Designs for a 1.5 mile cycle route through Acomb are back on the table after plans to slash it by more than half sparked a backlash.
York Central MP Rachel Maskell, the York Cycle Campaign (YCC) and Labour ward councillors all questioned why the proposed Acomb Road cycle scheme had been cut from its initial length of 1.5 miles to 0.6 miles – with the “most dangerous” stretch not included.
A council report instead sought to improve conditions for cyclists in Acomb between Hebden Rise and The Fox junction – with work west of Hebden Rise axed from the scheme.
But the council’s deputy leader and executive member for transport, Andy D’Agorne, went against officers’ recommendations and said designs for the full scheme should be drawn up.
Earlier in Monday’s meeting, councillors and campaigners had urged the transport chief to ensure the full scheme would be taken forward.
Funding for the full scheme, along with 23 other projects in York, was won through the government’s emergency active travel fund.
Rob Ainsley, of YCC, said not implementing the full scheme risked Active Travel England – which is soon to be based in York – taking back the funding.
He added: “That could jeopardise future funding for similar schemes. Active Travel England are not going to let the scheme pass in this half-baked form.”
Mr Ainsley said the full scheme had “the potential to bring about a huge rise in cycling commuting and cycle journeys.”
‘A cop out’
Labour’s transport spokesperson, Rachel Melly, said: “Better walking and cycling infrastructure to and through Acomb High Street is greatly needed and has public support, as well as the support of Acomb and Holgate councillors.”
Including this stretch as part of a separate project aimed at regenerating Acomb centre, as proposed in the report, was a “cop out”, Coun Melley added.
Holgate ward councillor, Kallum Talyor, said a 0.6 mile scheme would have been “a grubby disservice to residents”.
The scheme was initially cut back after Coun D’Agorne held meetings with all ward councillors affected, including the three Liberal Democrat councillors for Westfield ward.
Westfield ward councillor Andrew Waller said during the meeting that the trio were not opposed to a cycle lane in principle, but said there had been a lack of engagement with themselves and the public.
Coun D’Agorne said: “I think it does make sense for designers to be given the brief to develop the whole scheme.
“I do feel we need to ensure that the scheme ties in with other things happening in the area, but that shouldn’t prevent the initial design of the full route going ahead in Acomb.”
The process is still at an early stage and the designs will be put out to consultation before any final decisions on construction are made