The March newsletter brings you up-to-date with what’s happening with the Clementhorpe flood alleviation scheme, and why we told people to get off their bikes. It also explains how to send in your response to the new consultation on proposed changes to the Bootham/Gillygate junction, planned for later this year. And you can also join in a Cycling UK campaign to suggest suitable routes for conversion into cycle paths. And, in the hope of more spring sunshine to come, tips on cycling when the sun is low in the sky.
Clementhorpe flood scheme
On Monday 1st March the Environment Agency started work on the Clementhorpe flood alleviation scheme. Terry Avenue will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists throughout March, whilst the preparatory work is done, but will close from around 1st April for at least twelve months. The cycle campaign has continued to engage with the Environment Agency and council but unfortunately we still have grave concerns about the scheme. With very great regret we have felt the need to warn cyclists to avoid the area during working hours, resulting in the following press coverage from YorkMix, York Press, and Road.cc.
We’ve drawn up an interactive map of what’s proposed in the latest Construction Traffic Management Plan, and the diversion routes proposed. We’re also continuing to discuss further mitigation measures with the council, and the council have agreed to pursue the following actions:
- Review of options for improving the Scarcroft Rd crossing.
- Review of potential to make use of Millfield Rd rather than Thorpe Street as route.
- Review of using St. Benedicts Road route rather than Swann Street as the signed route
- Investigation of options for the provision of a monitoring CCTV camera for the Bishopthorpe Rd/Butcher Rd junction to enable turning movements to be observed at key periods during the construction phase and checked against the Construction Traffic Management Plan.
- Review of the potential for warning signs at the crossing positions.
- Review of the layout of the bollards at the end of Butcher Terrace
- Changes to the bollards at road closure points on route to ensure sufficient width available.
We appreciate that some of our concerns are being taken seriously by the council but we are concerned that these actions will not provide suitable mitigation by the time Terry Avenue is closed. As a result we are investigating other means of addressing these issues. If any members can offer any legal expertise then we’d very much value your help.
Bootham junction consultation
Another consultation for you to take part in, if you haven’t already! The deadline is 31 March 2021, this time for Bootham Bar junction.
Works will take place later this year on the Gillygate, Bootham and St Leonard’s junction as part of the Traffic Signal Asset Renewal (TSAR) Project. Currently, the council is proposing two possible designs but there is little obvious benefit for cyclists in either proposal. Option ‘A’ is the simplest design with least change. Option ‘B’ would provide more pedestrian space and allow for an ‘all green’ pedestrian phase across all arms of the junction.
In your response, you might want to include the following points:
- the bus stop on St Leonard’s Place exits into the cycle advance stop area, leaving cyclists vulnerable to buses
- the cycle lane on Bootham leaving town should be continuous round the corner from St Leonard’s Place where there are already issues with close passes from vehicles turning left
- there is a gap in the cycle lane from Gillygate towards St Leonard’s Place
- the pedestrian waiting areas at both sides of Gillygate are too small for the number of people often waiting there
Maybe the Council needs to consider a more radical alternative, and consider bus-only or one-way options for Gillygate.
Cycling in a Medieval City: second chance to see the talk
Last month we were delighted to welcome Simon Munk from London Cycle Campaign to come and talk to us about Cycling in a Medieval City. Simon’s job includes lobbying City Hall and TfL for more and better cycle schemes, scrutinising major projects such as “Cycleways”, “Liveable Neighbourhoods” and “Safer Junctions”, and providing technical expertise and campaigning tactics where needed. If you missed the talk you can watch it on our YoutTube channel.
Those who walk in York to get their voices heard
Roger Pierce and transport guru, Prof Tony May are founding a new group ‘WalkYork’ to represent residents who walk to get from A to B, for leisure, or to appease their dog. It will sit alongside other interest groups like ours, to give those who walk round York as part of their everyday life a louder voice in consultations. WalkYork will operate via IT platforms, notifying members of proposed schemes so views can be collated and presented to decision-makers. WalkYork wants to work with the grain of local institutions and to join the policy community as a ‘critical friend’. Early soundings show that council officers welcome this new group.
Membership is free. To join, please email email@example.com giving your name, email address and telling us the areas of the city for which you would like to learn of proposals.
Roger and Tony also want to form a small, diverse steering group including younger people and a good gender balance. They particularly need someone to refresh the website and/or maintain the membership records. If you’re interested in the steering group, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 078 414 79 699.
Top tips: see and be seen in a dazzling low sun
Although we welcome sunny days, at this time of year the low angle of the sun can be dangerous, blinding cyclists and motorists alike.
To stop yourself being dazzled (and maybe developing a headache) you might want to get a suitable pair of sunglasses. As well as cutting down glare, they also stop insects and other small specks getting into your eyes, and reduce how much your eyes water if it’s windy. Be careful that the lenses aren’t too dark, or that – if they’re photochromic – they react quickly enough to changes in the light. If you’re often out in low light conditions (eg commuting early morning and late afternoon) you might want to consider cycling glasses. There’s a lot of choice out there, but be warned – some of the prices will make your eyes water. You could also wear a helmet with a peak (several are sold with detachable peaks) to act as a sun visor.
Your other main consideration in these conditions is to make yourself as visible to the motorist as possible. A very bright, flashing rear light will help draw attention to you and similarly, a pulsing front light (which does not need to be as bright as for night riding because it’s not illuminating your route). The colour of clothing isn’t so important because you’ll tend to show up as a silhouette, but you might want to choose bright colours that aren’t white or (since it’s not good in the dark) black.
The missing link(s)
Cycling UK is running a campaign to get more of Britain’s network of trails converted into cycle paths and is asking people to fill in their map and note where these paths exist. Head over to the Cycling UK missing links site and add any you know of.
City Centre Cycle Access
On Tues 9th February the council’s Executive Member for Transport considered a proposal put forward by the York IWGB couriers’ union to allow courier cyclists some access to the city’s foot streets. York Cycle Campaign spoke in support of enabling some cycle access to the city centre, but sadly the council rejected the proposal. We are continuing to explore ways in which cyclists can gain access to the city centre and remain committed to finding a way to make this happen.
NCN 65 safe for the time being
We were concerned to see the planning application for Northern House (the new ‘Roman Quarter’ proposal on Rougier St) included pedestrianisation and shared space for part of the NCN 65 riverside route and Tanner’s Moat. Cristian spoke on behalf of the campaign at the planning meeting and explained why we felt this aspect of the design was not suitable. Our concerns were discussed at the planning meeting and the plans for Northern House were rejected by the planning committee.
Wellington Row closure
We understand that the riverside path passing underneath Lendal Bridge and going past the City boat club (Wellington Row) will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists for 4 months starting from the 1st April. This is to enable the Environment Agency to fit new flood gates. Some months ago we asked the Environment Agency if we could be included in discussions about suitable diversion routes for cyclists. They said they would contact us nearer the time but haven’t contacted us as yet. We will continue to pursue this with both the council and Environment Agency and will make the case for safe and accessible diversion routes being provided for the duration of the works.
Barracks Path to open again
After one month of closure the Barracks Path (linking Fulford Rd with Walmgate Stray) is due to open again on Monday 8th March.