Coppergate to go one-way, bus-only streets and cyclist priority on bridges – New vision for York transport

More cycling should be encouraged. Photograph: YorkMix
2 Jun 2020 @ 7.45 am
| Transport

A new vision for York’s transport system has been drawn up, with the aim of getting the city moving again post-Covid.

The government has made £250 million available, challenging councils to “deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities” – and York has been awarded York £867,000 from the Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Now the York Civic Trust and York Cycle Campaign have teamed up to rise to that challenge.

They have set out a blueprint they hope could help York to avoid gridlock.

More people are coming out of lockdown, and there’s a reluctance to use the limited public transport available.

The new vision aims to prevent major congestion and air pollution, and support York’s recovery from the pandemic by enabling safe travel across the city.

The key points

A bus on Ouse Bridge. Photograph: YorkMix

The trust and cycle campaign are urging the council to use its government cash to introduce a series of changes to the city’s transport network that will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Their proposals include:

  • innovative schemes to give cyclists priority at Lendal and Skeldergate Bridges
  • improved crossing facilities on the Inner Ring Road to avoid pedestrians having to cluster at traffic lights;
  • a bus-only section on Gillygate, where social distancing is particularly difficult
  • widening pavements at many locations in the city centre and on the approaches, using decking rather than cones where people congregate
  • park and cycle facilities at all six park and ride sites, with high quality cycle routes to the city centre
  • improvements to the orbital cycle route and new links from the villages
  • improvements to the cycle route from Micklegate Bar to Stonebow, including a bus-only section across Ouse Bridge and one way traffic in Coppergate.

‘Residents want change’

Families cycling in York in May. Photograph: Kate Ravilious

Professor Tony May, chair of York Civic Trust’s Transport Advisory Group, said: “If we can reallocate road space to allow as many people as possible to access York safely, this in turn will support the recovery of business and tourism. 

“We have called upon the voluntary contributions of many experts to help develop this programme.”

He accepted the plan “will require significant initial investment and continued resources for maintenance and enforcement, and will in parts be controversial”.

But he said: “It is essential that York adopts a visionary programme of this kind if it is to be successful in responding to the government’s challenge.”

Kate Ravilious, of York Cycle Campaign, said: “We’d like everyone to be involved and have established a Commonplace interactive map for residents to suggest where space for walking and cycling is needed.

“Meanwhile, we’d like to see the council keep people safe and address priority locations immediately.

“Our petition, which asks the council to make space for walking and cycling during the Covid crisis, now has over 2,000 signatures, demonstrating that residents want to see this change.”  

You can read the full report here.