100 lost car parking spaces, brutal architecture & a dodgy cycle crossing feature in latest St Georges Field plans

York residents are being invited to see the final plans for the St Georges Field and Castle Mills developments.

City of York Council is sharing plans for a multi-storey car park at St George’s Field, a new bridge over the Foss and a residential development at Castle Mills area ahead of submitting planning applications over the next two months. 

The proposed developments are “the vital first stages to deliver the centrepiece of the vision for Castle Gateway – a new public space around Clifford’s Tower and the Eye of York”.

The four-storey car park at St George’s Field is “needed to replace the parking places which would be lost on the current Castle Car Park, and would be funded through the new residential apartment developments on the site of the now demolished Castle Mills Car Park. By moving the car park, the plan would remove a number of journeys from inside the inner ring road”.

As part of the plans a new public bridge spanning the River Foss would connect Piccadilly and the rear of the Castle Museum, opening up a planned cycle and pedestrian route along the river into town.

The plans involve the loss of 100 car parking spaces to which can be added to those already lost when the Castle Mill car park was closed a couple of years ago. The multi storey car park is further away from the main shopping streets. Its lower floor is likely to be unusable when river levels are high.

How the retail community will view this reality remains to be seen.

There is a new shared cycle/pedestrian crossing at the junction with the inner ring road. The proposal fails to separate these users from general traffic, a failing also evident in the solution proposed for cycle priority in the Leeman Road/Marble Arch area.

There will be a shared cycle/pedestrian bridge across the Foss near the rear of the Castle Museum.

More controversially the artists impressions for new residential buildings on Piccadilly show an unrelentingly brutal architectural approach. It will not be to everyone’s taste.

The Council claims that the plans have been refined since they were shared at public events, online and through social media in March.

The two drop-in events feature an exhibition of the proposals and the opportunity to talk to the team about the plans. There is also the chance to take guided walks of the area to explore the developments on location:

Saturday 1 June
Drop-in 11am-2pm / Guided walks at 11:30am and 1pm
Spark : York, Piccadilly

Wednesday 5 June
Drop-in 3pm-7pm / Guided walks at 4pm and 6pm
Friends Meeting House, Friargate

Residents are invited to a drop-in session or to join the conversation on twitter @MyCastlGatewaywww.facebook.com/MyCastleGateway.

You can also view the plans online from Friday 31 May at https://www.york.gov.uk/CastleGatewayMasterplanLatest

The Castle Gateway masterplan was created after City of York Council teamed up with a local group called My Future York to develop ‘My Castle Gateway’.  The ongoing, open conversation has taken in walks, talks and conversations on social media to develop a brief and explore emerging ideas before this masterplan was finalised.

St Georges Field layout
Car Parking plans
Piccadilly/Foss development
Brutal architecture

More improvements for cyclists needed

We mentioned last week that we hoped the new York Council would tackle some long outstanding problems with cycle routes

The biggest problem remains the state of road surfaces.

Potholes, like this on Bland Lane, pose a hazard for cyclists, particularly at night
Uneven carriageways are uncomfortable for cyclists. This is in Low Poppleton Lane
On the Beckfield Lane to Jute Road path a (very) old notice prohibits cycling. The Council has however fitted cycle friendly barriers.

The same Jute Road snicket is obstructed by weeds.
Detritus is a particular problem on the gated section
The cycle path link from North Moor Lane to Rufforth is taking a long time to complete

Over 1000 extra daily journeys on the new Scarborough Bridge

Over 4,000 pedestrians and cyclists have been using the upgraded Scarborough Bridge foot and cycle bridge everyday since it reopened after a £4.4m upgrade.

This is already an increase of 1,000 extra journeys on the average of 3,000 daily crossings on the old footbridge.

The new accessible bridge has been delivered in partnership by City of York Council, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER)and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) through its £60m City Connect programme, aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk.

Although the bridge is now open to the public, work will continue to  complete sections of the ramps, install the permanent handrail and erect new lighting.

The new steps to the riverside are open for public use in an interim state, with the final Yorkstone finish and permanent handrail to be installed in the next two weeks.

The bridge and ramps remain open to the public at all times, although the public are reminded that direct access into the station remains – as it was before the upgrade – closed between 22.30 and 05.30.

The £4.4m project has been funded by a £1.9m grant through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, a £1.5m Local Growth Fund secured by YNYER and £1m of City of York Council funds. 

At 65-metres long the new bridge is three times as wide at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people and the new ramps and steps mean that it is accessible even at times that the river is in flood. The new bridge is constructed of weathering steel – the same as Gateshead’s famous statue, The Angel of the North.

For more information about the Scarborough Bridge scheme visit www.york.gov.uk/scarboroughbridge

In March, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City of York Council were awarded £300,000 from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund. to make further improvements to cycle and walkways between Scarborough Bridge, York railway station and the city centre.

These improvements will include:

  • An enhanced crossing of Bootham linking into the cycle route through to the district hospital.
  • Improving the riverside cycle route on the Esplanade side of the river.
  • Replacing the steps from St Mary’s to Marygate Lane with a ramp.

Up a gear for cyclists in York?

There may be some new hope that cyclists will get a better deal from the new administration which is taking over at West Offices this week.

Both the LibDems and the Green Party promised better road surfaces in the City.

Potholes represent a particular hazard for cyclists.

There is talk of an emergency budget in June which would present an opportunity to rejig transport priorities.

We hope so.

In the slightly longer term, the Council needs to take a fresh look at its off road cycle network.

One notorious section in Acomb comes to a dead end in the middle of Front Street with no one apparently able to decide how to safely continue the route towards the Askham Lane and Foxwood areas.

In other areas stop gap measures, introduced 20 years ago, are still in place. These include the makeshift metal channels which were installed on the approaches to several railway bridges. They are supposed to make it easier for cyclists to push their machines up steep access stairways.

Bridge over Holgate sidings. Cycle access from Barbara Grove is steep. There is scope to construct a much gentler gradient.

In reality, it is often easier to carry the bike or – more likely – just take a longer and possibly more hazardous route using the ordinary road network

Residents urged to plan ahead for Tour de Yorkshire

The Tour de Yorkshire will once again return to the regions roads from 2-5 May.

The first stage, taking riders on a fast and flat route from Doncaster to Selby passes through several villages on the outskirts of York, including Elvington, Wheldrake and Escrick in the late afternoon on Thursday 2 May.

The A19 near Escrick will be closed to traffic when the race passes through the area.No parking will be permitted on the race route during the race period. Details of the route are available on the Tour de Yorkshire website at https://letour.yorkshire.com/tour-de-yorkshire-2019/

To ensure the safety of spectators and riders alike there will be a rolling road closure for most of the race route, this will be managed by the police. This means that the traffic will be stopped at any given point between 10 and 30 minutes ahead of the first cyclist.

When the race, and all the official and team vehicles, have passed the roads will reopen again. The last vehicle in the race group is a lorry with screens on both sides telling people watching that the roads are open again.

Typically the closure is in place for between 20 and 50 minutes depending on the severity of the stage, how far into the stage the race is and the weather.

It’s expected that the race will reach Elvington at approximately 4.46pm, Wheldrake at 4.53pm and Escrick at 5pm. The route joins the A19 at Escrick and turns off again to Stillingfleet. This will mean that the A19 will be closed whilst the race passes through the area affecting travellers.

Bus routes 18, 36, X36, 42, 45, 46, X46 and 415 will all continue to operate, but will be delayed as a result of the race. It is anticipated that the closures and additional race traffic will cause delays in the area. Motorists are advised to plan their journeys to avoid the route during the race period if possible.

For more information visit www.itravelyork.info/buses/bus-routes-and-journey-times/diversion-information

Pedestrian access will be available to polling stations throughout the period. Voters in the wards affected have been notified of the access restrictions.

Brush up your Urban Cycle Skills

York residents of all ages and levels of ability are being invited to brush up their cycling skills by booking a subsidised training session from as little as £5 for 90 minutes.

Urban Cycle Skills is a programme of bespoke cycling tuition suitable for everyone from experienced cyclists to those who haven’t ridden a bike for more than 30 years.

Tailored to the level of ability and requirements of the individuals taking part in each session, the cycling tuition is provided by instructors trained to a nationally-recognised standard.

Urban Cycle Skills sessions typically cost £32.00 for 60 minutes or £48.00 for 90 minutes, but City of York Council is offering them at the subsidised rate of just £5 for a 90-minute, one-to-one session for a single adult. Family sessions are available from £5 for an adult and up to two children (aged eight years and above), or £10 for two adults and two children (aged eight years and above).

For more information or to book a place, visit www.itravelyork.info/cycling/cycle-training.

Get into gear for the Festival of Cycling – Sunday 2 September

A renowned free event, the York Festival of Cycling will return once again on Sunday 2 September.

The event has something for the whole family with all sorts of pedal powered activities for people to take part in.

There will be bikes and trikes of all shapes and sizes including adapted bikes, balance bikes and tandems for people to test ride on the day.

BMX stunt team ‘Savage Skills’ will be performing throughout the day showing some of the amazing stunts and tricks that can be done on two wheels. There will also be ‘The AirBag’ for BMXers to try out their own airborne tricks without the worry of a hard landing.

North Yorkshire Police will be on hand with their state of the art ‘dot peen’ property marking machine. They will be security marking cycles and other valuable items during the day free of charge.

Re-Cycle York will be providing a Doctor Bike service at the event to give festival attendees a free health check of their bike. Get Cycling, The Cycle Airbag, York Greenways and Bike Belles will also be there on the day with information and advice.

The i-Travel York team will also be available to provide travel advice and information for residents to encourage them to try out sustainable modes of travel, including cycling and walking. For more information visit www.itravelyork.info

Pupils pedal the Yorkshire Tour baton around the city

In the tyre tracks of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, York school children will be pedalling a relay race as part of the Schools Yorkshire Tour.

A baton is cycled from school to school and between the region’s local authorities by pupils.

This year, Dunnington primary school pupils together with The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of York have the honour of taking the baton for York from East Riding at the border on Stamford Bridge viaduct on Friday 8 June at 2:15pm.

On Monday 11 June, York pupils will cycle the baton around the city. Dunnington Primary school children will start the relay by pedalling the baton over to Badger Hill Primary School. Badger Hill pupils will ride it on to Lord Deramore’s for a handover and so on. The baton will then go to St Lawrence’s, St George’s RC, Knavesmire, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Carr Junior School and then St Barnabas primary schools.

The following day, Tuesday 12 June, St Barnabas’ primary school pupils will cycle the baton to nearby York railway station and, with Cllr Keith Myers, pass it on to school representatives from Doncaster on the 10am train, who will carry the relay on to South Yorkshire. (more…)

Big family friendly cycling event tomorrow (Sunday) in York

Travel together

Cyclists and budding-cyclists of all ages and abilities are being invited to the launch of a new initiative to encourage people to cycle together this weekend (Sunday 25 March)

The Travel Together initiative – run in partnership by City of York Council’s iTravel scheme, York Sport and local cycling organisation, Get Cycling – aims to encourage people to cycle in family and friendship groups, particularly children, older people and people with disabilities or those recovering from injuries or illness.

A launch event will be held at York Sports Cycle Village between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday. Regular rides – all free of charge – will be held at the venue’s cycle circuit each Sunday from 15 April until October.

People will be able to try an array of bikes for adults, juniors and cycles to suit any disability or requirement, as well as using the cycle circuit.

The circuit will be open to family groups between 1-2pm, with an inclusive session – particularly for individuals and family/friendship groups with a rider requiring a specialist bike – between 2 and 4pm. British Cycling will then be hosting an inclusive para-racing session for experienced riders with disabilities from 3-4pm, which will include the opportunity for riders to try fast race bikes.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “The Travel Together programme is a fantastic way to encourage people of all ages and abilities to cycle together, for fun, in a safe, purpose-built environment. It’s a great opportunity for families to get out and get some exercise on a Sunday afternoon, with specialist bikes available to support older members or those with disabilities. And all free of charge!”

For further information email events@getcycling.org.uk

Ride to Work Week starts in York on Monday

City of York Council is encouraging people across the city to ‘Ride to Work’ next week (12-18 March) as part of a national campaign to encourage cycling as part of the daily commute.

The campaign aims to get more people incorporating cycling into their lives, helping to keep them fit and healthy, reducing congestion and improving air quality.

By signing up to the national Love to Ride UK initiative, which runs Ride to Work Week, people can enter a monthly prize draw to win great prizes including a £500 city break or bike shop vouchers. Visit www.lovetoride.net/york for more information.