Ouse Bridge already inaccessible

There has been a crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands since Roman Times

There has been a crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands since Roman Times

First published in Letters by

SOME say it would be better to close Ouse Bridge than Lendal Bridge; but Ouse Bridge is already inaccessible because of traffic restrictions in Coppergate and obstructive light sequences at Micklegate Bar.

To all intents and purposes we already have two closed bridges.

In Roman times there was just one crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands. There is no evidence the Romans were daft enough to ban carts or chariots to make life easier for pedestrians.

They built a bridge to transport both people and goods from one side of the river to the other. They understood that’s what bridges are for.

Ouse Bridge was for centuries the principal cross-town route and remained so when I passed my driving test in 1967. Stonebow had been created to make the eastern approach to this central crossing more practical.

Before this, double-decker buses struggled through St.Saviourgate.

But then planners and traffic engineers lost the plot.

Instead of allowing people to get directly from A to B the objective became to make everyone go via Z because they decided private wheeled traffic was no longer to be accommodated but penalised.

Ouse Bridge, which had historically been the main artery, was isolated and traffic displaced to Skeldergate and Lendal. Now it is displaced again. Nothing is solved; the misery is just expanded outwards.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.

Comments (14)

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11:13am Wed 12 Mar 14

ColdAsChristmas says...

Quite right Matthew, the Romans' couldn't have been so daft as to restrict a bridge. We need all the road capacity we can get. Gridlock Paul H, yes, and we know how it got here.
Quite right Matthew, the Romans' couldn't have been so daft as to restrict a bridge. We need all the road capacity we can get. Gridlock Paul H, yes, and we know how it got here. ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: -19

1:10pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Teabag1 says...

Yep I don't bother going in at all now, monks cross or leeds now unless I want to get smashed that is, thats all its good for.
Yep I don't bother going in at all now, monks cross or leeds now unless I want to get smashed that is, thats all its good for. Teabag1
  • Score: -22

1:12pm Wed 12 Mar 14

York_Jester says...

Too bad the Romans weren't smart enough to build a city that could accomodate heavy levels of car usage, what morons!

The point, in case you missed it, is that a city's needs change. What worked half a century ago is no indication of what will work today.
Too bad the Romans weren't smart enough to build a city that could accomodate heavy levels of car usage, what morons! The point, in case you missed it, is that a city's needs change. What worked half a century ago is no indication of what will work today. York_Jester
  • Score: 13

1:32pm Wed 12 Mar 14

pedalling paul says...

ColdAsChristmas wrote:
Quite right Matthew, the Romans' couldn't have been so daft as to restrict a bridge. We need all the road capacity we can get. Gridlock Paul H, yes, and we know how it got here.
Gridlock will get here by the early 2030's if York tries to accommodate the incessant demands of an increasing number of car owners. Doing nothing is not an option. Encouraging transfer of some journeys to other travel options, is the only sure long term strategy. Remove your short term blinkers (and Councillors your election blinkers)
[quote][p][bold]ColdAsChristmas[/bold] wrote: Quite right Matthew, the Romans' couldn't have been so daft as to restrict a bridge. We need all the road capacity we can get. Gridlock Paul H, yes, and we know how it got here.[/p][/quote]Gridlock will get here by the early 2030's if York tries to accommodate the incessant demands of an increasing number of car owners. Doing nothing is not an option. Encouraging transfer of some journeys to other travel options, is the only sure long term strategy. Remove your short term blinkers (and Councillors your election blinkers) pedalling paul
  • Score: 13

1:58pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Jonothon says...

Matthew says
"In Roman times there was just one crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands "

Tut tut. There was no bridge on the Ouse bridge site until the Vikings built one. The Roman Bridge was close to Lendal Bridge, The remains of it are under the Aviva Insurance building. And they did often ban carts, there were sentries
to control what was permitted to cross.
Matthew says "In Roman times there was just one crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands " Tut tut. There was no bridge on the Ouse bridge site until the Vikings built one. The Roman Bridge was close to Lendal Bridge, The remains of it are under the Aviva Insurance building. And they did often ban carts, there were sentries to control what was permitted to cross. Jonothon
  • Score: 29

3:03pm Wed 12 Mar 14

The Great Buda says...

York_Jester wrote:
Too bad the Romans weren't smart enough to build a city that could accomodate heavy levels of car usage, what morons!

The point, in case you missed it, is that a city's needs change. What worked half a century ago is no indication of what will work today.
Please stop using sensible logic, it has no place here.

This is the place for badly thought out rants, attacks on experts and moaning about Lendal Bridge (see the above letter for an example thus). Do try harder next time.
[quote][p][bold]York_Jester[/bold] wrote: Too bad the Romans weren't smart enough to build a city that could accomodate heavy levels of car usage, what morons! The point, in case you missed it, is that a city's needs change. What worked half a century ago is no indication of what will work today.[/p][/quote]Please stop using sensible logic, it has no place here. This is the place for badly thought out rants, attacks on experts and moaning about Lendal Bridge (see the above letter for an example thus). Do try harder next time. The Great Buda
  • Score: 33

4:51pm Wed 12 Mar 14

strangebuttrue? says...

PP again encouraging us to change whereas the council just bully us with their artificial congestion.

The point made about the traffic lights in this area is valid. If you come out of Holgate Road onto Blossom Street you will definitely be stopped at the Blossom Street/Micklegate lights. Once past these you will defiantly hit a red at the Micklegate/George Hudson Street lights and just as you move off from these lights you will definitely see the lights at Bridge Street tuning red. You will notice at each of these forced stops that for a large amount of the time nothing is passing in front of you through the junction. The council could not have coordinated these lights better to produce maximum journey time and pollution along with the wear and tear on vehicles and the illusion of volume related congestion.
PP again encouraging us to change whereas the council just bully us with their artificial congestion. The point made about the traffic lights in this area is valid. If you come out of Holgate Road onto Blossom Street you will definitely be stopped at the Blossom Street/Micklegate lights. Once past these you will defiantly hit a red at the Micklegate/George Hudson Street lights and just as you move off from these lights you will definitely see the lights at Bridge Street tuning red. You will notice at each of these forced stops that for a large amount of the time nothing is passing in front of you through the junction. The council could not have coordinated these lights better to produce maximum journey time and pollution along with the wear and tear on vehicles and the illusion of volume related congestion. strangebuttrue?
  • Score: -13

7:05pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Cheeky face says...

Good comments from varying angles. We must NOT over rely on cars; but we must have a workable and sensible set of transport options.

My visit to York this Tuesday was plagued with extra traffic and pollution on Prices Lane etc. The Lendal Bridge trial has merely moved the problems.

The council needs to create a think tank with invitations to various road users to form a task force, who should create options for discussion.

York was not built for motor cars; and we must understand and accept this. I remember buses in St Saviourgate; and cars in Little Stonegate; and we had a Cattle Market.

Evolution must take place and each town/city has different problems. Unfortunately poor decisions lead to so many unforseen circumstances.

The council could do with a tempoary post of "investment appraisal officer". What are the chances?

I am still awaiting replies from the Council's transport/sustainabi
lity teams- some as old as 2011! I have seen many comments on this site; lots quoting "difficult queries/questions" do not get replies!
Good comments from varying angles. We must NOT over rely on cars; but we must have a workable and sensible set of transport options. My visit to York this Tuesday was plagued with extra traffic and pollution on Prices Lane etc. The Lendal Bridge trial has merely moved the problems. The council needs to create a think tank with invitations to various road users to form a task force, who should create options for discussion. York was not built for motor cars; and we must understand and accept this. I remember buses in St Saviourgate; and cars in Little Stonegate; and we had a Cattle Market. Evolution must take place and each town/city has different problems. Unfortunately poor decisions lead to so many unforseen circumstances. The council could do with a tempoary post of "investment appraisal officer". What are the chances? I am still awaiting replies from the Council's transport/sustainabi lity teams- some as old as 2011! I have seen many comments on this site; lots quoting "difficult queries/questions" do not get replies! Cheeky face
  • Score: 7

1:56am Thu 13 Mar 14

Badgers Drift says...

Jonothon wrote:
Matthew says "In Roman times there was just one crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands " Tut tut. There was no bridge on the Ouse bridge site until the Vikings built one. The Roman Bridge was close to Lendal Bridge, The remains of it are under the Aviva Insurance building. And they did often ban carts, there were sentries to control what was permitted to cross.
Was this when Emperor Maximus David-us Merrett-us ruled York ?

His descendants still exert influence in York today, but, it is predicted that the current empire will fall in 2015, freeing York of this totalitarian dictatorship.

Hail General Matthew-us Laverack-us, commander of the armies which will liberate York and open Lendal Bridge !
[quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Matthew says "In Roman times there was just one crossing where Ouse Bridge now stands " Tut tut. There was no bridge on the Ouse bridge site until the Vikings built one. The Roman Bridge was close to Lendal Bridge, The remains of it are under the Aviva Insurance building. And they did often ban carts, there were sentries to control what was permitted to cross.[/p][/quote]Was this when Emperor Maximus David-us Merrett-us ruled York ? His descendants still exert influence in York today, but, it is predicted that the current empire will fall in 2015, freeing York of this totalitarian dictatorship. Hail General Matthew-us Laverack-us, commander of the armies which will liberate York and open Lendal Bridge ! Badgers Drift
  • Score: -18

3:13am Thu 13 Mar 14

Magicman! says...

Had the romans built a "dual cart-age way" through the centre of york (would have probably bene arrow-straight as they liked doing that) then there wouldn't be any bridge issues. But they didn't. They built their roads for use by small volume traffic such as the odd horse drawn cart but mainly for pedestrians and cattle... such narrow streets caused problems for the corporation transport department when it came to where tramcars could run, and later motor buses (with buses running down tiny streets such as St Savoiurgate, St Andrewgate, and Goodramgate as examples in addition to Coppergate (which still is in use by buses) - notably Goodramgate was used by buses in both directions. Some roads in the city network were widened and improved when the private motor car came along and started to become an economically viable purchase for the everyday bloke on the street, the time of 'king car'. The problem was that the private motor car was its own worst enemy - the more that appeared on the streets as everybody wanted their own independant means of travel, the more clooged up the streets got until nobody was going anywhere. In the bigger picture, motorways and bypasses were built - but in small historic town and city centre, no such room for these provisions was available....

.... and so now here we are in a city with finite road capacity in the heart of the city. Using a car to go "from A to B" is no longer viable, because that road is congested with loads of other people trying to use the same route! The problem is that the big vehicles that carry more people (buses) would also be stuck in that same congestion, so the decision is eventually made that "since a number of people in cars have to divert via 'X Street' due to congestion, why not divert each private vehicle that way, so the more important vehicles can have direct access".... the term 'more important vehicles' can be adapted to suit, so that it includes more than just buses - you could include cycles, taxis, emergency vehicles, works/utilities vehicles, emergency vehicles, disabled access, and so on.... The days of King Car have long gone, not just in York but across the UK - the only towns and cities where the car is still number one are crapholes. Even Birmingham is getting in on the reduction of cars in the city centre!

But there needs to be alternatives. If you block a drainpipe, the water will try to flow somewhere else... and likewise if a road is closed, the traffic will try and go somewhere else - if those alternative routes are not upgraded then you get even more congestion. And that is what has happened. I agree with the bridge closure, it has made the station area right up to gillygate a much nicer place to be during the day, but there has been no improvement of the alternative routes - and that should have been done first so as to avoid a worse traffic problem.

The traffic lights situation with regard to Ouse bridge can be taken with a pinch of salt. I have travelled both main routes between Blossom Street and Ouse Bridge non-stop on the same mode of transport at the same time of day, and it varies each time... I could go from blossom street all the way down micklegate and straight onto the bridge on all green lights, the next day I might go non-stop from blossom street on a green light but then the lights at the bottom of micklegate and bridge street might be red, the next day they might all be red - and it's the same for going via the rail station. This is because generally each junction operates entirely independant of the next one... even the Micklegate/George Hudson Street junction operates independantly of the Bridge Street/Skeldergate junction if you stand around and watch it long enough (it's a bit like if two cars of the same type are in a queue indicating to turn, their indicators appear to flash at the same rate at first, but then gradually they go out of sync).
Had the romans built a "dual cart-age way" through the centre of york (would have probably bene arrow-straight as they liked doing that) then there wouldn't be any bridge issues. But they didn't. They built their roads for use by small volume traffic such as the odd horse drawn cart but mainly for pedestrians and cattle... such narrow streets caused problems for the corporation transport department when it came to where tramcars could run, and later motor buses (with buses running down tiny streets such as St Savoiurgate, St Andrewgate, and Goodramgate as examples in addition to Coppergate (which still is in use by buses) - notably Goodramgate was used by buses in both directions. Some roads in the city network were widened and improved when the private motor car came along and started to become an economically viable purchase for the everyday bloke on the street, the time of 'king car'. The problem was that the private motor car was its own worst enemy - the more that appeared on the streets as everybody wanted their own independant means of travel, the more clooged up the streets got until nobody was going anywhere. In the bigger picture, motorways and bypasses were built - but in small historic town and city centre, no such room for these provisions was available.... .... and so now here we are in a city with finite road capacity in the heart of the city. Using a car to go "from A to B" is no longer viable, because that road is congested with loads of other people trying to use the same route! The problem is that the big vehicles that carry more people (buses) would also be stuck in that same congestion, so the decision is eventually made that "since a number of people in cars have to divert via 'X Street' due to congestion, why not divert each private vehicle that way, so the more important vehicles can have direct access".... the term 'more important vehicles' can be adapted to suit, so that it includes more than just buses - you could include cycles, taxis, emergency vehicles, works/utilities vehicles, emergency vehicles, disabled access, and so on.... The days of King Car have long gone, not just in York but across the UK - the only towns and cities where the car is still number one are crapholes. Even Birmingham is getting in on the reduction of cars in the city centre! But there needs to be alternatives. If you block a drainpipe, the water will try to flow somewhere else... and likewise if a road is closed, the traffic will try and go somewhere else - if those alternative routes are not upgraded then you get even more congestion. And that is what has happened. I agree with the bridge closure, it has made the station area right up to gillygate a much nicer place to be during the day, but there has been no improvement of the alternative routes - and that should have been done first so as to avoid a worse traffic problem. The traffic lights situation with regard to Ouse bridge can be taken with a pinch of salt. I have travelled both main routes between Blossom Street and Ouse Bridge non-stop on the same mode of transport at the same time of day, and it varies each time... I could go from blossom street all the way down micklegate and straight onto the bridge on all green lights, the next day I might go non-stop from blossom street on a green light but then the lights at the bottom of micklegate and bridge street might be red, the next day they might all be red - and it's the same for going via the rail station. This is because generally each junction operates entirely independant of the next one... even the Micklegate/George Hudson Street junction operates independantly of the Bridge Street/Skeldergate junction if you stand around and watch it long enough (it's a bit like if two cars of the same type are in a queue indicating to turn, their indicators appear to flash at the same rate at first, but then gradually they go out of sync). Magicman!
  • Score: -2

9:29am Thu 13 Mar 14

Badgers Drift says...

Great Buda is wrong. The letter isn't a rant - it's a calmly made observation - an opinion. One that many in York share, contrary to the false impression given by the childish score hacker.

Dissenters and dissidents who criticise or challenge the council''s totalitarian regime and policies are characterised as many things; abusive, offensive, etc. In reality, they are merely expressing their feelings, which they are entitled to do in our free democratic society.

York is not a communist state yet, much as some would clearly wish it to be !
Great Buda is wrong. The letter isn't a rant - it's a calmly made observation - an opinion. One that many in York share, contrary to the false impression given by the childish score hacker. Dissenters and dissidents who criticise or challenge the council''s totalitarian regime and policies are characterised as many things; abusive, offensive, etc. In reality, they are merely expressing their feelings, which they are entitled to do in our free democratic society. York is not a communist state yet, much as some would clearly wish it to be ! Badgers Drift
  • Score: -36

9:42am Thu 13 Mar 14

strangebuttrue? says...

I see the score adjuster is still at work I was felling a bit left out last night when only the scores at the top had been changed.
I see the score adjuster is still at work I was felling a bit left out last night when only the scores at the top had been changed. strangebuttrue?
  • Score: -33

10:01am Thu 13 Mar 14

The Great Buda says...

Badgers Drift wrote:
Great Buda is wrong. The letter isn't a rant - it's a calmly made observation - an opinion. One that many in York share, contrary to the false impression given by the childish score hacker.

Dissenters and dissidents who criticise or challenge the council''s totalitarian regime and policies are characterised as many things; abusive, offensive, etc. In reality, they are merely expressing their feelings, which they are entitled to do in our free democratic society.

York is not a communist state yet, much as some would clearly wish it to be !
I see you still struggle with humor.
[quote][p][bold]Badgers Drift[/bold] wrote: Great Buda is wrong. The letter isn't a rant - it's a calmly made observation - an opinion. One that many in York share, contrary to the false impression given by the childish score hacker. Dissenters and dissidents who criticise or challenge the council''s totalitarian regime and policies are characterised as many things; abusive, offensive, etc. In reality, they are merely expressing their feelings, which they are entitled to do in our free democratic society. York is not a communist state yet, much as some would clearly wish it to be ![/p][/quote]I see you still struggle with humor. The Great Buda
  • Score: 38

1:21pm Thu 13 Mar 14

MarkyMarkMark says...

Time to face up to an inconvenient truth - York city centre is only incidentally a business hub - it's almost entirely a tourist attraction with retail options.

If you choose to live in the middle of it, you need to remember that.

If you work around the city, as many of us do, you really ought to consider whether your "obvious" travel plan/route is really the best one. And "best" doesn't have to mean quickest, most direct, or even good - just better than the alternatives.

Live in the suburbs or country, shop in the out of town centres, and consider coming into York centre an unusual activity - you'll be much less stressy.

And finally: If you choose to live in Disneyland, you can't complain when Mickey Mouse seems to run the highways department!
Time to face up to an inconvenient truth - York city centre is only incidentally a business hub - it's almost entirely a tourist attraction with retail options. If you choose to live in the middle of it, you need to remember that. If you work around the city, as many of us do, you really ought to consider whether your "obvious" travel plan/route is really the best one. And "best" doesn't have to mean quickest, most direct, or even good - just better than the alternatives. Live in the suburbs or country, shop in the out of town centres, and consider coming into York centre an unusual activity - you'll be much less stressy. And finally: If you choose to live in Disneyland, you can't complain when Mickey Mouse seems to run the highways department! MarkyMarkMark
  • Score: -33

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