August 2020 Newsletter

Phew; where did July go? As always there has been a lot of campaign activity going on over the last month. We have some great news to report, with success for cyclists in the latest York Station front design. Martin regales us with tales of ‘The Wrong Trousers’ and two York women make it into Cycling UK’s top 100 women in cycling list. But it isn’t all easy riding. Tomorrow morning we are holding a protest to work with us and try to secure £850,000 of active travel funding to create the cycle network that we all want to see.

Come protest with us!

Over £800,000 of Government funding is up for grabs to boost walking and cycling across the city, but the council’s proposals for the second tranche of funding are lacklustre and fail to meet the Government’s conditions. York’s chances of being awarded this sizeable sum are being squandered.

Join us this Monday morning (3 August) for a socially distanced gathering outside the council’s West Offices at 8:30am, followed by a go-slow ride over Lendal Bridge to York Minster to make our feelings known.

Over 3500 people have signed the petition to ‘make room for walking and cycling’ and in recent weeks York Cycle Campaign and York Civic Trust have gathered together members with a wide range of transport expertise to draw up a suggested list of proposals for the Government funding, focusing on continuous protected cycle routes that give people the option to travel safely all the way from the outskirts of the city to the centre. In particular their suggested routes focus on enabling children to travel to school safely and providing commuters with an alternative to the bus or car.

By contrast the city council has drawn up a piecemeal and temporary collection of proposals, which completely fail to meet some of the key principles laid out in the Government guidelines for example having a holistic, connected network approach that helps deliver significant health, environmental and congestion benefits.”

A cycle route is only as good as its worst section, and in the YCC’s opinion the proposals being put forward by the council fail to tackle some of the most difficult and dangerous gaps in the cycle network such as the city centre bridges and narrow sections along major roads.

The campaign and Civic Trust are asking the council to work with them to enhance the city’s funding bid and to grasp this unique opportunity to create a new era for cycling and walking in York.

Wheel Spiels: The wrong trousers?

Read about key moments in Martin’s cycling life, from childhood adventures to riding a folding bike as a roadie with Judas Priest, to being restricted to York during the pandemic. Martin tells us how his frustrations with local cycling provision found a constructive outlet once he joined YCC.

Good news for cyclists on York Station front

The YCC’s objection to plans for the redesign of York Station front has led to some changes that will make it much more cyclist-friendly. The Council have taken on board the points we made in our lengthy, evidence-based objection that called for the northbound segregated cycleway on Queen Street to be reinstated in their plans, and done exactly that. Even better, they have explicitly acknowledged the risk that we highlighted of ‘dooring’ that the previous on-road cycle lane would have resulted in, and the fact that – as our objection argued – a segregated cycleway would ensure better compliance with national and local planning requirements. And most unexpected is that they have proposed to move the residents’ car parking currently on Queen Street to Micklegate or elsewhere (an approach – credit where it’s due – suggested by Cycle Heaven in their objection).

There remain a few aspects that we’ll be commenting on and suggesting minor amendments to, plus it has yet to be approved by the Planning Committee, but as the Committee usually goes with officer recommendations, chances are this will happen.

This is a major victory for us. We were really up against it when highways officers appeared to side with the handful of residents on Queen Street who wanted no cycleway between their houses and parked cars, backed by a somewhat controversial “safety review” provided by the Council’s road safety audit team. The highways officers we spoke to indicated that they would only be prepared to amend their designs if we could show this review to be misplaced in some way, which is why our objection contained two and a half pages outlining 13 flaws with the review. Even so, change wasn’t guaranteed, so to have this outcome, and the knowledge that the number of cyclists on this route should double as a result, is an amazing feeling!

Survey shows majority want greener, safer streets

For every one person who opposes new cycle infrastructure there are more than six of us who would like to see our streets re-designed to support walking and cycling. But sadly the positive comments are often outweighted by the naysayers. A new survey shows that over half of people say they would cycle more if they were better protected from motorists and 80% of people would like to see cities designed for people on foot and cycle.

Two York Women make top 100 women cyclists list

Two women from York have made Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling list, including our own co-chair Kate who is recognised as a “cycle influencer”. Congratulations to Alice and Kate! Read their biographies here:

Missing treasure

Sorry we had to cancel our Treasure Hunt planned for Saturday 1st August. We’ve had to put our time and energy into putting together proposals for the second tranche of Government Emergency Active Travel Fund, due to be submitted by City of York Council at the end of this week. We hope that our work will pay off, and we’ll reschedule the treasure hunt for a later date.

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