July 2020 Newsletter

A bumper issue this month includes some heartening news about York’s share of the initial Emergency Active Travel fund, an update on the Flood Alleviation scheme planning meeting, and another in our regular series Wheel Spiels. Along with yet another great cycle trail from tireless members Rebecca and Rob and much more…

York outdoes itself in first phase of Government funding

In the June issue, we told you how YCC and the Civic Trust had worked with City of York council on their proposal for the Government’s Emergency Active Travel funding. We’re delighted that the Council have been awarded £193,000 from the first tranche of the fund, £20,000 more than the initial allocations indicated. This suggests that the Government favoured the proposals put forward in York’s bid.

Below we list the 13 measures that were included in the final proposal sent in by City of York Council to the Government. The Cycle Campaign is continuing to work with the Civic Trust in following up progress on these proposals, supporting the council where possible, and starting to think about what we might like to see included in the proposals for the second tranche of Government funding (potentially some £650,000).

  1. Extension of Park & Cycle facilities at two Park & Ride sites (Rawcliffe Bar and Askham Bar).
  2. New and enhanced lightly segregated/widened cycle lane(s) on the first Park & Cycle corridor (on Shipton Road/Bootham route) – temporary trial.
  3. Extension of city centre cycle parking to increase capacity at arrival points from enhanced routes.
  4. North-South cross-city-centre cycle route improvements including better signing and traffic restrictions to prioritise cycling.
  5. Temporary road-space reallocation on dual carriageway sections of the inner ring road (westbound Castle Mills Bridge trial).
  6. Trial closure of The Groves area to through-traffic (except cyclists and local access) so shops, hospital etc are more accessible by sustainable modes of transport and to enable social distancing.
  7. Improvements for cyclists on narrower carriageways eg city centre bridges by using cycle logos in the carriageway, coloured surfacing and ‘Do not overtake Cyclists’ signage.
  8. Temporary conversion of city centre road from 2-way to one-way with widened footways and contraflow cycle lane (Coppergate).
  9. Supporting the extension of the City Centre pedestrianised area to include key peripheral city centre access streets and to reduce circulating traffic to enable social distancing (Blake St, St. Helen’s Square and Lendal, and Goodramgate, Church St, St Sampsons Square, Kings Square, Colliergate). (Temporary initially, with a view to making it permanent if successful).
  10. Temporary footway widening and lane closure to accommodate social distancing on local shopping streets (continuing the Bishopthorpe Road temporary closure of outbound lane to accommodate social distancing and queuing outside local shops on narrow footways).
  11. Localised temporary measures to accommodate queuing outside city centre shops without blocking the footway.
  12. Upgrade existing automatic cycle counters on strategic corridors to enable a higher frequency of data availability to show trends more readily and prioritise future investment plans.
  13. Adjust signal timings at major junctions on Inner Ring Road to improve pedestrian access to city centre and reduce clustering on kerbs and in pedestrian islands.

Safe Streets York

Over 800 people have now provided more than 3500 contributions. The map has already proved useful in designing the new cycle infrastructure for phase 1 of the Government’s Emergency Active Travel measure (see above), and now the council is using it to inform the proposals for phase 2. So keep adding your cycling bugbears!!

Visit SafeStreetsYork.Commonplace.is

Wheel Spiels: Overcoming the “shame” of cycling

Sarah’s childhood enthusiasm for cycling dwindled as she lived in places where cyclists were a derided minority and she was plagued by cycle thefts. Read about Sarah’s conversion from car to bicycle and her enthusiasm for the Safe Streets York initiative.

Update on the Clementhorpe Flood Alleviation scheme

The Clementhorpe Flood alleviation scheme was approved by the planning committee on 11th June. For those who have 4 hours or so to spare you can see a webcast of the meeting here.

A large part of the meeting was dominated by concerns about the traffic management plan. Maeve Pearson spoke on behalf of the Cycle Campaign and gave a really clear account of our ongoing concerns surrounding safety for cyclists. Others, including the Civic Trust, also highlighted the serious failings in the road safety audit and traffic management plan. Many councillors asked probing questions and it was good to finally see some kind of cross-examination occur. At the end of the meeting councillors agreed to pass the plans, but with the condition that Environment Agency revisit the traffic management plan to try and address the concerns that had been raised. The revised traffic management plan will then be returned to the chair of the meeting (Cllr Michael Pavlovic) and deputy chair (Cllr Andrew Hollyer), and they will have the final decision on whether enough has been done to mitigate the risks.

Since this meeting the Cycle Campaign has been working with Micklegate ward councillors, the Civic Trust, Friends of Rowntree Park and residents of the Butcher Terrace area, to draw up a list of identified risks and suggested controls, along with a suggested diversion route for cyclists. We have submitted this to Cllr Pavlovic and Cllr Hollyer, and hope that it will help to inform the revisions that the Environment Agency makes to the traffic management plan.

Improving access for cyclists with disabilities

Member Jamie Wood with the UK’s first designated rack for cyclists with the disabilities here in York at the University of York

We are very conscious that several cyclists, including some of our members, have mobility issues that may mean they ride non-standard cycles and they may also find it difficult or impossible to get round on foot. The excellent charity Wheels for Wellbeing has produced a Guide to Inclusive Cycling and we support their recommendations post-lockdown. We have written to the council asking them to implement two of the suggested measures in particular (reserving 5% of city centre cycle racks for disabled/family/cargo cycles, and allowing Blue Badge holder to cycle slowly and carefully along footstreets).

New: ‘Inexplicable York’ bike trail

Fancy a tour of some of York’s oddest sights? Then you want Rebecca Lack and Rob Ainsley’s latest cycle trail. 16 of the city’s strangest and most puzzling sights including a hill you can freewheel up, a mystery railway frieze in M&S, a rocket, a sign that prohibits itself, a cycle path to nowhere and much more. Allow half a day to do the whole circuit of 24 miles, or you can easily shorten it if you don’t want to do it all at once.

In other news…

Save the date!

On Saturday 1st August we’ll be celebrating Yorkshire Day with our first physical event of the year, in the form of a cycle treasure hunt. The event will be held in a way that wholly respects the current COVID-19 guidance at that moment in time as a minimum.

We’ll email with more details shortly but put the date in your diaries now.

Have your say

The council has asked us to tell you that its ‘Big Conversation’ survey has gone live on its website, if you wish to fill it in (takes about 15 minutes).

Incentive support scheme

Oxford Friends of the Earth are asking the Government to develop an incentive support scheme for E-bikes now. The government has pledged to ‘create a new era for cycling and walking’ and are also considering a plan to support car-owners to move from petrol / diesel cars to electric vehicles. These may cut carbon but do nothing for walking and cycling, so an incentive scheme for e-bikes is needed as well. Similar schemes already exist in other countries. If you want to lend your support, write to your MP to ask them to push the Department for Transport to set this up for the UK. There is a ‘template letter’ and other information here.

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