The Councillor for City Strategy, Dave Merrett, recently announced a long term transport plan for the city centre. This was building on the ‘York: The New City Beautiful” blueprint devised by Alan Simpson, which York Greens thoroughly endorsed.
This plan, with the rousing title ‘York City Centre Movement and Accessibility Framework’ represents real potential for creating a modern sustainable city that respects its historic inheritance. A similar approach taken more than twenty years ago in Copenhagen and Freiburg has resulted in vibrant economies with
good public transport, walking and cycling facilities and less than a quarter of all movements by private car. Gridlock is not the automatic outcome of reducing through traffic, as evidenced by temporary repair closures of Lendal Bridge and Gillygate in recent years. Inconvenient for some no doubt, but illegal health-damaging air pollution levels are spreading across the city centre. Action to tackle growing volumes of traffic is long overdue.
The decision to pedestrianise the footstreets twenty-five years ago saved the city centre, this latest bold plan is what is needed for the next decade to maintain York’s reputation as an attractive, safe historic city. We may not agree on every detail, but this is too important to turn into a political football for short term electoral advantage.
I would like to see all political parties to get behind this strategy and work together on its implementation so we can establish a sustainable future for York.