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York residents split over congestion charging

7,300 people respond to council's public consultation on how to deal with gridlock...

Residents of York are divided on the issue of whether the city should implement a congestion charging scheme as the local council considers how to deal with its traffic clogged streets.

Some 7,300 people responded to a public consultation undertaken by York City Council, with nearly two in five (39%) saying that they would prefer congestion to be tackled without such a scheme being put in place, while nearly three in ten (28%) said that they would back such a move if that freed up funds for alternative transport projects.

One in five (20%) said that they would support initiatives aimed at improving the flow of traffic in the city, while around one in eight (13%) were in favour of addressing the issue of people using their cars to commute through the city centre, both options that could entail an element of road charging, according to the York Press.

Among respondents who owned bikes but did not use them to travel around the city, the biggest barriers to doing so were said to be concerns about safety, age or poor health, having to carry bags or other equipment, and the weather.

The newspaper reported that the most favoured options for combating congestion were improving local bus services, at 69%, and building an edge-of-town freight depot to help limit the number of delivery lorries travelling into the city centre.

However, local businesses gave the idea of congestion charging a resounding thumbs-down, with only 12% expressing support for it.

The city council’s cross-party congestion scrutiny committee is due to sit next week to discuss the results of the consultation, and Councillor Steve Galloway, executive member for city strategy, said: “While I welcome some of the background information provided by the survey, it is unfortunate the options tabled by the committee for addressing congestion relied so heavily on charging for access.”

“I am not surprised the only option which did not involve charging was favoured by the majority of respondents. This reflects the view revealed by our private surveys and petitions, while supporting the decision taken by the council not to support the introduction of a local road-pricing system.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Dave Merrett, chairman of the city council’s scrutiny committee, commented: “The results are very interesting with some important messages.

“The largest single group of respondents favour a no-charging solution in terms of funding higher transport investment, but the three options involving charging actually received more support.”

He added that the “logical next step” was to draft a long-term plan that would build upon the results of the consultation, including how to make bus travel more attractive.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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handlebarcam | 14 years ago

I recently had reason to walk all the way through the centre of York during the evening rush hour. What a sh*t hole! The stench of noxious fumes pervades every street, enormous black clouds of smoke billow from enormous black 4x4s, rusty scooters make the whole street smell of unburnt petrol, and revving engines at every red light broadcast a general sense of anger and frustration. Why so many people are prepared to live like this, and force these conditions on others, for the sake of not having to share a communal form of transport like a bus, or put in the physical effort of walking or cycling, is probably a big part of the reason why human progress seems to have stalled in the last few decades.

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