The conversion of a filter lane in York, to a cycling lane, has lead to increasing anger amongst the city's motorists and a lively debate on the local paper's website.
Following a re-vamp of bicycle lanes in the area the left hand lane at the junction of Water End and Shipton Road has been given over to cyclists. Previously the narrow width of the road meant that when cars were lined up two abreast cyclists often found themselves squashed into the kerb.
The change, creating a cycle route that takes cyclists over nearby Clifton Bridge, where the footpath on one side has also been turned into a cycle lane, cost £500,000 and is part of the Cycling City York project.
But the conversion has angered motorists claiming it is too expensive, and causes tailbacks when left-turning motorists are stuck queuing behind those going straight on.
On top of the motorists’ anger quoted in the article itself, more is vented in comments on York paper The Press’s website, 111 of which appeared within 30 minutes of the story being published.
One reader complains of the extra time her husband’s 1-mile car journey to the allotment takes now the left hand filter has become a cycling lane. Another replies: “If he’s fit enough to dig up spuds he can walk or cycle there,” while another wades in with a kindly thought for the husband: “carrying a hoe, spade fork etc isn’t that easy on a bike.”
Many level criticism at allegedly low numbers of cyclists actually using the new lane, while others accuse cyclists of chosing the footpath instead. Meanwhile one eagle-eyed reader finds evidence of the misuse of the lane by motorists in the photograph accompanying the story: “So how come there is a red car in the left lane on the photo?” and it’s true…there is!
Another reader suggests reclaiming a section of Clifton Green (a triangle of grassland in the middle of the busy traffic intersection) to make more room for road. The commenter says: “It’s an old sandpit, nor do they use it for anything else other than letting dogs **** on it.” While another asks where people would go to drink their cider if the green wasn’t there (this writer's local knowledge gained during a misspent youth in York would suggest the Museum Gardens).
Condemned by one reader as a “shambles” (ha ha, we like the pun), another writes of the new cycle path in a similar vein, “It could become York’s newest tourist attraction!!!
"Imagine the gasp of surprise from visitors when their tour guide informs them that the council saw fit to spend half a million on some ... green paint."
Andy Vose, major infrastructure group leader for Cycling City York, said: “The Clifton Bridge work is the first of many schemes that residents have asked us to deliver. As with any major infrastructure scheme, we will continue to monitor its performance to ensure that it’s working as well as it can be.”
Freedom of speech is certainly working well on the website of The Press. As is sometimes the case at the end of a long web debate, comments can stray from the point and become a little personal, as has this one: "Someone I work with cycles to work and he stinks of sweat."
At least there’s balance in the next one: “Someone I work with doesn’t cycle to work, parks right outside the door and he stinks of sweat too!”