It looks like the government’s announcement in November of a £600,000 grant for cycling and walking in York has strings attached. A “matching” amount is required from local taxpayers.
The York Council had bid for a share of what was termed an “Emergency Active Travel Fund”.
It was originally designed to promote social distancing and reduce pressure on public transport. Early examples if the kind of scheme supported by the York Council included the controversial Bishopthorpe Road one way system (since abandoned) and The Groves Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme. Several foot streets were also extended.
Now the government (rightly) says greater weight should be given to consultation, with Local Authorities required to publish a consultation plan for their programmes by 11th December 2020. Details of York’s Active Travel Fund Tranche 2 application and the Consultation Plan are available as downloads at:https://www.york.gov.uk/lets-york/active-travel-bid/1
The costs of the individual schemes have now been revealed.
The most expensive is the proposal to construct a cycle path from Wheldrake village to Heslington.
This comes in at an eye watering £550,000.
There has still not been any attempt made to estimate the likely use of such a path although the Councils origin and destination surveys make a cost/benefit analysis relatively easy to produce.
Ironically, this project does not even appear in the list of cycling schemes that the Council has built up over the years. This is reproduced in a report being considered later this week. (click).
At least that list attempts to assess what impact the investment would have on transport choices. The top-rated improvement locations are
St Leonards Place / Museum Street / Lendal Bridge / Station Road
Micklegate / Bridge Street / Nessgate / Coppergate / Pavement / Stonebow / Peasholme Green
Improvements to Station Road / Station Avenue gyratory
Route through former British Sugar site
Castle Gateway Foss Bridge
York Central – link from Chancery Rise
Bar Lane / Toft Green / Tanner Row
The Council is being urged to develop a new “walking and cycling strategy”. Certainly, those who walk will feel somewhat neglected by current York Council policies. Even more so when they see the lack of progress being made on determining 19 outstanding Public Right of Wayapplications. Some have been outstanding for over 20 years.
The main issue remains a lack of investment in maintaining the existing transport network.
The endless pressure to borrow more money simply sucks resources from the Councils maintenance budget. The results are deteriorating cycle and footpath surfaces coupled with potholed highway margins.
This neglect poses an increasing hazard for pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.
City of York Council has been allocated £658,350 to support more active travel across York and the many residents who are choosing to walk and cycle more throughout the city’s COVID recovery.
The Government’s Active Travel Fund is designed to support walking and cycling as a long-term method for commuting. To receive any allocation from the fund, the council must carry out wide reaching engagement on a variety of proposed schemes to inform designs for people-centred transport infrastructure and more active travel opportunities for residents.
There is likely to be some scepticism about the Council choice of schemes (see below). It’s plan for a cycle path from Wheldrake (pop 2000) to the City centre for example doesn’t appear to have been based on any sort of cost benefit analysis.
Other villages such as Dunnington (pop 3300) are closer, so cycling is likely to be a much more attractive option for commuters living in that area.
The Council has computer modelling facilities available which would allow it to prioritise, what are very scarce, resources on initiatives which will give the maximum “bang per buck”. We’ve had too many impulsive decisions in the recent past ..and too many vanity projects. Decisions need to be made with clear base line figures, milestones, quantifiable targets and proper outturn appraisals.
No plans have been announced to improve the lamentable state of the existing cycle network. Parts of the York Selby cycle path – which is not too far away from Wheldrake – is currently unusable because of surface damage
According to the Council, “the consultation, which will launch later this year, will provide residents the opportunity to shape future plans and ensure that they are designed to meet the needs of local communities. By using the consultation to develop high quality cycle routes, we can encourage more people to walk and cycle as part of their everyday travel in the city”.
This funding is the second phase of funding, following on from an initial £193,000 received in summer this year.
The Council claims that, “This second phase of funding will allow the city to build upon action taken so far this year through temporary changes to road layout and improving cycle safety, and enable the council to design and implement more permanent and wider reaching schemes to support residents with active travel opportunities across the city”.
The measures proposed to be consulted upon and delivered include:
Measures on Shipton Road (north of Clifton Green), linking with ongoing improvements to cycling infrastructure on Bootham;
Cycle lanes along Acomb Road;
Some city centre measures, for example a pedestrian/ cyclists crossing of Tower Street near St George’s Field;
Improvements to the cycle lane on the A1237 bridges over the Ouse and East Coast Main Line;
Cycle improvements between Wheldrake and Heslington.
Consultation will be carried out in the coming months and feedback collected from this will be reported at an Executive Member for Transport Decision Session in early 2021.
This work will be carried out in coordination with the implementation of the council’s Economic Recovery Strategy. The strategy focuses on prioritising active travel, working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence and creating a more people-focussed city centre.
The council’s iTravel team will be supporting engagement across local communities and schools to better understand barriers to active travel and how this funding can improve this across the city.
City of York Council has submitted a bid to the Government for £850,000 of funding (against an indicative allocation of £693,000).
This is part of an overall £1.45m programme, to maintain the growth in walking and cycling seen across the city during lockdown.
The Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund is designed to support walking and cycling as a long-term method for commuting, as the country emerges from the pandemic and to address the current capacity constraints on Public Transport. To receive any allocation from the fund, the council has to demonstrate ‘swift and meaningful plans’ to support cyclists and pedestrians in York.
This application is for the second of two phases, with the first seeing the council being awarded £193,000 in June (this was £20,000 more than the indicative allocation).
The funding for the second phase is conditional on demonstrating how the council is able to adapt the city’s infrastructure to support more active travel, and how quickly these additional measures can be delivered.
City of York Council has submitted a programme of actions to support walking and cycling at key locations as alternatives to travel by bus or car.
Subject to a successful award of funding, the second phase aims to deliver the following schemes:
Measures focused on providing cycling and walking links between Wheldrake and Heslington. This scheme provides an off-road cycle route to Wheldrake, which will benefit commuters between the village and York city centre, including schoolchildren travelling to school in Fulford.
Further improvements on the A19 Shipton Road, a 3.2km radial route with cycle lanes currently being designed for delivery in phase 1. The additional funding will allow some of the existing pedestrian refuges on the road (which constrain the width of the proposed cycle lanes)) to be replaced with signalised crossings and improvements to the main junctions on the road.Improvements to A1237 outer ring road bridge – permanent provision of a cycle lane and improved footways over a 1km viaduct where provision is currently poor – linking suburbs on the northern and southern sides of the River Ouse and East Coast Main Line, including Manor School on the southern side and Clifton Moor Retail Park on the northern.
Measures in the city centre to improve access into and around the city centre to serve the footstreets area and ensure that the heart of the city is as accessible as possible for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled residents. This scheme would include a range of measures such as improved signage, improvements to disabled crossing facilities, and a new crossing near Castle Mills Bridge catering for cyclists and pedestrians using the existing riverbank path, but wishing to travel across the Inner Ring Road into the south east of the city centre, an area being regenerated.
Acomb Road/ York Road Acomb cycle scheme – a scheme to improve conditions for cyclists on Acomb Road to the west of York, including many children travelling to local schools, but where there is currently very little provision.
School Zone Pilot – After a successful trial of a ‘people street’ concept at Carr Junior School in association with Sustrans last year, further changes would be planned to Ostman Road in Acomb for a pilot scheme, with potential future wider rollout across the city.
Additional council funding will be used to compliment the schemes in the bid above, as well as consulting and co-designing schemes with local communities, residents and businesses.
The second phase bid will complement the first phase of funding which is being used to deliver a number of measures across the city including:
Extensions to existing Park and Pedal facilities at Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride site, alongside a new cycle route from the site along Shipton Road
Improved cycle parking in the city centre
Extensions to the footstreets area
Temporary footway widening at pinch points near shops
Alterations to signal timings to reduce pedestrian queuing at city centre traffic lights.
So we have a curates egg of proposals. There seems to have been no attempt made to assess potential demand for cycling facilities and hence likely use. The 2000 residents of Wheldrake may get a very expensive path. It is unlikely to carry many commuters in winter (providing street lighting would be even more expensive).
The 12,000 residents of Westfield are offered nothing. Ditto the Rural West ward, where the Knaption – Rufforth cycle path, and several rural carriageways need resurfacing, also get nothing.
There has been no consultation. The so called “big conversation” doesn’t offer choices on transport projects.
There is no consent from residents and without that we will see resentment and conflict.. That much was evident on Bishopthorpe Road.
The Council say the “work will be co-ordinated with the council’s Economic Recovery Strategy, which will be delivered over the next few months.
The strategy focuses on prioritising active travel, working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence and creating a more people-focussed city centre.
We’re asking residents and businesses to complete our Big Conversation survey, which kick-starts a year-long programme of on and offline opportunities for residents and businesses to shape the city’s recovery.