How can York cut the traffic jams and air pollution? Here’s how, says transport forum

One of the signs that popped up in the Groves for the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Photographs: Richard McDougall
7 Jan 2021 @ 8.59 am
| News

During lockdown, York has benefited from reduced traffic, noise and pollution – but what more can be done to tackle York’s most serious transport problems long-term?

The 40-strong York’s Citizens’ Transport Forum has laid out recommendations to City of York Council for the new Local Transport Plan.

“Members would like to regain the benefits of reduced traffic, noise and pollution achieved during the initial lockdown,” a spokesperson said.

“They want to see streets treated first and foremost as places where people live.”

Increases in working from home and in online shopping are here to stay, says the forum – but unless action is taken the most serious transport problems in York will continue to be congestion, air pollution and impacts on climate change.

The forum supports council measures to extend the footstreets and footstreet hours, and the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the Groves.

Safe walking

Photograph: Luke Porter on Unsplash

They want more emphasis on walking. “Measures to support walking should include stopping vehicles parking on pavements, providing more time for pedestrians to cross at traffic lights and encouraging more children to walk safely to school.”

The Forum members recommendations for York’s new Local Transport Plan:

  • Ensure that York’s transport system is more efficient and less polluting, enhances safety, public health and equality of access, and supports the recovery of York’s economy.
  • Improve public transport, walking and cycling and achieve a reduction in car travel.
  • More emphasis on walking – measures should include stopping vehicles parking on pavements, providing more time for pedestrians to cross at traffic lights and encouraging more children to walk safely to school.

The spokesperson said: “Forum members recognised that some measures generated antagonism, which tended to come from a vocal minority, sometimes reinforced by the media. Some measures were not fully thought through.

“They recommended that the council consult people at an early stage when alternatives are being considered, introduce schemes experimentally and monitor and evaluate them.”

The Citizens’ Transport Forum was established by York Civic Trust, York Bus Forum and York Environment Forum to achieve consensus-building by enabling members of the public to be directly involved in developing York’s next Local Transport Plan.

To read the Forum’s February 2020 and December 2020 report to the Council please visit the York Civic Trust website.