Spending ‘£200K to save 90 seconds’ a waste of money, says York transport group

Plans to upgrade the roundabout at the junction of York Hospital, Wigginton Road and Fountayne Street have been scrapped. Photograph © Google Street View
26 Aug 2018 @ 7.21 pm
| News, Transport

Plans to spend £200K changing a congested York junction should be scrapped immediately, says a city transport group.

In May, City of York Council revealed plans to alter Wigginton Road between Clarence Street and the Crichton Avenue bridge to ease jams near the hospital.

But the £200K project should be stopped as it is “an inappropriate and ineffective use of ‘Better Bus Fund’ money,” says York Bus Forum chair Graham Collett, adding:

  • There are much better ways of spending this money.

    The following questions are important, yet answers are completely lacking, although we have tried to get them from the council.

York Bus Forum questions:

  1. What are the anticipated gains for buses and other road users? Ideally we need to know error bands as well as changes over time, and the disruption phase must not be ignored
  2. Where are the projected ‘Value for Money’ figures?
  3. Why is there no bus detection or signal priority for buses in this proposal if it is genuinely about improving bus reliability?

‘Might make things worse’

Without this information, the forum says they seriously doubt that this project can “reduce journey times for traffic generally, let alone for buses, as claimed. Indeed, it might make things worse”.

Graham believes these are the more likely outcomes:

  • Massive disruption and damage to bus services during the construction phase
  • No long-term improvement to bus times
  • Long-term costs for everyone as the “improvements” will increase traffic past the hospital – or rather, standing still at peak times

Meanwhile, the Bus Forum has put forward several proposals of its own.

These include “Express” 24/7 P&R services and a shared “HospiBus” taxi service for staff as well as patients, visitors and others visiting the area.

And they would cost far less than the Wigginton Road scheme, the forum says.

The council plans

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City of York Council is proposing three changes to cut journey times for buses on this busy stretch of road.

The three changes are:

  • Remodelling the Wigginton Road/ Haxby Road/ Clarence Street junction to prioritise Wigginton Road traffic
  • Replacing the mini-roundabout at the entrance to the hospital with a conventional “give way” junction
  • Asking bus companies to change fares and timings so drivers spend less time at the Fountayne Street stops.

Together the three changes would cost £200K and cut 90 seconds off southbound journeys on Wigginton Road, and 30 seconds off northbound trips.

Back in May Cllr Peter Dew said bus operators were backing the scheme, and the 90 second average could add up to a lot of time saved for a lot of people over a whole day.