The Green Party candidate for the Holgate by-election Andreas Heinemeyer has launched his campaign by demanding that the York Central masterplan must give greater consideration to the quality of life of existing residents.
Andreas said “ We cannot allow thousands of additional cars to crowd the roads. If York seriously wants to become the ‘Greenest City in the North’, York Central must be modelled on European examples like Vauban near Freiburg, where 70% of residents do not have a private car, with essential vehicle access to housing restricted to walking pace.” (1)
Andreas also said
“We need local councillors with the vision and grassroots support to make this a healthy new community that takes advantage of being within walking and cycling distance of the city centre and York station. This concept will be destroyed if through traffic is allowed to clog the new access road and the route under ‘Marble Arch’ to the city centre. A considerable proportion of funding for the new access to York Central is coming from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Fund which has a key principle of promoting carbon neutral development. If we are serious about creating a sustainable development at York Centralm we need to comply with the funding criteria and ensure that new car journeys are kept to an absolute minimum.”
Green Party councillors have been pressing for public transport priority through to the city centre, with the ‘Marble Arch’ section of Leeman Road reserved for buses, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists (at least during peak hours) in order to prevent the new area becoming clogged with commuter traffic.
Micklegate ward councillor and member of the York Central Community Forum, Lars Kramm, (whose ward includes the railway station end of the site) said,
“Green councillors have always supported the principle of developing the York Central site to provide a mix of housing and jobs. We have also argued that we need to improve air quality for existing and future residents by reducing carbon emissions and congestion and by using designs based on zero carbon principles. There is a huge opportunity to create a sustainable transport focussed development with a public transport priority route through it past the new entrance to the station but with no through access for other vehicles. A rapid, congestion-free public transport route into the city centre would draw many motorists out of their cars onto the park and ride or other local public transport, reducing congestion on Holgate Road and protecting air quality on the site and in other parts of the city.”
Master planning is a‘key decision point’, Andy D’Agorne who leads the Green Group said:
“We are at a crucial decision point in the masterplan which will determine the scale of parking provision and nature of vehicle access. Any general traffic route connection through to the city centre is only going to make air pollution and congestion worse on and around the site and keep York on a path to complete gridlock. We need a bold vision for the successful development of this huge new part of the city, one that is future proofed for the decades to come, not just more of the same old car-based development. It is crucial that the only through traffic on the site is sustainable public transport.” Andreas added “Options to restrict traffic under Marble Arch and along Leeman Road were included in earlier consultation documents and should be included now. It’s no good saying that this view can come out of the consultation process as we all know that more detailed modelling work is being done now – we need to see detailed options for closing Marble Arch and Leeman Rd to most vehicle traffic whilst providing for residents’ needs.”
1. Most of Vauban’s residential streets are described as stellplatzfrei – literally “free from parking spaces”. Vehicles are allowed down these streets at walking pace to pick up and deliver but not to park. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Vauban,_Freiburg
2. Hustings: York Central Action Group is holding a hustings at ‘The Holgate’ 6 New Lane off Acomb Road YO24 4NT on Tuesday 13th February at 7.30pm.