Climate emergency and local transport
As a lifelong transport campaigner it is an honour to be
taking on this challenging role at a time when our council along with about 100
others has committed to slowing climate breakdown by rapid cuts to carbon emissions.
Whether or not we achieve zero carbon by 2030, early wins achieve greater
savings and can have the added health, social and independence benefits of
active travel as a lifestyle choice for the next generation growing up in York.
The ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ report from The Centre for
Alternative Technology estimated the potential to cut energy demand from
transport by 78% by 2025 through reducing the need to travel and changing how we
do it. Transport is still the fastest growing source of emissions and with York
expanding we have a greater potential than many communities to lock in benefits
of attractive walking, cycling and public transport options, while at the same
time tackling challenges of air quality, congestion and potholes.
Electric vehicles for park and ride service and York’s
clean air zone
In the coming year we
will continue to develop our electric charging network with the addition of the
hyper hub facility. The introduction of 21 electric double decker park and ride
buses from November this year will be a major step forward in preparing us for
the bus-based clean air zone for the city centre next year.
The anti-idling message for diesel and petrol engine
vehicles was well promoted on Clean Air Day backed up with the signs at key bus
stops – a long time coming but now in place. We do now benefit from some evening
park and ride services including some additional intermediate stops to help
enhance our evening services to suburban areas en route and we will shortly be
considering the outcome of tenders for the subsidised evening and No 20 routes.
I am keen to work with parish councils, ward councillors, bus operators and
businesses to do more to promote public transport, explore cost effective ways
to respond to changing demands and promote access to a wider range of services
The new park and ride hospital service is an example of how
work with major employers and key destinations can help to reduce the need for car
travel into our city. Similarly I have recently met with officers and ward
councillors to look at the plans to ensure that fans going to the new stadium
later in the year will have shuttle buses from the station and potentially from
other park and ride sites on key match days.
Work on expanding the capacity of roundabouts on the outer
ring road will continue, helping to prepare for extra traffic that might be
created with the opening of the stadium and related facilities there. I am also
keen to explore the potential for creating wildflower verges to help biodiversity
and pollinators, following on from examples in Lincolnshire and Rotherham.
City centre access
In the city centre I expect to be working closely with the
Business Improvement District, officers and representatives of disability
groups to secure vehicle access control to the footstreets to keep residents
and visitors safe but also ensure that everyone who needs mobility support can
access shops and services. This may also provide opportunities to develop
better wayfinding and use the Castle Gateway and Minster Neighbourhood Plan
work to secure safe and clearly defined cycle routes across the city centre.
Walking and cycling
Work on our local cycling and walking infrastructure plan in
consultation with our West Yorkshire Combined Authority partners will I hope
put us in a good position to secure funding beyond March 2020 for the essential
travel planning and sustainable travel promotion work of the itravel York team.
Their expertise and involvement in major developments such
as York Central, British Sugar site etc will be vital to help us to reduce congestion
and promote walking and cycling as preferred modes of travel across the whole
council area. We have a number of opportunities to really make a step change in
walking and cycling as a travel mode with the new Scarborough Bridge route and
links beyond to the station and through Bootham Park to the hospital and
Working towards Local Transport Plan 4
Likewise the Castle Gateway project promises to provide a
better crossing point of the inner ring road, a new bridge over the Foss and transformation
of Piccadilly to a people-friendly street. The new multi-storey car park will
unlock the creation of a public open space around Clifford’s Tower and
enhancements to this important heritage focal point, free of parked cars.
I would like to see the my castle gateway approach to
consultation developed more widely to find the key locations where we need to
create people-friendly walking and cycling crossing and access points, for schools,
major workplaces, shopping areas etc. I would hope that some of this work could
be assisted by the work planned in the coming year by York Civic Trust
Transport Advisory Group in advance of our preparation of LTP4 to underpin the
I believe that an independent city-wide survey such as
planned by the Trust will help to achieve the wide ranging consultation which
was in manifestos recently and help residents to understand the transport implications
of our planned 20% growth in population by 2030.
The coming year will also see progress on the station
frontage project to transform our gateway to the city, eventually to be matched
with work to create a new western entrance to serve York Central and the
National Railway Museum. Hopefully, Housing Infrastructure Funding will be announced
and we will also see a start on construction of the access bridge and spine
road that will unlock development of housing and commercial space on this large
brownfield site, connected with enhanced walking and cycling infrastructure
from surrounding areas.
Residents’ parking review
The scrutiny review of Residents Priority Parking Scheme
which I led last year was approved by the outgoing Executive in March and this
is a priority for me to see the waiting list cut and online systems explored further
to streamline administration processes. I would also like to see a wider
conversation with residents, businesses and key stakeholders about the merits
of a wider zoning scheme within the ring road to include all terraced streets,
but with annual permit charges comparable to the much lower rates in other
Yorkshire towns and places like Sheffield. I believe such a move would be more
equitable and also compliment our transport strategy by moving commuter traffic
either onto using public transport or using council car parks rather than inner
Alongside this work of course we also want to see the
backlog of highway maintenance issues tackled to keep drivers and cyclists
safe. It is also a timely opportunity to review our winter maintenance
schedules and consider options for addressing the risks of ice on key strategic
cycle routes that are most heavily used to access schools, universities, colleges,
workplaces and the city centre.
I am sure you will appreciate it is early days for the new
administration but I am keen that the changes we need get underway as soon
possible while being open to input from a broad cross section of people
travelling around York and the organisations and businesses that depend on access
for suppliers and customers. My portfolio also includes responsibility for
digital communications, fleet and emergency planning.
Executive Member for Transport