Cycle lane to be removed at controversial York junction
Council to put back traffic lane removed in 2009 despite opposition from emegency services and cycle campaigners
A decision by City of York Council to remove a cycle lane at a controversial junction in the city has been condemned by three councillor, who have called on the council’s cabinet to reconsider its decision, citing safety concerns expressed by cycle campaigners and the emergency services. Transport officers at the council have reportedly said that removing the cycle lane will make the junction less safe.
The cycle lane at the junction of Clifton Green and Water End has been dogged by controversy ever since it was introduced a little more than three years ago at a cost of £12,000, with motorists claiming that it has resulted in long queues and local residents saying that it has led nearby streets becoming clogged with traffic trying to avoid jams, reports the York Press.
The newspaper reports that Councillors Andy D’Agorne and Dave Taylor, who represent Fishergate, and Keith Hyman who represents Huntington and New Earswick, claim that in reaching its decision, the council’s cabinet ignored the views of North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
They also maintain that the removal of the cycle lane conflicts with the Labour-led council’s on transport policy, could deter investment in sustainable travel initiatives in the city, and fails to take into account the result of a public consultation in which six in ten people who expressed an opinion wanted the lane to stay.
Labour had said it would put the traffic lane back at the junction prior to taking control of the city council last year, although according to the York Press, the council’s own transport officers have conceded that removing the cycle lane will impact on safety at the junction.
According to Counillor Dave Merrett, who is City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for City Strategy, the effect of the changes at the junction will be monitored to gauge their effect on safety as well as any impact on cycling in York.
Councillor Merrett told his fellow cabinet members that the current design of the junction, which he said represented an “extremely difficult” part of the city’s road network, was “not necessarily safe,” and added that the proposed changes would not see the reinstatement of the precise layout that existed in 2009 but would include space for cyclists.
News of the removal of the cycle lane comes at a time when the safety of cyclists at junctions is in the national spotlight as a result of The Times newspaper's Cities Fit For Cycling, which has included cyclists being invited to submitted details of junctions that they find particularly hazardous to an interactive map.