Major changes are coming which will transform York city centre, a council expert says.
Some of these will be brought about or accelerated by the pandemic. Others are due to more local developments and technological breakthroughs.
But a vision set out for York in 2030 would see
- fewer cars in the city centre
- most traffic to be electrically powered
- office staff working from home a third of the time
- people doing most shopping and banking online
- more cycle lanes and cyclists.
This vision for York in nine years’ time is from Julian Ridge, City of York Council sustainable transport manager.
It comes as the council embarks on creating a new local transport plan, and Mr Ridge says: “In the immediate future, transport in York will enter into a period of great change.”
New modes of transport like e-scooters and e-bikes, new developments like York Central and the station area, and new ways of working will add to the transformation.
To get an idea about the changes, Mr Ridge asks councillors to “imagine it is
2030 and you are standing at the top of the Minster’s central tower”.
In a report to the executive member for transport, he says: “You can see the new offices in York Central and the houses built beyond Clifton Moor and at Langwith.
“Below you electric buses, bikes and scooters glide along the city’s roads. Most cars and vans are electric too, now.
“There is less traffic in the city centre because it now travels on the dualled outer ring road. The area in front of the station has been transformed into two large open squares.
“You can catch a train to Haxby, and the trains to Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London are faster and more frequent.
“Office workers work from home, or shared offices near their homes, one-third of the time.
“Most people do the majority of their shopping, banking and personal business
online. Many more people live in the centre of York. Castle car park is now an events space.”
There would be more cyclists, due to more cycle lanes, and fewer young people own a car or even learn to drive.
And self-drive cars and vans will be in use on motorways, but will still need to be driven in urban areas.
These are the issues the new Local Transport Plan will have to grapple with.
It will cover a 15-year period, although it will be reviewed after five years. The meeting takes place tomorrow (Tuesday).