York cyclists “don’t want any more excuses” from the council over how much government-awarded cash it has actually spent on cycling and walking schemes in the city.
York Cycle Campaign’s (YCC) Kate Ravilious demanded answers from council officers and transport chief Cllr Andy D’Agorne during a decision session on Tuesday.
The council’s report showed it has more than £1.3m of active travel fund grant money in the bank. The government has awarded the city more than £1.2m in active travel cash since 2020.
Ms Ravilious said: “Unless we are mistaken today’s report suggests that City of York Council hasn’t yet spent a penny, with the money simply being carried over, year after year after year.
“Are you really telling us that you haven’t spent any of it?”
Cyclists were concerned that the Department for Transport would ask for their money back if it is not spent, Ms Ravilious added.
The council’s head of highways and transport Dave Atkinson said: “We are committed to bringing a paper to members after this meeting. Within that we will outline the breakdown of costs so it will be clear what funds have been used for what work.
“We’re also happy to give an indication of how that budget’s been spent in terms of which stage is in consultancy, consultation or construction.
“In a positive light, we’ll be on the ground in construction with Tadcaster Road in the new year.
“That particular scheme in itself probably gives a microcosm of the issues we face when we’re doing full corridor implementations.”
Tadcaster Road, one of York’s busiest roads, is set to benefit from £1.4m of West Yorkshire Combined Authority cash to encourage more people to walk, cycle and use the bus.
Over summer, YCC criticised the council’s “abysmal” record of delivering major active travel schemes after plans for routes on the A1237 and another between Wheldrake and Heslington were cut.
Cllr D’Agorne has said the council underestimated how much those schemes would cost.
The latest council report noted that “limited progress” was made in 2020/2021 due to staff shortages.
“However, during 2021/22 new project managers have been appointed and progress has been made on developing the schemes for implementation,” it added.
Ms Ravilious said she was concerned to hear that an update on active travel schemes was not due until November.
She added: “Up and down the country we are seeing other councils taking bold action, installing major active travel corridors and providing people with safe routes to cycle. But here in York the money seems to be sitting in the bank while cyclists continue to be put in danger and the council prevaricates.”
Cllr D’Agorne pointed out that the report showed there was a wide range of work being carried out by the transport team, including traffic signal replacements.
“There are other schemes in here which will be brought forward in the near future,” he added.
“A lot of work has gone on since my decision session February which gave prioritisation for the active travel schemes – work has gone on on a number of those.”