February 2022 Newsletter

As you cycle around in the next few weeks, make sure you take time to admire the snowdrops that are popping up all over – a delicate but brave little flower that is a harbinger of spring. And there’s some other cheering news for you this month that bodes well for the future: Active Travel England will be based in York, the proposed redesign for Piccadilly is to be re-thought, and we have a Social planned for 28th February – clear your diaries now!

Active Travel HQ in York

In January, the Department for Transport announced the creation of a new executive agency, Active Travel England (ATE). And for those of you who haven’t heard, its headquarters will be in York. Yippee! We gathered to welcome them on the day that the announcement was made, and appeared on both BBC Look North, and the national news with Nicola Normandale providing a super quote for the news. 

ATE will award project funding from the active travel budget and inspect highways authorities for their performance on active travel, highlighting issues facing cyclists and pedestrians. Chris Boardman is the first Active Travel Commissioner, and the agency becomes fully operational later this year. 

Piccadilly 

Last summer the cycle campaign kicked off about the appalling proposed redesign for Piccadilly. We’re pleased to see that our concerns appear to have been listened to, with the council’s most recent Capital Programme announcing that funding has been put aside to amend and improve the design for Piccadilly – hurrah! We’ve asked that the cycle campaign is involved in the redesign from an early stage.

Civic Trust Transport Strategy 

York Cycle Campaign is delighted to see the publication of the Civic Trust Transport Strategy for York, due out soon, and supports the recommendations they make. The Cycle Campaign provided feedback on the report, and whilst not all of our recommendations were included, we feel that if adopted this strategy would set York on the right path to becoming a cycling city. 

Five wins for your ward

Join us at 7:30pm on Thursday 10th February for a zoom meeting, led by retired transport planner Tim Pheby, to learn how ward volunteers can make a difference in their ward, and suggestions of five wins you can achieve in your ward. Sign up via the members area on our website, and make sure your preferences indicate that you are happy to be a ward representative. We’ll send the zoom link out to ward representatives on the day.

Planning updates

Robyn spoke about the Tadcaster Rd plans and capital transport budget for the coming year. 

We’ve submitted an objection to the National Railway Museum’s planning application for additional museum space, on the grounds of the damage that these plans will bring to active travel in York. 

We spoke at the recent planning committee meeting on the proposed student accommodation at the Mecca Bingo site on Fishergate, and the Alton cars site on James St, asking for more cycle parking and better cycle access in both cases. The Mecca Bingo development was approved, and although we still have concerns about some aspects of it, we are pleased that a number of issues that we raised have been addressed, including provision for more cycle parking and additional entrance/exit points for cyclists. The Alton cars development was refused and we will continue to follow any future plans for this site.

Introducing the YCC committee

At our recent AGM a new committee was elected. The members are as follows, and you can read more about them on our website:

Robyn Jankel – Chair

Juliet James – Secretary

James Euesden – Treasurer

Gavin Welch – Membership

Nathan Horner – Campaigns

Andy Shrimpton – Recruitment

Kate Ravilious – Press

Gareth Dennis – Policy & Infrastructure

John Skelton – Accessibility

Improving New Walk and surrounds

After an unpleasant incident with an abusive cyclist on New Walk (the riverside path) Phil and Norma Heaton contacted the Campaign. Along with Kate Ravilious and Chris Copland (our Fishergate ward reps) they inspected the signage on posts and on the path surface. The four have submitted their findings to the Council. The report asks for: a consistent regime for all of the routes; the signage and paintwork on the ground is altered to ensure consistency along the route, and follows best practice and government guidance; pedestrian/cycle/scooter counts are carried out at various locations along the routes on busy days, in order to understand how many people are using it and how best to interpret the government guidance; ‘Keep Left’ signs should be reintroduced at least for Millennium Bridge. We hope this is sorted out comprehensively, consistently and quickly before someone is injured especially as the busier summer months approach.  

Slip sliding away

We heard multiple reports of cyclists falling off their cycles on Friday 17th December, including a number of nasty falls on the Foss Islands path – a route that is supposed to be on the council’s winter treatment ‘baby-gritter’ round. We got in touch with the council to find out why these priority routes were so icy and were told that there had been a technical fault on the salt spray equipment, meaning that the treatment hadn’t worked. The council have apologised, and hopefully priority walk/cycle routes will stay ice free in future. Please let us know if you encounter any problems. 

Does your bike need to see the doctor?

Several free drop-in bike doctor events are running across the winter months thanks to funding from Cycling UK. These events will include free bike safety checks whilst teaching you the basics of bike maintenance. 

Roll up, roll up for the next members’ social

Our next meeting is on Monday 28th February at 7:45pm. Come and find out what’s happening in the cycle campaign just now, and share your ideas and frustrations! We hope to have this event in person, in the Lounge at the Winning Post pub on Bishopthorpe Road. We’ll email more details nearer the day, or the Zoom link if Covid doesn’t allow an in-person meet.  

And in other news…

Other activity by the Campaign this month includes:

  • Kate Ravilious and Chris Copland met with ward councillors and Sustrans to look at improvements to the walk/cycle provision in the New Walk area.
  • Jamie Wood and Andy Shrimpton appeared on the national BBC news and BBC radio York to talk about the changes in the Highway Code.  
  • John Skelton has written to Neil Ferris (Corporate Director of Economy and Place) asking why there has been so little progress on the removal of barriers across the city, and what has happened to the £100k that was put aside to review inaccessible barriers. 

Get Involved

We’re making it easier to get involved in Campaign activities. You can now sign-up to be part of several teams in the Campaign and receive emails when there’s opportunities to take part in activities. To find out more visit our Get Involved page on the website. If you’ve signed up we hope to be emailing out soon.

Renew by Direct Debit

It’s now possible to pay for your membership by Direct Debit, if you’d like to take advantage of this look for the new GoContactless Direct Debit option when you get your membership renewal.

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