‘Golden opportunity’ to turn more of York’s road space over to cyclists and pedestrians

Vancouver's separated bike lanes have significantly increased cycling. Photograph: Paul Krueger on Flickr
5 May 2020 @ 8.15 am
| News

One lockdown legacy could be ‘a series of transformative, safe travel corridors for pedestrians and cyclists’ in York, according to councillors.

With fewer cars on the roads and an upturn in people cycling and walking there have already been moves to give them more room.

Deputy council leader Andy D’Agorne has asked contractors to leave the cones out from now completed roadworks near Fishergate gyratory, on order to keep a temporary cycle lane.

And Labour councillors say York now has a chance to trial more of these sorts of measures with a view to permanent change.

Improve the environment

Cllr D’Agorne has asked for the cones to be left for cyclists

The move could improve the city centre environment for residents right across the city, says Cllr David Heaton:

“We could join the likes of Milan, Brighton, Vancouver and Berlin as cities taking the opportunity now to set out a vision for liveable cities in the years ahead, helping to tackle the problems of air pollution and premature deaths at the same time.

“Cities around the world are transforming roads into bike lanes to give residents space to exercise, while at the same time taking pressure off leisure routes and narrow cycle paths to allow social distancing.”

Easing of the current lockdown is likely to be gradual, Cllr Heaton said, enabling the council to test out the impact of specific changes in different scenarios. 

“It is a golden opportunity to see what changes work well and which ones we might wish to see continued.”

He said there’s a “long-standing problem of insufficient road space over bridges in the city centre to accommodate both motor vehicles and bicycles”.

And he urged Cllr D’Agorne to “look at allocating clearly designated cycle lanes across the city centre to reduce any potential conflict between cyclists and pedestrians”.

Cllr Jonny Crawshaw added: “With the public now able to clearly see and experience what benefits there are in having far fewer cars on the road, now is the time to make York’s road network a truly sustainable transport system, and one that supports heathy living for all York’s residents.”