Four ways to make York a greener city

8 Aug 2012 @ 10.32 am
| Opinion

Lendal Bridge, empty of traffic. Could this be made permanent? Photograph: CARLOS62 on Flickr
York businessman Geoff Beacon loves the city but wants to make it a greener, more pleasant way to live. In the first of his articles, he sets out simple ways to make this happen

The Green Piece

I rather like York council leader James Alexander despite his support for the very ungreen Monks Cross 2. When I speak to him he seems to be considering new ideas. He tells me he is keen on projects that will have the green impact. The proof of the pudding…

Can we give him some new ideas, to test him, which help make the York a green and pleasant place to live? Send your ideas to me at YorkMix and I’ll catch him and get a reaction.

And tell me what you think of these ideas as starters…

1. Shut Lendal bridge to traffic

Except bikes, public transport and electric cars. Remember the peace, quiet and clean air when it was being mended?

2. Extend hours of pedestrianisation and tighten up on the car cheats

Stop big lorries cramming Coney Street until well into the morning.

3. Make York a star city for electric vehicles

Give them the VIP treatment with better access and easier parking. Let’s have open air electric car concerts and reserved parking by the inside rails of the racecourse to watch the horses thunder by.

4. Give a council-sponsored prize for retailers who cut the use of glass bottles in York

Unless they are returned and reused. Recycling – grinding bottles back to glass dust to feed furnaces to create new bottles – doesn’t save much.

What do you think? Any green ideas of your own? Email me here – or add your thoughts in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Four ways to make York a greener city

  1. agree with Richard Lane, the obvious one – urgently needed – is to follow Harrogate’s example and withdraw backing for the incinerator, which will be a very expensive and outmoded white elephant, and add more toxins, dioxins, CO2 and general bad stuff to York’s already appalling air quality

  2. Keeping cars out makes a place so much nicer which in turn makes the people who use those spaces nicer. Keep the pressure up Geoff.

  3. Encourage more cycling. The number one reason that people cite for not cycling is the (perceived or real) danger of traffic. York, in spite of the relatively high numbers of cyclists and ‘Cycling City’ status is, as any cyclist will tell you, a deeply unpleasant place to ride a bike. It needs a multi pronged approach, with the police and council working together to reduce traffic speeds and come down hard on poor driving.

  4. Have green business awards for many categories eg travel reduction, water, packaging, heating, lighting, electricity, gas use, home working, e commerce, etc by size of firm

    Have an eco demonstration house built by eco pioneers like Native architects or ZedFactory and opem it to public and builders. Invite residents withow carbon homes to do open days. Persuade Portacabin to tool up to make eco buildings witha local supply chain.

    Close Davygate with a removable bollard in footstreet hrs (City Centre access ad hoc scrutiny propose this and it will be done as a trial for 18 months

    Build a pyroliser for dry waste to turn it into useable gas. This is now considered better than incineration.

    Have hire bikes, including solar charged e bikes. Eg at all park and ride sites and in town.

    Have an eco geniUS site sponsored by council.

    1. Re-invigorate York seems to be a partnership with city centre businesses and is chaired by Sir Ron Cooke. It has a mandate to ‘remove clutter’ and improve the quality of urban space within the city centre. Removing the splash palace and railings at the end of Parliament St is the sort of thing they want to see happen. Personally I’d like to see all those telecoms black boxes shifted too. I dont think they have a website or public meetings – perhaps we should suggest to James that they are web streamed so we can contribute to their ideas?

  5. One obvious one: pull out of the North Yorkshire incinerator – it’s a money burner and a disaster in terms of sustainable waste management.

    Roll out commercial waste recycling and city-wide compost collections.

    Support commercial cycling operations (bike taxis, rickshaws & deliveries – as per the long forgotten 2003 Freight Strategy), and get a transhipment depot working using space (could use space at Hospital Fields, James Street, the old Terry’s site or other locations!)

    And since we’re dreaming … make Coppergate one way (it’s too narrow for buses both ways plus servicing for the shops, plus tourists and shoppers spilling off the narrow pavements), and extend the footstreets to the railway station.

    1. Reinvigorate York is supposed to be looking at these ideas. One way for Coppergate is part of the Accessibility plan, but I think would be better if they could open up for right turns for buses and cycles from the A19 near the Postern gate. In the short term camera enforcement of the restriction to buses taxis and cycles should help to cut abuse of this route that is the root cause of some unreliable bus services across the city.

  6. York should introduce a ‘Park & Glide’ – a riverboat service from the out-of-town car parks into the city centre. Commuters are more likely to use a pleasant boat service to take them into the city rather than a bus that gets stuck in traffic.

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