Plans to upgrade traffic lights and signals at the junction at Bootham, Gillygate and St Leonard’s Place have been delayed – with a senior councillor saying there is a “golden opportunity for a top grade cycle route” at the site.
Neighbours and campaigners urged transport bosses to defer a decision about the junction amid concerns over safety, air pollution and traffic levels.
City of York Council invited residents to have their say one two options for upgrading the junction.
Option A involved upgrading the traffic signals, which is out of date and faulty on warm days, as well as widening crossings. Option B proposed to also reorganise the junction to create an extra pedestrian crossing and take out the left hand turn lane in St Leonard’s Place.
The majority of people responding to the survey favoured option A – with 44.61 per cent of people in favour of option A, 33.52 per cent in support of option B and 18.67 per cent supporting neither.
Transport bosses recommended that Cllr Andy D’Agorne therefore chose to go ahead with option A, adding that option B was both more expensive and likely to cause traffic delays and pollution, even though it would improve road safety.
Favours the car
Niall McFerran, chair of the St Leonard’s Place, Museum Street and Mews Residents Group, asked for the decision to be deferred for more work on the plans, saying: “The current arrangements favour the car user against the interests of pedestrians and cyclists.
“In this area it is dangerous to watch people actually trying to cross these crossings and to watch cyclists trying to manoeuvre around the junction.”
A Gillygate resident said neither option improves air quality.
Tony May from York Civic Trust also called for the decision to be delayed until September, adding: “No attempt has been made yet to assess how this junction would operate when dualling [of the outer ring road] is complete and traffic levels are reduced.”
Cllr D’Agorne chose to defer a decision on the plans until September, asking for more work to be done on looking at traffic flow in the area and how cars could be directed away from the route.
He said: “I have concerns about moving forward with either of these two options at this point in time.
“I’m aware of concerns for residents living in the area. We need to prioritise the bus services, at the same time, tackling air pollution.
“I’m aware this route is potentially a golden opportunity to have a top grade cycle route all the way from Rawcliffe through to the city centre.
“This administration has to get to grips with reducing traffic in York and not just electrifying it or moving it about in certain areas. I hope all are up for this challenge.”