York Outer Ring Road Proposals

City of York Council have been holding a consultation on the proposed dualling of the A1237 (Northern Outer Ring Road) between Clifton Moor and the A64 Hopgrove Roundabout. As well as dualling the road along the existing route, the proposals include a shared cycle/footpath running parallel to the road and enlarging existing roundabouts along the route. More information about the scheme can be found on the Council’s consultation page, where you can also lodge a comment up until Monday 16th November 2020.

The proposed dualling section and roundabouts
Map data © Google

Below is a copy of the Campaign’s response to the consultation.

York Cycle Campaign is significantly concerned by the proposals put forward for the dualling of the A1237 and their lack of safe provision for pedestrians and cyclists. Whilst the proposed shared cycle track to run parallel to the scheme meets most the requirements in the latest cycle infrastructure design guidance, all but one of the roundabouts along the route fall woefully short. This is particularly pertinent as 20% of cyclists KSIs occur at roundabouts.

The Department for Transport’s Gear Change document is Government policy and needs to be embedded in City of York Council’s standards. In particular the following principles from Gear Change are not fully met by the current proposal:

1. Cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80.

2 Cyclists must be treated as vehicles and physically separated from pedestrians, with separate parallel routes at crossings and junctions.

3. Cyclists must be physically separated and protected from high volume motor traffic.

6. To receive Government funding for highways investment where the main element is not cycling or walking there will be a presumption that schemes must deliver or improve cycle infrastructure to the standards of the LTN1/20.

18. Cycle routes must flow, feeling direct and logical.

20. Designers of cycle schemes must experience the roads as a cyclist.

21. Schemes must be consistent.

The cycle campaign has undertaken an analysis of each roundabout using the Junction Assessment Tool provided within the DfT’s Local Transport Note 1/20, a tool which rates each potential movement through the junction for cyclists in order to give the junction an overall score in the form of a percentage. The document identifies 70% as the minimum acceptable score, and that there should be no zero scoring movements – only Haxby Road Roundabout passes these thresholds.

For all roundabouts, other than Haxby Road, the need to cross multiple lanes at once is the greatest issue against the guidance. Whilst not identified within the documentation, it is assumed that speed limits through the roundabouts would remain at 40mph, Table 10.2 of LTN 1/20 identifies the only crossing types suitable for any traffic flow at these speeds as being signalised or grade separated. 

Paragraphs 10.7.5 and 10.7.13 of the LTN identifies the safe way of accommodating cyclists at roundabouts with high volumes and speeds as providing protected space away from the carriageway, as is proposed, but accompanying this with signal-controlled crossings at entries and exits, or grade separation.

The document also specifically identifies in paragraph 10.4.8 ‘at higher speeds and traffic volumes uncontrolled crossings (such as those shown in the design proposals) are unlikely to meet the needs of all users’.

The Campaign believes that all crossings should be revised to provide signal controlled cycle crossings alongside pedestrian crossings for the safety of all vulnerable users in navigating the roundabouts, or further grade separation such as those used at Haby Road Roundabout and Strensall Roundabout.

Where grade separation such as tunnels is provided, a minimum head height of 2.7m should be maintained to enhance lighting and personal security, and gradients leading to and from should be within the parameters set in table 5.8.

Throughout the scheme, for the safety and comfort of both pedestrians and cyclists, the Campaign believes that shared paths should be amended to segregated cycle tracks of a minimum 3.0m wide kerb separated from a footway as recommended in sections 6.2 and chapter 8.

We also note that York’s Local Transport Plan follows guidelines set down in National Policy Guidelines, particularly seeking to reduce car usage and make greater use of walking, cycling and public transport. At the heart of York’s Transport strategy lies its commitment to a hierarchy of transport users, placing pedestrians at the top, followed by people with mobility problems, then cyclists, and placing motorists at the bottom. The current proposal fails to uphold this commitment.

Whilst the suitability and effectiveness of dualling the northern ring road is up for debate, the Campaign believe that any dualling scheme that does not provide adequate pedestrian and cycling facilities represents a waste of resources and funding for the people living and travelling to York regardless of how they would be using the ring road. By not providing adequate facilities the dualling scheme locks in the residents of the outer villages, current and future, to not being able to choose active travel modes to travel to the York Inner. This lack of choice embeds car dependency for residents and leads to increased pressure and strain on the road network, which will eventually erode attempts to increase capacity and fix in congestion and delays for those that choose to drive around the northern ring road.

Below is a summary of the results from each Junction assessment:

Clifton Moor Roundabout

Clifton Moor Roundabout scores 38% on the LTN 1/20 Junction Assessment Tool with twelve zero scoring elements out of 24 tests, all as a result of having to cross the ST14 Garden Village arm. 

All maneuvers that didn’t involve the ST14 arm scored full points when tested against roundabout criteria because of the ability to use the underpass.  When tested against generic junction criteria these movements only scored one point, as crossings are shared with pedestrians.

Wigginton Road Roundabout

Scores 15% on the LTN 1/20 Junction Assessment Tool, with only left hand (first junction) manoeuvres scoring a positive score which in themselves are limited to one point because of sharing with pedestrians.

All other maneuvers required crossing multiple lanes of traffic which leads to a score of zero.

Haxby Road Roundabout

The only roundabout to pass, scored 75% on the LTN 1/20 Junction Assessment Tool, scoring two points for each movement when tested against roundabout specific criteria. Like others when tested against general junction criteria the score was limited to one point due to shared path sections.

Strensall Road Roundabout

Scores 25% on the LTN 1/20 Junction Assessment Tool, mostly using points due to the need to cross multiple lanes of traffic without protection.

Monks Cross Roundabout

The lowest scoring roundabout, Monks Cross scores only 6% because of the amount of junctions that require crossing multiple lanes. Only two maneuvers score positive marks out of twenty.

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