Three changes to a congested stretch of road in York will get buses moving a bit quicker, say city transport experts.
The £200,000 road project could shave 90 seconds off bus journey times near York Hospital.
The city council is looking at road changes on Wigginton Road between Clarence Street and the Crichton Avenue bridge – a stretch of road that is notorious for congestion and delays.
They have ruled out reopening nearby terraced streets to traffic.
And two other ideas – to route buses along a new link between Wigginton Road and Haxby Road through the Nestle development, or install a bus gate on Clarence Street heading in to Lord Mayor’s Walk – would actually slow them down, research found.
A trio of changes
Instead council staff are proposing three smaller changes to cut journey times for buses, and on Thursday (May 17) will be asking transport executive member Cllr Peter Dew to agree to their plans.
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.
However, they would make Haxby Road journeys 10 seconds slower, a report by Better Bus Manager Julian Ridge says.
Passengers get stuck
Passengers across the city are hit when buses get stuck in the area, he added, and at hospital shift start and end times it takes an average of eight minutes – and sometimes much longer – for buses to cover the 1.5km between Crichton Avenue and the Bootham/ Gillygate junction.
Cllr Dew said although the proposals are minor, it would in fact be very difficult to make any improvements on the road with a lot of congestion coming from visitors queueing for the hospital and its car park.
Bus operators are backing the scheme, he added, and the 90 second average could add up to a lot of time saved for a lot of people over a whole day.
Transport consultants used computer-based traffic modelling to come up with three changes to speed up buses on the road.
Council staff ruled out reopening Fountayne Street and Vyner Street to traffic – between Haxby and Wigginton Roads – because of how badly it would affect those quiet streets.
Mr Ridge wrote that bus companies back the plans, and if Cllr Dew gives approval for more work to be done the proposals could be finalised in the autumn and the work done early next year.