Ninety-seven percent of York Cycle Campaign members want restrictions on motorised traffic in Micklegate, according to a poll of members. The poll was carried out in preparation for a Campaign statement to the 13 September Decision Session of the Executive Member for Transport & Planning, Cllr Peter Dew. Cllr Dew was being asked to make decisions on a number of transport issues, including whether motorised traffic should be temporarily restricted in Micklegate, and if so how.
By far the most popular option for restricting motorised traffic amongst Campaign members, at 69%, was that which both prevented motorised traffic from entering Micklegate at George Hudson Street and exiting through the Bar. Second most popular, at 25% of Campaign members, was the Council’s recommended option, of preventing traffic only from exiting Micklegate through the Bar. Members were however united on the desirability of reducing motorised traffic in Micklegate, saying that it had “always been a terrible route for cyclists” due to traffic, and that removing traffic would boost air quality, make cycling there “less stressful” and make it easier to stop at shops.
In response to a statement made at the Decision Session on behalf of York Cycle Campaign by its Communications Officer Robyn Jankel (the webcast for which can be viewed on YouTube here), Cllr Dew acknowledged that cyclists preferred the most restrictive option being considered. He said however that this was only a temporary restriction, and could be amended after six months following further representation. He subsequently gave his approval that motorised traffic should be prevented only from exiting through Micklegate Bar, adding that this should be made sufficiently clear to those entering at George Hudson Street to ensure traffic did not simply enter and exit at the same point.
Also considered at the Decision Session was the proposed design of the widened Monks Cross roundabout. Following a public consultation earlier in the year, the proposals for the roundabout had been revised to include provision for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate it safely. The proposed addition of this infrastructure enjoyed support from 88% of York Cycle Campaign members, who felt it would future-proof the roundabout, and allow for a largely off-road east-west route from Clifton Moor in the west to North Lane in the east. In his response, Cllr Dew asked the engineer whether he felt the proposed infrastructure would provide sufficient safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The engineer confirmed that he thought it would, as the revisions included plans to acquire sufficient land to provide the necessary links. Cllr Dew duly gave his approval.
Finally, in her statement Robyn welcomed the detailed consideration of equalities legislation by Council officers when examining the effect that adverts on pavements could have on disabled pedestrians. She called for such consideration to be more routinely published for transport decisions that affected cyclists, given the evidence that a lack of segregated infrastructure is disproportionately dissuasive to would-be cyclists who are female, disabled or elderly.
The full statement follows below:
Two items on this agenda have direct implications for cyclists in York, and we have again polled our growing membership for their views, 34 of whom responded.
Starting with item 9, namely whether motorised traffic should be prevented from using Micklegate, and if so how, 69% of Campaign members supported Option 2 i.e. motorised traffic be prevented from both entering via George Hudson Street, and exiting through the Bar. Members felt this would make cycling uphill in Micklegate “less stressful”. It would also improve road safety and air quality, create the opportunity to widen footways, replace car parking with parklets, and make it easier to stop at shops. Finally, members called for enforcement with bollards rather than signs which might be ignored.
By contrast, option 3, that traffic should only be prevented from exiting through Micklegate Bar, and indeed the option recommended in the officer’s report, was supported by just 25% of Campaign members. These members said they were “especially keen to see traffic restricted through Micklegate Bar” as it had “always been a terrible route for cyclists” due to traffic, which makes that route dangerous and slow.
Turning to item 5, the design of Monks Cross roundabout, an overwhelming majority of members – 88% – said that the roundabout’s widening should include infrastructure allowing cyclists to navigate it safely. Members felt that such infrastructure would future-proof the roundabout for cyclists and provide for a largely off-road east-west route stretching from Clifton Moor in the west to North Lane in the east. In fact we wonder why such infrastructure is not built as standard, considering its relatively low cost and high benefits. We therefore welcome the cyclist and pedestrian facilities provided in the updated plans.
Finally, on item 6, we are pleased to see detailed consideration of the Equality Act 2010 and public sector equality duty in the officer’s report on how adverts on pavements might affect disabled pedestrians. Less encouraging in our view is just how rare such acknowledgements are in officer reports, particularly those on measures affecting cyclists. Attitudinal surveys and evidence from the Netherlands show that separated cycleways have a disportionately positive effect for female, disabled and elderly cyclists, all of whom are underrepresented in York. Electing to omit such separated cycle facilities in our transport network is thus arguably discriminatory, putting the Council at risk of legal challenge. So we call on council officers to routinely publish their detailed considerations of equalities legislation for transport decisions affecting cyclists.
In summary, a clear majority of York Cycle Campaign members want motorised traffic to be prevented from both entering Micklegate from George Hudson Street and exiting through Micklegate Bar. A still larger majority back proposals to include infrastructure enabling cyclists to navigate Monks Cross roundabout safely. Lastly, we remind Council officers of the importance of equalities legislation for cyclists.