Lendal Bridge trial: York’s city centre vision

Artist's impression of Duncombe Place
22 Jul 2013 @ 1.43 pm
| News

City of York Council is inviting residents and businesses to learn more about the York city centre vision and its latest chapter of development – the repriortisation of vehicles on Lendal Bridge – through a series of drop-in sessions.

This vision for York’s future can be seen in a new video, above.

The latest plans to boost the city’s world-class status will trial the reduction of traffic in the corridor from the rail station to the heart of the city, supporting improvements for bus users, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Running for an initial period of six months from August 27, the trial will test how the transport network operates.

Cars, lorries and motorbike access on Lendal Bridge will be restricted inline with the existing footstreet hours between 10.30am to 5pm, seven days a week, which were extended throughout the city centre as part of an experiment to improve access within the city’s walls.

Buses, cyclists, pedestrians, taxis and emergency vehicles will continue to have full access over Lendal Bridge at all times.

Approximately £170,000 will be invested into the trial using Government funding awarded to the council through the Better Bus Area Fund (BBAF), in addition to contributions from the council’s capital programme.

Providing advice and information ahead of the trial, there will be a number of drop-in consultation events taking place on Parliament Street in the city centre on August 7-8, September 11-12 and October 5 in a public exhibition unit (opposite Marks & Spencer).

An artist's impression of Exhibition Square, illustrating the vision for the city centre. Images: City of York Council
An artist’s impression of Exhibition Square, illustrating the vision for the city centre. Images: City of York Council
Artist's impression of Duncombe Place
Artist’s impression of Duncombe Place

The i-Travel website will advise on journey planning and alternative modes of transport. This advice will also be available in person from the iTravel team in Parliament Street on Saturday, August 10 and Saturday, August 17.

The proposals also align with the plans outlined in the Draft Local Plan report (announced on April 12), which will see further investment into York’s economic, cultural and recreation offer which will support wider economic growth and create an environment which enables city centre retailers and businesses to thrive.

Feedback gained during the consultation will be used to inform any decision to make restrictions to 10.30am to 5pm permanent and / or aspire to further restrict hours from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week in the future.

Buses, cyclists, pedestrians, taxis and emergency vehicles will continue to have full access over Lendal Bridge at all times.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “In the 1980s bold and extremely controversial decisions were taken to implement the foot-streets area and close Deangate, removing 10,000 vehicle movements a day from in front of the Minster.

“It proved to be very successful, and was rapidly supported by retailers, residents and visitors alike, it now defines the way in which everyone accesses and uses the city centre and the Minster.

“These new public realm improvements and the removal of the bulk of traffic from the Minster / Exhibition Square / Lendal Bridge area is the next phase of improving the pedestrian environment and boost York’s world-class status, it will also help to reduce daytime congestion in the area and will be an important first step towards improving public transport reliability through the city centre.”

The trial will build on planned improvements to pedestrian access through the heart of York’s city centre and aim to reduce traffic congestion from York’s railway station, through to Exhibition Square and Duncombe Place.

Cllr James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council, said: “City centre congestion results in public transport which is less reliable and less efficient.

“These plans will begin to tackle an issue which was first formally recognised by the council over 10 years ago and identified in transport studies as far back as the 1970s.

“This trial is being carried out to help people move around the city more easily and ultimately allowing for a quicker flow of goods and services through York. We will closely monitor and review traffic movements throughout the trial before any future decisions are made on making this scheme permanent.


“People prefer to shop and do business in a more attractive environment. By reducing traffic through the heart of York’s city centre we aim to make pedestrians feel safer, make our city look more attractive and entice even more residents and visitors to shop.”

The scheme will work side-by-side with Reinvigorate York and the BBAF programme supported by £3.5 million funding awarded to the council in 2012, aimed at generating an 18 per cent increase in bus passengers in York over the next two-years.

The trial period will commence during August when traffic volumes are relatively low and pedestrian movements are high. York’s highest prolonged footfall period is throughout the summer months of August and September, with on average 3.5 million visitors.

The traffic network will be closely monitored throughout the trial to understand and monitor the redistribution of traffic on the network.

This will enable the council to ensure signal timings can be manually changed and help manage traffic flow throughout the city centre. The council will install automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) to enforce the restrictions.

Members approved plans in April to progress with the trial with an extensive period of consultation with residents and businesses planned over the next six months trial period.

For more information, visuals, FAQs and plans of the proposals please visit the council website.

Comments: Visit York

Jane Lady Gibson, Chairman of Visit York said, ‘York’s city centre is quite simply the most attractive and appealing in the country.   

“We are keen to support initiatives which encourage higher usage of park and ride services and help York continue to win such accolades as Britain’s Most Beautiful City. 

“We’re also keen to listen to the views of local businesses and residents to help make these new initiatives successful for everyone in York.’

First Bus Group

Giles Fearnley, National Director of UK Bus at First group plc, said: “I applaud the city council for trialling the closure of Lendal Bridge to general traffic.

“York is just such a great city and this will help to make whole environment so much better for residents and visitors alike. It will also enable busy bus services, including the hugely successful Park&Ride services, to run more freely through the city centre and therefore reduce overall journey times.

“We will use this opportunity to make our services more attractive and encourage many more people to use the bus, thus bringing further benefits to the city.”

Background

All council and Lord Mayor/ Civic Party vehicles will not be exempt from the restrictions.

York has a strong economy and was recently ranked the best performing authority in the region (by the Office of National Statistics) seeing the number of seeking private sector jobs increase by 13,500 over a two year period – an increase of around 20 per cent.

Research show that the largest percentage of those using Lendal Bridge were pedestrians (41 per cent). A smaller percentage of those were car users (25 per cent).

 


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