Vision to create ‘cycle superhighways’ from the ring road into York city centre

A cycle superhighway near Blackfriars Bridge in central London. Photograph: Tilia44 on Wikipedia
20 Dec 2018 @ 7.57 pm
| Environment, Transport

Now is the time for York to truly embrace pedal power.

That’s the message from York Cycle Campaign – which says the plans to dual York’s outer ring-road offer a unique opportunity to create cycle superhighways into the centre of the city.

The campaign says City of York Council’s ambition to draw traffic away from the centre of York means road space will be freed up for cyclists.

“Investing in cycle superhighways at this point is the ideal moment to capitalise on the projected drop in traffic on radial routes into York,” said Jamie Wood, spokesperson for the cycle campaign.

Radial route potential

The campaign took their message to the council executive. In a statement they said:

  • We believe that if approved this project presents an opportunity to create continuous segregated cycle routes into the centre of York, by utilising the council’s anticipated additional capacity created on radial roads.

    Potentially every radial route into York between the Rawcliffe Bar and eastwards around to Askham Bar Park & Ride should become significantly quieter.

    We would like to see holistic thinking from the council, exploring the potential to create fully segregated cycle superhighways along all routes that are anticipated to see a reduction in traffic, thereby giving people real choice in their travel options, particularly from the outlying Strensall and Haxby areas, which are currently poorly served.

Such a move would improve air pollution and ease traffic congestion.

Dualling ring road update

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A meeting of the council executive on Thursday (20 December) was given an update on the council’s ambition to dual the entire length of the A1237. Key points include:

  • A project to upgrade 7 of the roundabouts on the A1237 is currently in progress
  • The Transport Secretary said in September that upgrading a section of the A1237 would be one of the first schemes to be delivered using the new Major Road Network fund.
  • Discussions with the Department for Transport have identified the process and funding requirements to enable the section of the A1237 from the A19 through to the Little Hopgrove roundabout to be delivered over the next few years
  • Councillors are to allocate £2.8m (about 10% of the dualling element) as match-funding
  • Long term the council’s aspiration remains the full dualling of the entire length of the A1237
  • The central section between the A59 and A19 incorporating new bridges over the River Ouse and East Coast Mainline will continue to be developed as the next phase of the upgrade.

Value for money

Bikes parked in Blake Street, York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Cycle campaigners asked the council to consider increasing their investment from £2.8 million to £3.3 million, with the additional half million being used to further development of cycle superhighways into York.

Compared to road building, cycle infrastructure is excellent value for money, says Peter Sheaf of York Cycle Campaign.

“Including cycle investment as part of this bid is an opportunity to significantly increase the cost-benefit ratio of the scheme and reduce the chances of the bid being rejected again,” he said.

He pointed to estimates which say every £1 million invested in cycle infrastructure produces around £3 million return in benefits including reduced mortality, reduced traffic congestion, reduced absenteeism, and increased amenity.

A survey carried out by Sustrans in 2017 that over three quarters of people would like to see more spent on protected bike lanes, even if this could mean less space for other road traffic.

Around 15% of the traffic across the entirety of York is cycle traffic.