York Station Front Consultation was launched by City of York Council on June 11th 2018. York Cycle Campaign has submitted this response based on feedback and comments received from its growing membership. A online survey was created by the Campaign to allow its members to submit their comments on the proposals for cycling infrastructure. As well as being asked for their overall thoughts, the survey asked for comments on four key aspects of the proposal, which were identified from initial discussions on social media at the launch of the consultation.
A 3D virtual tour released by the Council of the proposed changes
The overall reception of members to the proposals is in the majority positive, seeing them as an opportunity to greatly improve the quality of cycling, and walking, around the station but also within the city as a whole. However this positivity was often on the condition that the proposals are delivered fully realised and finished to a good quality, and not watered down through cost cutting and compromise resulting in incoherent provision.
The proposals for introducing cycle lanes along the front of the station were seen positively by the respondents, with over 90% saying they felt the proposals were better or significantly better than the current provision of cycle lanes in-front of the station.
From the comments received from respondents, the most frequent issue raised was the need for physical segregation between cyclists and motor vehicles, with more than 70% of respondents raising it an issue. These comments all raise the need for a continuous physical barrier, such as a stepped kerb, verge or other obstruction to provide meaningful protection from motor vehicles.
Mandatory/advisory on-road cycle lanes, regardless of width, were not seen as being suitable in any form along Station Road and a number of members expressed frustration with this. For example, where the proposals suggest a protected cycleway in front of the station, with cyclists then directed towards an advisory cycle-lane towards Lendal Gyratory.
“There needs to be consistency about the type of cycle provision throughout. It is confusing and dangerous to have segregated cycle lanes that suddenly have to join the road, or shared space with pedestrians that then turns into dedicated cycleways. Any shared cycle/pedestrian space needs to be clearly marked in consistent ways, and give clear indications to both cyclists and pedestrians as to how the space is to be used.“
The shared cycle/pedestrian path directly in front of the station was similarly not seen as suitable due to this being a very busy environment, and numbers of pedestrians and cyclists only expected to increase in coming years. Having a shared pedestrian/cyclist path is generally viewed as creating an unnecessary source of conflict, and that a physically defined cycle path, as proposed on the westbound side past the bus stops, would be a safer provision for both cyclists and pedestrians.
“Better going West, but in front of the station is a disaster. They are expecting the number of passengers to triple and therefore it will be almost impossible to cycle at the front of the station going East. There needs to be a dedicated cycle path (otherwise many will feel forced to use the road)“
A large number of respondents emphasised the importance of cycle lanes crossing junctions used by motor vehicles in a manner that was safe and convenient for cyclists & pedestrians. The consensus in the comments was that in order to provide this, where cycle paths & footpaths need to cross these junctions, clear priority should be given to pedestrians and cyclists over vehicles turning into the junctions (this reflects the sentiment in many of the policies in the submitted Local Plan that transport provision should “clearly prioritise” cycling and walking).
The need for provision to be able to cross Station Road to access/exit the station from the westbound side in a safe manner was also raised. Providing the new pedestrian crossing directly outside the main entrance as a toucan crossing, detailed in a way that made it easy to join/leave the westbound cycle lane was seen as important in providing that safety.
Proposals for improvements to connections to and through the station area from other parts of the city were largely welcomed respondents by the Campaign’s membership. Whilst these connections are currently technically possible in many instances, the potential for the routes to be made safe through segregation from (and by the removal of) traffic, to form viable and attractive routes past the station, was a recurring sentiment in responses. Respondents also felt that such connections would effectively unlock other existing or proposed parts of infrastructure in the city, such as Scarborough Rail Bridge, or help cyclists avoid other parts of the road network seen as dangerous and unattractive such as Blossom Street.
“[The connection from the Long Stay Car Park to Scarborough Rail Bridge, via Tea Room Square] would be a huge benefit for cyclists coming in from Poppy Road and Acomb side. I have been struggling to think what use the Scarborough bridge would make to my journeys. I use the Holgate Road link through the station regularly to avoid cycling on Blossom street, however it is not easy or logical to continue via the station exit towards Scarborough Rail Bridge currently”
Members hailed the potential for a new route through the City Walls giving access through and past the Council’s offices. They felt it offered benefits as a alternative route to & from the city centre that avoided the busy Lendal Gyratory which is currently lacking in cycle infrastructure.The Campaign would urge that every effort is made in order to gain the required landowner approvals to unlock this vital alternative route.
“[The] route through the City Walls past the Council offices will be brilliant, as it not only removes the need to use the Lendal Gyratory, but also the Micklegate Bar junction if you want to go out or come from Skeldergate Bridge or Bishopthorpe, all on nice quiet back roads.”
The main concern of members regarding onward connections was that the high quality cycle lanes directly outside the station will come to abrupt stops at the edge of the proposal area and users will find themselves with unsafe low quality advisory cycle lanes or no provision whatsoever. In order to be meaningful the provision put forward in this proposal needs to consider how it continues at its boundaries, and further future works need to build upon this initial introduction of infrastructure.
Tea Room Square
The proposed changes for Tea Room Square generated enough interest in initial discussions to be considered in the survey in its own right. Members welcomed the proposal to remove motor traffic from this area, but were concerned about how the implementation of this removal might impact cyclists & pedestrians. Of particular concern was the proposal that the route through the Square to Scarborough Rail Bridge should be a shared pedestrian/cycle space, which in members’ views had a potential for conflict between these two user groups. Respondents stated that they felt a shared space through this area which will be heavily used by pedestrians reaching the city and cyclists reaching the Rail Bridge will be inherently unsafe and prove dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists.
“Is this intended to be the way to bypass the station if you are using the proposed Scarborough bridge and not heading to the station? If so, I think it will be horribly congested and chaotic and no-one will benefit.”
Generally, members suggested that the cycle route through Tea Room Square should be confined to a defined cycle path running through the Square away from the proposed seating area. This cycle path should have a clear distinction of its limits using physical means such as half kerbs or coloured tarmac, and crossings where pedestrians have priority.
The Campaign’s members generally welcomed the declared intention to increase cycle parking, noting how difficult it can be to find spaces and peak times. Counts by the Campaign undertaken after the recent removal of abandoned bikes found occupancy on weekdays to be around 90%, and it can be expected that with improvements to cycle infrastructure to the station, the York Central development and increased cycle restrictions on local rail services, there will be significantly higher future demands for cycle parking.
“It would be brilliant if cycle parking is constructed in the same manner that can be seen in Dutch stations.”
Whilst being supportive of increased parking, many caviated their support dependant on the quality and type of parking made available. Concerns were raised about making sure that parking was located in a secure location with sufficient natural surveillance, as well as CCTV. The accessibility of the parking was also raised, with many commenting that the current two-tier racks in the short stay car park weren’t suitably sized for their bikes or that they were difficult to use due to mobility issues. Similar concerns were raised about the Sheffield stand parking by platform 1 with members recommending that the stands be further apart to facilitate easier access, particularly for non-standard bikes or those with mobility issues, and to prevent damage to parked bikes.
Suggestions were also made for priority parking areas, closer to the station facilities, for those cycliists that might have disabilities and be using their cycle as a mobility aid or have an adapted cycle such as a trike. Further suggestion were made for ‘family cycle’ areas to allow the parking of larger cycles adapted for the carrying of multiple children or cargo, a common feature in continental European stations.
There were also calls for more short stay racks, in the concourse area near key facilities (ticket office, toilets, retail units) to allow cycles to be locked up for short periods whilst people use the facilities. This would be particularly beneficial for train passengers who are taking their cycles with them rather than leaving their cycles at the station.
An issue raised by our members against all the sections, was the need to consider cyclists that fit outside of the generalised depiction of confident adult males riding standard framed bikes. It is a concern of these members, and York Cycle Campaign, that too often, the cycle provision is designed with traditional cyclists (male, able-bodied, on diamond-frame bicycles) in mind, a focus that tends to produce inaccessible, excluding and potentially discriminatory infrastructure.
To avoid this the detailed design should consider existing and potential cyclists that may have additional requirements and needs from the proposed cycle infrastructure due to factors such as age, disabilities, experience or use of bikes that differ from a standard frame e.g. cargo bikes, trailers & bikes adapted for disabilities. Consideration of such should inform all aspects of design, but particularly lane width, bollard spacing, parking and radii at corners.
“[Cycle lanes] need to be wide enough for the person on a bike (whether trike, tandem, cargo-carrying machine, trailer-toting, etc) to: be away from the kerb, able to avoid potholes, puddles, away from the motor traffic.“
Concern was also expressed about the loss of the current ‘Cycle Heaven’ store at the rail station, and the need to have a high quality cycle hire and repair shop at the rail station, to serve tourists, commuters, business travellers and residents alike.
“A cycle city needs a vibrant cycle hub at its heart, providing good quality hire cycles, left luggage facilities and on-the-spot repairs.”
Appropriate and consistent signage was also raised by respondents as something they’d like to see, with signage at key junctions indicating directions towards the station cycle facilities, and directions to onward destinations such as the city centre.
A number of respondents remarked on how having good quality cycling infrastructure at the station, a key ‘gateway’ into the city, would give a positive first impression to residents, commuters and visitors arriving to the city which is often thought of by visitors as a cycling city.
“Now let’s continue these protected lanes throughout the city and make York a true cycling city. This another opportunity to take a new transport direction in York and the opportunity should not be missed.”