Cycling is played a crucial transport role during the Covid-19 crisis, providing a safe means of transport for key-workers, enabling volunteers to deliver food and medication to those who are isolating, making green spaces accessible for those without access to gardens, and providing a much-needed safe means of exercise for ordinary people.
Social distancing is going to be necessary for many months to come. In order to cope with this the city needs to adapt its infrastructure to support people and enable them to continue carrying out essential tasks and exercising. We outline our reasoning more fully in our blog post. Over 250 people have now signed the York Cycle Campaign petition, which asks the council to create more safe space for cycling during the Covid-19 crisis. Below we outline the measures we believe need to be implemented.
- There is an urgent need to give pedestrians the space to pass safely on footways to meet public health guidance. In order to do this we ask City of York Council to reclaim road space and offer 3m safe width for pedestrians to pass safely in busiest locations, ie near shops, parks etc.
- On roads where this action reduces carriageway lane to less than 4m, we ask that City of York Council considers the temporary closure of one carriageway, and a one-way system for vehicle traffic. The closed space created from the closed carriageway can be re-allocated to cyclists and pedestrians.
- To reduce the pressure on York’s walk/cycle routes there is an urgent need to create alternative safe space for cycling on neighbouring roads. Our suggested list of roads is at the end of this document. On the main arterial routes light segregation, using intermittent bollards or armadillos, could be used to create widened cycle lanes. Bold solid lining (such as adhesive 3M STAMARK), and cycle symbols could also be used to create a temporary cycle lane. If needs be the carriageway can be narrowed, in order to create space for cycle lanes (see below for further detail).
- Existing cycle lanes should be resurfaced (as a margin repair if necessary) and widened to the recommended width of 2.0m. The condition of cycle lane surfaces along Tadcaster Road and Fishergate for example are atrocious and present a risk of increasing accidents and hospital admissions.
- Barriers present on many of York’s walk/cycle routes are significantly increasing congestion and preventing people from maintaining safe social distance. Furthermore the awkward nature of many of the barriers increases the risk of people having to touch hard surfaces, aiding the spread of Covid-19. We ask that barriers are relaxed during the Covid-19 crisis. In particular we believe the handlebar height baffles and wheel-grips on the Hob Moor barriers are particularly hazardous and should be removed. We’d also like to see gates locked open during times when stock are not grazing on the strays. On Walmgate Stray gates at the University and southern side have already been locked open, easing social distancing.
- There is a need for direct north-south cycle access across the city, particularly for those working at the hospital and doing deliveries by cycle. Given the significantly reduced footfall in the city centre we believe it would be prudent to temporarily permit cycling along some routes through the city centre during foot-street hours. This could be achieved with a simple TRO amendment (adding cyclists to the list of exemptions). The exemptions have just been amended to prepare the foot-streets area for the anti-terror moving bollards. To further facilitate direct north-south access for cyclists we ask that the implementation of the Groves Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) restrictions are fast-tracked. This especially helps key workers returning from the hospital area to east and south York. We would also like to see similar measures introduced on Navigation Road.
Further information on carriageway widths
Currently most vehicle carriageways in York are a minimum of 3.6m, however York Cycle Campaign understands that the upcoming Local Transport Note 1/20 will advise these can be reduced to 3.0m. The Cycle Design Guidance produced for the West Midlands, which is heavily influencing LTN 1/20, gives the following recommendation;
Whilst traffic lane widths of 3.65m (metrication of 12 feet) have often been provided as standard in the United Kingdom, lane widths of 3.0 metres have been used in many parts of the country on urban roads for some time, and can successfully accommodate most typical vehicles (including HGVs) at speeds up to 30mph.
Where flows of large vehicles are low, and speeds are modest (less than 35mph), lane widths as narrow as 2.75m can accommodate car traffic comfortably. Larger vehicles can pass one another at this width at lower speed with care, although some drivers may choose to encroach slightly outside of lanes to pass (i.e. into an advisory cycle lane). Lanes below 3.0m (2.75m if few busesor HGVs) require agreement with the Traffic Manager.Sections 2.10.5 and 2.10.6 of the West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance
Suggested list of road routes that require additional space creating for cyclists
To help cyclists avoid using Hob Moor and Knavesmire, the width of the cycle lane along large sections of Tadcaster Road could be significantly increased and still permit two-way traffic by removing the hatched centre.
Bishopthorpe Road (South of Terry’s)
To give an alternative to the busiest and tightest section of the solar system walk/cycle route out to Bishopthorpe.
To provide extra space for shoppers queueing outside the shops along the street and those trying to pass them.
Terry Avenue Alternative
Bishopthorpe Road or a route through the back-streets of South Bank with safe crossing points provided at Scarcroft Rd and Nunnery Lane (to give an alternative to Terry Avenue – this will be essential as Terry Av likely to close completely from middle of summer for one year at least).
To help cyclists avoid using New Walk/Tower Gardens. Needs to enable access to Fishergate Bar, to continue route across Hungate Bridge etc.
Kent St/Heslington Rd
To help cyclists avoid Walmgate Stray
Lawrence St/Hull Rd
To provide alternative to Foss Islands Route
To provide alternative to Clifton Backies and Bootham Stray
To provide alternative to Clifton Ings/NCN 65