REVEALED: Critical report that led to scrapping of Lendal Bridge trial
THE depth of opposition from businesses, visitors and residents to the Lendal Bridge traffic ban has been revealed in a report.
The document, which went to City of York Council's ruling Labour group before it decided last week to abandon the trial closure, said that in a poll of 326 businesses, 77 per cent felt it had had a "negative or very negative" impact on business.
And in a separate online survey of residents and visitors which drew 2,600 responses, 75 per cent said they thought the trial had had a "negative or very negative" impact on the city generally, with car drivers strongly against it and cyclists more positive.
The report says results have yet to be fully analysed and response data may have been skewed by people who have received fines.
Meanwhile, in an annual bus survey carried out in November, 79 per cent of passengers were "satisfied" with reliability, 27 per cent more than the year before, while 87 per cent were satisfied with the speed of services, compared with 66 per cent the previous year.
Bus operator First had also seen an average seven per cent increase in passengers during the trial, with more than 15,000 extra people using its services each week, and "better reliability" was one of the reasons for this with a 7.5 per cent rise in services running on time.
The bridge was fully reopened on Saturday, in the wake of a Government traffic adjudicator saying the council had no power to fine motorists who breached the restrictions on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate - a decision which the council is appealing against.
The report revealed that rising bollards, warning letters and "part-time enforcement" could have been considered if the traffic ban had continued.
It said a "significant proportion" of traffic delays in the city would have been tackled by lifting the bridge closure at 4pm, rather than 5pm, and revealed air quality in York had "generally improved" and traffic flows during the trial were "broadly the same" as those the year before, but with "significant differences between areas of the city".
The report said axing the restrictions would mean improvements to bus reliability and "pedestrian, cyclist and environmental benefits" being lost, but making them permanent was "not advised until [the] legal position [is] clarified."
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