Castle Gateway Response

The latest proposals for the Castle Gateway masterplan were tabled at the City of York Council executive meeting at the end of last month (April 26th), for approval allowing the masterplan to move into its next stages.

Campaign member Dr. Jamie Wood attended to present the a statement about the cycling provision indicated in the masterplan, on behalf of York Cycle Campaign:

“First of all we want to express our thanks to the My Castle Gateway team, to Helen Graham and Phil Bixby in particular, as well the council and its officers for the wholehearted way they have embraced this open ended form of engagement about such a significant and exciting change for our city. We would encourage the council to adopt this format of engaging consultation on all future large proposals.

The Castle gateway proposal offers the potential for significant improvements in the cycle infrastructure in the city. We are excited by the proposals for a new route across the inner ring road, offering safe and convenient connections to the east of the city.

We wish to highlight two significant points critical for cycling noted within the masterplan:
We are obviously disappointed that the route alongside the Foss cannot become a cycling artery directly into the city centre. Whilst we are pleased that an alternative route, is under consideration we note that this necessitates cyclists using the Blue Bridge. This bridge, with its sharp peak and tight corner, is intimidating to many cyclists and impassable to many non standard bikes. This includes cargo bikes, which may become more important in the city for making deliveries once the anti-terror measures are implemented in the footstreet area. We ask the executive to consider seriously any plans put forward for alternatives or modifications to this key piece of infrastructure as part of the implementation.

Secondly, within the Castle Gateway area there are a number of crucial cycling routes which pass along one-way streets, or streets that may in the future become one-way. Fossgate, Walmgate and Merchantgate all fall into this category and other streets may do so in the future. In particular we are aware of a proposal that Coppergate become one way for buses. Coppergate is an essential East – West connection for cyclists, and proposals for making the route a one way bus corridor threaten this route. We understand that under a 2011 legal amendment the Council has the powers to introduce a simple signage modification so that cyclists can contraflow on such streets without the need for significant physical infrastructure. We ask therefore that the Council ensure that cycling contraflows be put on any such one way streets in and around the Castle Gateway area.

In addition we note the following points about the plans:
Reducing the width of roads and widening pavements, as proposed on Coppergate, Nessgate (T8) and Piccadilly (P7) are welcomed, but we ask the executive to carefully consider these changes so as not to expose cyclists to increased risk from motor vehicles.

We ask that junction proposals, such as for Skeldergate bridge interchange, should carefully consider safe cycle integration including Advanced Stop Areas, advanced start lights, and where suitable, segregated lanes that allow left-turning cyclists to bypass junctions. If possible, a cycle only right turn from Tower Street to the Bishopthorpe Road area would be welcomed.

We also note the current lack of proposed cycle parking in the development. Locations for long stay parking, parking for non-standard cycles and frequent short stay parking opportunities need to be considered across the site.”

The meeting’s item concluded with councillors approving £2.4m of funding to start producing planning applications for the first parts of the masterplan. You can watch the executive meeting in full on the Council’s YouTube channel.

If you would like to be involved the Campaign’s responses to future consultations, members can join the Better Infrastructure Group. To register your interest please email YorkCycleCampaign.BIG@gmail.com

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