City of York Council has been indicatively allocated £173,000 to support and maintain the growth in walking and cycling seen across the city during lockdown.
The Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund is designed to support walking and cycling as a long-term method for commuting, as the country emerges from the pandemic. To receive any allocation from the fund, the Council has to demonstrate ‘swift and meaningful plans’ to support cyclists and pedestrians in York.
This funding is the first of two phases, with the second being conditional on demonstrating how we are able to adapt the city’s infrastructure to support more active travel, and how quickly these additional measures can be delivered. City of York Council has submitted a programme of actions to support walking and cycling at key locations as alternatives to travel by bus or car.
The measures proposed to be delivered include:
- Extensions to existing Park and Pedal facilities at the Park & Ride sites, alongside a new cycle route from Rawcliffe Park & Ride site along Shipton Road
- Enhanced cycle lanes on Bootham
- Improved cycle parking in the city centre
- Extensions to the footstreets area
- Temporary footway widening at pinch points near shops
- Alterations to signal timings to reduce pedestrian queuing at city centre traffic lights.
The funding will also allow The Groves’s neighbourhood traffic reduction 18-month trial to move ahead more quickly. Details of the location of the closures to prevent through-traffic are subject to a council Decision Session on 22 June, when local residents can comment on proposals and all consultation feedback will be reviewed.
This work will be co-ordinated with the council’s Economic Recovery Strategy, which will be delivered over the next few months. The strategy focuses on prioritising active travel, working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence and creating a more people-focussed city centre. These measures will be delivered at pace to best accelerate the recovery of the economy, allowing businesses to open safely through June, whilst protecting residents’ safety.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “Following the Government’s call to local authorities on 9 May to look at ways to quickly and effectively allocate space to more pedestrians and cyclists, we have proposed a package which can be implemented quickly to put us in a good position to secure more funding in Phase 2.
“With more shops opening next week and other businesses hoping to resume in July, we will be moving swiftly to implement these measures that support a choice for those who can, to walk or cycle to the city centre rather than driving.
“Cycling and walking have never been more apparent than during lockdown, with benefits of clean air and more exercise. The challenges of social distancing mean that public transport offers more limited capacity that needs to be available for key workers without other options.”