Comments by York Cycle Campaign May 2008
1.The York Cycle Campaign does not support dualing of the outer ring road. Such work would be extremely expensive and would increase traffic and carbon dioxide emissions. The provision of high quality grade separated cycle routes along the ORR corridor would be supported, see answers to issue T6.2. Land close to the A1237 should only be safeguarded for cycle or pedestrian route improvements, including improvements in crossing facilities for all vulnerable road users.
2. The York Cycle Campaign does not feel that the Transport Allocations map adequately shows potential routes to expand the cycling and walking network. A considerable amount of officer time would be required to provide a truly adequate potential cycle route map. I hope City of York Council will consider providing resources for this vital task. There is a need for a dedicated cycling officer to assess how the network should be expanded and comment on all planning applications that involve changes that may affect cyclists. Trip origins and destinations for those making short , under 5 mile trips in the York area, to give a clearer picture of how the cycle route network should be expanded.
3. The York Cycle Campaign has already given Andy Vose a number of suggestions for potential routes, and connections to existing cycle routes which we trust will be incorporated into the final version of the transport allocations map. The cycle routes shown on the transport allocations map were originally proposed a number of years ago and the network has not been updated since. If new housing, and employment and retail sites are developed without cycle access being integrated at the very beginning of the design process the result is highly unlikely to lead to high levels of cycling within and between such developments and other areas of the city. We would suggest that when land allocations are agreed within the LDF, that land for cycle routes which connects to the wider cycle route network is in place before any development goes ahead.
4. a) New sites
which would help in providing a cycle route network
could include land which is presently suggested for
widening the Outer Ring Road. A number of communities
either just inside or just outside the ORR such as
Haxby, Wigginton, Askham Bryan, New Earswick etc cannot
access employment and retail sites at Monks Cross and
Clifton Moor by cycle routes unless they cycle into town
and out again. Rail and river crossings are concentrated
in the centre of town or on the OOR and hence make
orbital cycle trips difficult or impossible. Commuting
by cycle on grade separated cycle lanes along the ORR,
could be an excellent way of reducing congestion.
Comments by York Cycle Campaign - 31 May 2005
The second Local Transport Plan (LTP2) will determine York's transport strategy for the next five years, it is both a bid for funding from the Government and a public statement of the Council's intentions. Despite the fact that the version submitted at the end of July 2005 is only a draft, it is vital that the plan is as well developed as possible given that funding decisions by Central Government will be based on it and it is unlikely that major changes will be possible before the final version is due to be submitted in March 2006.
York Cycle Campaign is concerned that the final stage of the consultation is being carried out on a document which represents only a rough outline of the kinds of things the Council want to do. This "Consultation Leaflet" was only available at a final consultation event which consisted of a two hour presentational meeting for approximately 30 invited stakeholders with only limited time in which to question officers. The final consultation period is only two weeks.
Despite requests, the Council felt unable to make the Consultation Leaflet more widely available by putting it on their internet site. This would have made consultation far easier for those asked to comment over such a brief time period.
The document contains an outline of the objectives but only describes possible schemes in the most general terms ("Public Transport Improvements") there is no detail of the relative emphasis, possible schemes, indicators or targets. The latter in particular is a crucial part of a Local Transport Plan and likely to have a significant influence on the policy which emerges.
LTP1 achievements are generally described only in terms of their outputs rather than outcomes. Thus we learn that "28% of the city's workforce are now covered by travel plans" but not what impact this has had in terms of mode shift or traffic reduction. This makes it difficult to judge what might be necessary to achieve the objectives in LTP2.
York's transport strategy should form a vision for a more environmentally friendly transport system. It should incorporate complementary measures which form a coherent, integrated plan. It is only by having a high level of integration and clearly stating how individual measures play their part that the Council can avoid parts of the plan being opposed in isolation. This overall integrated vision does not come through from the Consultation Leaflet.
It is noted that from previous consultations there is a clear preference amongst residents and stakeholders for cutting traffic (as opposed to maintaining current levels or allowing traffic to grow). A cycle network and reallocating road capacity to walking and cycling attracted a high level of support among consultees.
Residents are clearly concerned about tackling congestion and this forms an important objective of the plan. However, it seems unlikely that the schemes outlined will actually have anything other than a localised and short term effect on congestion. While Outer Ring Road upgrades to major junctions may be welcomed it seems unlikely that any feasible improvement will have a long term effect once traffic reassignment and traffic growth are taken into account. Indeed, making it easier to drive in the short term could undermine the well intentioned efforts to persuade people not to drive which form much of the rest of the plan.
In particular the plan does not mention any significant demand management measures which actually make it more difficult or expensive to drive. These could include parking pricing and management measures, workplace parking levies or road pricing. Without these it seems unlikely that traffic or congestion will be significantly reduced in the life of the plan.
It is noted that York has a high level of short commuting trips (56% of commuting trips by York residents were less than 5km in 2001). This suggests that cycling could be important in providing an alternative mode of transport for commuters and therefore particularly effective at helping to reduce traffic at peak times.
The Foss Basin Master Plan (including James Street Link) and the Monks Cross Master Plan mentioned under "Tackling Congestion" should consider cycling as an important element and incorporate coherent, direct and attractive provision for cycling. Recent proposals for cycle facilities for James Street Link and the Morrisons development on Foss Islands Road have been extremely poor and the Campaign's comments on these schemes have been ignored.
For the large number of York households without a car, improving conditions for cycling will help to improve accessibility. For many short journeys, cycling is more convenient, flexible and cheaper than public transport.
The Campaign strongly supports efforts to reduce speeding and enhance community safety. The reason many people give for not cycling or not cycling more is danger from motorised vehicles and reducing speeds is an important way of addressing this. The Campaign would support lower speed limits in urban areas to further enhance the safety of non motorised users.
Addressing the objective of improving air quality seems to rely heavily on the success of measures to reduce congestion. As observed above, in the absence of more serious demand management measures these seem unlikely to have the desired effect. This throws into question the effectiveness of the air quality action plan - the Council need to spell out what they will do if this plan does not have the desired effect.
Cycling could form an important part of improving the quality of life in York because it is an environmentally friendly and sociable form of transport and by helping to tackle increasing levels of obesity and physical inactivity.
It is important that a high level of priority for cycling is incorporated into the plans for York Central. This includes the major schemes which is suggested under "Possible Larger Schemes".
What should be included in LTP2
LTP2 should include the hierarchy of road users which formed a cornerstone of past policy. This has been extremely important for cycling as it shows that the Council considers cycling to be important and that it will give cycling a high priority in making transport related decisions.
The emphasis in the document and in the presentations at the consultation meeting seemed to be on off road routes. While it is clear that many non cyclists say they would prefer segregated routes there are a large number of problems with providing such routes, not least the problem of where they could go. Any such provision should follow the five main requirements for cycling infrastructure (see paragraph 5.6.1 of Cycle Friendly Infrastructure, published by IHT):
Because the road network is likely to provide the most coherent and direct route for the foreseeable future, most cycling is likely to continue to be on the road. Traffic management should take this into account and the Council should reallocate capacity from motorised users where it is necessary to make cycle facilities attractive.
It is vital that the Council maintains adequate technical expertise in providing for cycling and provides training for staff in this area. The Campaign has become increasingly concerned about the poor cycling provision included in recent proposals including the James Street Link, Morrisons (Foss Islands Road) and Station front redevelopment proposals.
As a "European City for Cycling" and "Britain's Number One Cycling City" York should aspire to the levels of cycling found in Holland and Northern Germany (including York's twin City of Munster). As part of LTP2 the Council should adopt an ambitious target of bringing cycling up to these levels and institute a programme to achieve this. This will incorporate measures aimed at cycling, but also complementary measures to further improve the relative attractiveness of cycling.
Comprehensive monitoring of the success of all the measures in LTP2 in terms of the objectives and the indicators is vital. Without this it is impossible to assess progress and make coherent decisions about future policy.
Council's recent scrutiny report on cycling makes a
number of important further recommendations about
cycling in York. These should be incorporated into LTP2.