The Campaign questions whether the proposals being put forward for Hospital Fields Road present best value for money for improving facilities for cycling within the city and increasing the modal share. We understand from the November executive meeting that £800,000 has been put towards the scheme, and is influenced by the route appearing in the council’s list of targeted routes. But we question whether the proposals will deal with the issues present on the stretch of road.
Hospital Fields Road is a 20 mph road with limited levels of traffic not being a through-route. Reference to figure 4.1 of LTN 1/20 indicates that the combination should likely be acceptable as mixed traffic or mandatory/advisory lanes.
When the Campaign ran the Safer Streets survey in 2020, two comments were given about the road itself. One regarding parked HGVs and other vehicles blocking the western end and the connection through to New Walk and the second regarding the quality of the road surface. Five further comments were given about the traffic light junction with Fulford Road at the eastern end, relating to the timing of the light phases and vulnerability of cyclists moving through with traffic.
In another Campaign exercise run this year in which members were asked to rate sections of the York cycle network as good, adequate, or poor, Hospital Fields Road was rated as adequate but with comments added of parked cars blocking cycle access again.
Reference to the STATS19 collision data through Bikedata.cyclestreets.net shows that between 1999-2021 there have been four reported collisions along Hospital Fields Road involving cyclists. All collisions involved cars pulling in/out of the junctions along the road and colliding with cyclists. A further six collisions have occurred at the junction with Fulford Road.
Servicing an industrial estate the junction radii are large to enable HGV movements, but this goes against best practice as it allows fast entry/exit into the junction by cars. Cycle collisions in York are twice as likely to happen at a junction than on a straight section of road, the Campaign wonders if money would be better focused on improving the safety for cyclists at junctions along the road and at the Fulford Road junction.
That said, of the proposal being put forward the Campaign’s views are;
That no improvements to cycle infrastructure should lead to the reduction in facilities for pedestrians so that they then fall below standard. This contradicts the hierarchy of needs, but can also lead to situations in which pedestrian overflow spills onto cycle infrastructure and causes conflict of space.
All options only bring improvements to the westbound cycle traffic with no benefit for returning traffic heading eastbound.
Options two to four could lead to waiting/parking vehicles abusing the cycleway for parking/loading for deliveries to the residential units or units within the industrial estate that are existing and proposed along the route, as it will be easy for drivers to mount the kerb to park off the main carriageway.
The light segregation of option one does bring the benefit that it would prevent parking in the cycleway, but will not bring increased safety at the junctions.