will be imposed. Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development, said:

“We have been warning motorists that this scheme is on the way for quite some time now. In an ideal world everyone would obey the law and we would have no need to do this, but our surveys show that abuse of bus lanes is rife and it therefore needs to be clamped down on to help keep the city moving. My message is that driving in bus lanes has long been illegal, you have been warned and you will no longer get away with it.”

The article notes that on one day 572 drivers were noted in a bus lane feeding the Armley Gyratory.

After being told it could win “the lion’s share” of infrastructure contracts for the Olympics, Yorkshire has in fact won £71m of the £6.1Bn, a little over 1% of the contracts. Forget the lion’s share, what happened to fairness? Most of the contracts – £4.3Bn – went to London and the South East, which makes this a slap in the face to the region. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) say that over 50,000 supply chain opportunities are available and that the direct contract figures are misleading, however Yorkshire has only picked up 200 of those.

Talking of the Olympics; well done to Alastair and Jonny Brownlee who won Gold and Bronze at the World Championship Series triathlon in Hyde Park (Yorkshire Post). Alastair celebrated his incredible victory by donning a White Rose flag to cross the finishing line (which he won’t be allowed to do next year – the IOC only allows national flags). Both brothers qualify for the Olympics now, which is great news for Yorkshire sport.

Morley town centre is doing quite well in terms of empty shops – just 9% of the retail outlets in Morley are vacant. However, the Morley Observer is saying that traders in the town are asking for more help from the government for small businesses as footfall decreases and the vibrancy in the town lessens. Because business rates are set by central government this fails to take into account local issues which can affect trade, and so Town Cllr Robert Finnigan is taking a resolution to LCC, hoping to get support for a couple of measures to help small businesses including local government to be given the power to set business rates.

The YEP reports that long-standing ice cream vendor Johnny Marrocco was “furious” when a clothes retailer started handing out free frozen treats very close to his van on Lands Lane. Top Shop were giving away promotional frozen yoghurt on Dortmund Square and Johnny – I’m pretty sure everybody has bought an ice cream from his van at one point over the years – was only given four days notice of the event. LCC had previously given Johnny an “undertaking” that no commercial groups could give away ice cream near to his site after an American ice cream company gave away free samples and damaged trade for that period, but an LCC spokesperson said:

“During the recession it is important that the council supports all retailers by encouraging greater footfall in the city centre and enhancing people’s experience. Promotions where free gifts are given away help do this.”

Personally speaking, frozen yoghurt is no substitute for ice cream.

As reported last week in BGL, The Culture Vulture has Mark O’Brien doing home tourist stuff. After his adventures in York and looking up abolitionist sites in Leeds, Mark has been a waiter at the Secret Tea Room and dressed up for Pride (and he looks good in a dress). Lynn’s take on the afternoon with Mark is also a good read, and contains a good note about courgette cake.

Exploring Leeds has spent 28 hours with some hackers. That’s hackers in the traditional sense, as in those forging a path through territory, creating applications in teams in a 24-hour period. A whole bunch of people spent the weekend making payment systems, charity pledge systems and a base-bones website creation tool. And wrapping each others tables in bubblewrap.

South Leeds Life has mashed up a Google Map showing some of the community groups in the area. I live there and had no idea about some of these guys. A really useful tool that can help people find the right group to talk to, and one that could be rolled out across the city.

Katie Leedsgrub takes a look at The Leeds Kirkgate Market Sunday Lunch In a Bag promotion. Organised by The Source this is a great idea where people can get the different components of their Sunday lunch from the market visiting different traders and picking up everything you need at a discount. I’d quite like to see Katie’s review of what’s available (hint).

Finally, to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings 1000 paper cranes will be folded in Park Square. This is the project of Kirsty Ware, who earlier in the year folded 1000 cranes to raise money for victims of the Japanese earthquake. If you’re free, do pop along at 10:30 or so to fold your own crane and give your two minutes of silence for those victims of the atomic bombings 66 years ago.

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One Response to Leeds today: paper cranes, bus lane cameras, the Yorkshire flag and hacking.

  1. Next time I am not on a night shift on Sat-Sun (i.e some time next November) I will get this featured on the blog….

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