Cllr Denise and Cllr Andy give their expert views here on bus ‘improvement’ measures on Wiggington and Haxby Roads after they spoke at the Transport Decision Session on 17th May.
The public consultation will take place in June. They also met with the officer beforehand and discussed a lot more about what potentially far more radical measures might look like.
Denise’s focus on: North York Bus Improvement
Traffic levels and air quality are key issues in this part of the city and with the Nestle South development and development sites in the Local Plan to the north of the city being proposed with well over 1,000 new dwellings, it is crucial that we look at how we can create excellent public transport and encourage more people to leave their cars at home more of the time = so I’m glad this consultation is coming forward.
The question that many people will ask, however, is how much difference will the £250,000 being spent on these measures make to the speed and attractiveness of bus journeys along Haxby and Wiggington Roads and is it worth that much money? The answer seems to be that it will hopefully make a small improvement, mainly by re-modelling the junction of Haxby, Wiggington, Clarence and Lowther Streets – but that is all. It may be worth it in the sense that this is the only option on the table in the absence of a bolder political vision – and this is apparently the last of the funds available in the Better Bus Area Fund – so no immediate option to extend the scheme without finding additional funds.
I’m under no illusion that making a more radical improvement to public transport in this area would be easy, but we will have to tackle things that are not easy if we are to avoid gridlock and keep a good quality of life in our neighbourhoods. Ways to implement more radical solutions such as bus lanes and bus gates that give public transport far more priority than ‘general traffic’ will have to be found, rather than simply fiddling round the edges.
There are some specific issues which I hope will be fully explored during the consultation. These include the proposals for the Fountayne Street junction. Some elderly residents have already expressed concerns about the difficulty of turning out of here because of traffic failing to slow down or let people in – these proposals could make this more difficult unless other measures can be found to improve the exit.
It is also very unclear from this paper how the Council intends to ensure that high frequency bus services, which will be crucial to minimise car use, will be provided for the Nestle South site. It seems that the modelling work in this paper hasn’t fully accounted for the real life bus route scenarios that we need to look at to support Nestle South – which is very disappointing.
In a similar way, there are questions about the impact the changes at the Wiggington/Haxby Rd/ Clarence St/Lowther Street junction might have on other work which I believe is underway looking at how we can deter through traffic along Lowther Street as part of the Groves Regeneration Project. I’d still like more clarity as to who will benefit and by how much from the changes at this junction. I hope all this will come out in the consultation.
Andy’s speech to Executive:
“On behalf of residents of Barbican Mews I would urge the introduction of yellow lines as proposed as quickly as possible to remove the hazard to the many people crossing the road close to this point as well as the pavement parking obstruction to elderly people using the footpath. I would also appreciate some monitoring as per the recommendation to consider if further restrictions are needed to maintain safe access to these dwellings. I also support the proposal for Farrar St.
Bus improvements should also look at future needs of residents moving to the Nestle South development. It is likely that planning approval will condition bus shelters and real time displays so this project should be assuming that at least one of the existing frequent services will be diverted to serve the new estate. Apart from anything else, all journey times will become much worse in the area if an additional 400 car journeys are added to peak time movements. Actions which speed up journey times by impacting on delays to pedestrians or discouraging cycling should be ruled out – journey time is only one important element of enhancing the attraction of bus travel, as is noted in the consideration of moving bus stops closer to the hospital.
Removing bus stops is not the answer, unless they are being re-provided in more convenient locations. While I accept the difficulties with physical constraints, ultimately more radical priority for public transport in the form of bus lanes is the only solution, perhaps by designating a short section of Haxby Rd inbound for bus only use during the daytime. Remodelling the Union Chapel junction could be beneficial but the walking and cycling forum and cycle organisations should be consulted to ensure safety improvements for sustainable travel as a whole.”