Make room for walking and cycling in York during Covid-19 crisis
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Social distancing is the new normal. The most recent evidence indicates that we will need to continue with some form of social distancing until 2022. Cycling is playing a crucial role during the Covid-19 crisis and needs to be supported.
We the undersigned ask City of York Council to reallocate some road space from vehicles, to people on foot and cycles.
Around the world and across the UK cities are reallocating road space from cars to people on foot and cycles. There are a wide range of actions that could be taken to support front-line efforts to deal with the impact of Covid-19. York Cycle Campaign urges City of York Council to consider the suggestions made by Transport Consultant, Mark Strong, and colleagues. In particular we'd like to see temporary bollards installed to prevent through traffic using residential roads. Given the significant reduction in traffic city-wide this measure would not add to traffic congestion or inconvenience drivers, and instead it would open up a network of safe quiet streets for cyclists and pedestrians. We'd also like to see cycling space created on some of the main roads through the city, particularly in bottleneck areas including bridges over rivers, rail lines and the ring-road. This may require some creative thinking and the introduction of one-way systems for drivers, to accommodate the necessary safe space for cyclists. And, in order to promote safe social distancing, we suggest that barriers on cycle routes are relaxed (for example removing the humps and baffles on the barriers to Hob Moor) to minimse the chance of Covid-19 being transmitted via touching of hard surfaces.
The rationale behind this petition is explained further in York Cycle Campaign's blog post.
Sunday 17th May - Update:
The Government's 'Green Transport Restart' announcement couldn't be clearer. All local highway authorities across the country are being told it is vital to provide more space for walking and cycling. Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks.
You can read the full statutory guidance here.
Sadly we've yet to see any real commitment or sense of urgency to bring about these changes here in York. That's why we are asking you to write to your local ward councillors and ask them to exert pressure on the council to create the space for walking and cycling that we need to see.
Below is some suggested text which you are welcome to use, but if you have time to put it in your own words it will be more effective. We encourage you to give some specific examples within your ward, which could be adapted in the ways suggested to become part of the walk/cycle network.
If you don’t already know your councilors you can find out on the City of York Council website, alternatively we recommend the WriteToThem.orgwebsite which simplifies the whole process of finding and sending them an email.
I appreciate that you must be very busy, but I'm writing to you to see if you can help to build York's resilience to the Covid crisis, by rapidly updating our transport network. It’s great news that the Government has just announced funding for increased cycling and walking and is inviting bids for a City to become a showcase for a zero emission city. I believe York is extremely well placed to bid for this.
I would urge you and your colleagues at CYC to seriously consider the following as a priority
- Bid for Government funding to become the first zero carbon city
- Create a network of pop-up (and hopefully permanent) cycle lanes and widen pavements in this area.
- Create 'school streets' outside all of the schools in this ward.
- Close some residential roads to through traffic
- Change junction design to accommodate more cyclists.
- Remove barriers, where possible, on all cycle routes in your area. This would go a long way to opening up the routes for cyclists with all needs
- Apply for Decarbon8 Rapid Response Road-space Reallocation funding – link here, deadline 27th May: https://decarbon8.org.uk/
I think we have a rare window of opportunity here to create a cleaner, greener and more inclusive City. If CYC takes a lead on this, there are many of us across York who will get behind you.
And lastly, please consider joining York Cycle Campaign and helping us to continue making York safe, accessible and convenient for absolutely everyone.
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