Up against it

Up against it

Up against it

First published in Letters by

THE Lendal Bridge experiment was a brave try. It is not really surprising that it had to be given up.

The car lobby spent the 20th century constructing the prejudice in favour of cars and against the rights of other road users – pedestrians, cyclists and public transport – which forms the current conventional wisdom.

It is clear from the hysterical tone of the debate that motorists will not be ready to consider fair shares for everyone using the public highway in the near future, and neither will government inspectors, who might have been expected to be impartial.

I hope that a full report on the results of the experiment will be made available so that where it succeeded and where it failed can be rationally considered.

Make no mistake, the setback is serious. It will discourage anyone else from looking for ways to deal with urban traffic congestion and its consequences.

But at least the next time all concerned will have a better idea of what they are up against.

Ann Holt, Portland Street, York.

Comments (13)

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1:52pm Tue 15 Apr 14

CaroleBaines says...

Intelligent letter. We do need to do something out this city's traffic problem and the trial was valid in my opinion. But next time we need to do it without the accompanying fiasco of the fines.
Intelligent letter. We do need to do something out this city's traffic problem and the trial was valid in my opinion. But next time we need to do it without the accompanying fiasco of the fines. CaroleBaines
  • Score: 5

3:04pm Tue 15 Apr 14

roadwars says...

Why do people keep talking about "sharing" the roads and in the same sentence suggest that certain road users should be banned from the roads...It makes no sense.
I will happily share the bus lanes with speeding taxis when I'm in my car, this will spread the traffic and mean that the filter lights are not wasting so much time changing between cycles. I will also, incidentally, happily cycle on the roads where required and do not need a white line to separate me from traffic or pointless short sections of off road lanes that require me to get off and walk at every junction.
But that's just me, unfortunately there are a small number of bus executives, councillors and poor standard cyclists who want it all their way...
Why do people keep talking about "sharing" the roads and in the same sentence suggest that certain road users should be banned from the roads...It makes no sense. I will happily share the bus lanes with speeding taxis when I'm in my car, this will spread the traffic and mean that the filter lights are not wasting so much time changing between cycles. I will also, incidentally, happily cycle on the roads where required and do not need a white line to separate me from traffic or pointless short sections of off road lanes that require me to get off and walk at every junction. But that's just me, unfortunately there are a small number of bus executives, councillors and poor standard cyclists who want it all their way... roadwars
  • Score: 4

3:14pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mean Mr Mustard says...

I presume you were being ironic when you said " fair shares for everyone using the public highway" when supporting the exclusion of a large proportion of the population from using one of only four of the city's river crossings?
I presume you were being ironic when you said " fair shares for everyone using the public highway" when supporting the exclusion of a large proportion of the population from using one of only four of the city's river crossings? Mean Mr Mustard
  • Score: 2

7:17pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Meldrew2 says...

Since when have pedestrians become 'road users'? I always thought paths were built with them in mind not roads?

Maybe cyclists should pay some form of tax and take some sort of test before they are let loose on the unsuspecting public? Maybe they should have to have insurance as well because they sure need it!

Buses get priority on most major routes in York anyway so I'm struggling to see your argument.

Now the council contradict themselves by making car parks free in the city on three mornings a week!
Since when have pedestrians become 'road users'? I always thought paths were built with them in mind not roads? Maybe cyclists should pay some form of tax and take some sort of test before they are let loose on the unsuspecting public? Maybe they should have to have insurance as well because they sure need it! Buses get priority on most major routes in York anyway so I'm struggling to see your argument. Now the council contradict themselves by making car parks free in the city on three mornings a week! Meldrew2
  • Score: 0

8:38pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Jonothon says...

Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place.
There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in.
When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving.
The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done.
Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress
Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place. There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in. When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving. The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done. Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress Jonothon
  • Score: 1

9:48pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mean Mr Mustard says...

Jonothon wrote:
Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place.
There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in.
When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving.
The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done.
Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress
I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos!
[quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place. There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in. When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving. The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done. Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress[/p][/quote]I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos! Mean Mr Mustard
  • Score: 5

3:56am Wed 16 Apr 14

Magicman! says...

The letter is very well written. Points about 'sharing' the roads is objective to whoever reads it... you could take it literally: that everybody should be able to use that one piece of road; or you can widen the scope: in that certain roads are dedicated to road users with a higher priority, whilst other roads are designed and set up (Foss Islands Road) in favour of private motor vehicles.

The bridge closure was a bold move and in principle is one to be praised. BUT, the simple fact is that what the council did was akin to running a marathon without any training or limbering up first... Other roads should have had their capacity improved first - the main one being the A1237 being made dual carriageway. This would have taken a vast swathe of traffic away from the city centre and particularly away from Lendal Bridge in the first place... who knows, maybe dualling the A1237 might have taken away so much traffic from the city centre that Lendal bridge would not have needed to be closed at all.

However the final thought now is that by the way the council just buckled under pressure and gave in very cowardly means any respect for this council has now been lost entirely. If you're going to make a decision, stand by it.
The letter is very well written. Points about 'sharing' the roads is objective to whoever reads it... you could take it literally: that everybody should be able to use that one piece of road; or you can widen the scope: in that certain roads are dedicated to road users with a higher priority, whilst other roads are designed and set up (Foss Islands Road) in favour of private motor vehicles. The bridge closure was a bold move and in principle is one to be praised. BUT, the simple fact is that what the council did was akin to running a marathon without any training or limbering up first... Other roads should have had their capacity improved first - the main one being the A1237 being made dual carriageway. This would have taken a vast swathe of traffic away from the city centre and particularly away from Lendal Bridge in the first place... who knows, maybe dualling the A1237 might have taken away so much traffic from the city centre that Lendal bridge would not have needed to be closed at all. However the final thought now is that by the way the council just buckled under pressure and gave in very cowardly means any respect for this council has now been lost entirely. If you're going to make a decision, stand by it. Magicman!
  • Score: 3

8:39am Wed 16 Apr 14

inthesticks says...

And my immediate though is that, Ann, you live in Portland Street, you can easily walk and cycle everywhere in the city and the closing of LB was a definite benefit to the locality that you live in and you sound disappointed that it was abandoned.
I hope those that are can see that those that were inconvenienced by the extra traffic around outer York had a valid point to make about that. Our city is not just about the centre, there`s thousands travel by car to get to work or carry out their business and NEED to do that in a car because they travel from Leeds, Selby, Harrogate and all the dozens of villages in the massive area out of York.
And my immediate though is that, Ann, you live in Portland Street, you can easily walk and cycle everywhere in the city and the closing of LB was a definite benefit to the locality that you live in and you sound disappointed that it was abandoned. I hope those that are can see that those that were inconvenienced by the extra traffic around outer York had a valid point to make about that. Our city is not just about the centre, there`s thousands travel by car to get to work or carry out their business and NEED to do that in a car because they travel from Leeds, Selby, Harrogate and all the dozens of villages in the massive area out of York. inthesticks
  • Score: 0

9:39am Wed 16 Apr 14

Jonothon says...

Mean Mr Mustard wrote:
Jonothon wrote:
Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place.
There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in.
When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving.
The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done.
Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress
I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos!
Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial
[quote][p][bold]Mean Mr Mustard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place. There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in. When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving. The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done. Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress[/p][/quote]I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos![/p][/quote]Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial Jonothon
  • Score: 0

10:13am Wed 16 Apr 14

Ichabod76 says...

Check this out

http://www.minsterfm

.com/news/local/1258

443/exclusive-york-t

ransport-boss-20mph-

e-mails-revealed/

not looking good for dodgy Dave !
Check this out http://www.minsterfm .com/news/local/1258 443/exclusive-york-t ransport-boss-20mph- e-mails-revealed/ not looking good for dodgy Dave ! Ichabod76
  • Score: 2

2:27pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Mean Mr Mustard says...

Jonothon wrote:
Mean Mr Mustard wrote:
Jonothon wrote:
Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place.
There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in.
When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving.
The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done.
Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress
I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos!
Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial
You ask "where was this chaos?"

I drive around York five days a week for a living - Water End in the afternoon would see rush-hour levels of congestion i.e. queuing traffic from Clifton Green to Boroughbridge Road.

Bishopthorpe Road, Prices Lane, Nunnery Lane, Castle Mills, Foss Islands all became no-go areas - to get from The Mount to Fulford it was quicker to drive through Micklegate Bar, then either over Ouse Bridge or down Priory Street and on to Skeldergate Bridge. Another case of the mismanagement of traffic flow meaning cross-city journeys are quicker by driving through the centre - well done City planners!

Now the bridge is re-opened and the Bootham Bar traffic lights are once again only letting 3 or 4 vehicles through, Bootham is clogged. Soooooo..... the quickest way from Acomb to Bootham? You guessed it - down Leeman Road, over Lendal Bridge... Doh!

These are facts observed by me over the trial period. Where have you been driving?
[quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mean Mr Mustard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place. There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in. When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving. The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done. Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress[/p][/quote]I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos![/p][/quote]Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial[/p][/quote]You ask "where was this chaos?" I drive around York five days a week for a living - Water End in the afternoon would see rush-hour levels of congestion i.e. queuing traffic from Clifton Green to Boroughbridge Road. Bishopthorpe Road, Prices Lane, Nunnery Lane, Castle Mills, Foss Islands all became no-go areas - to get from The Mount to Fulford it was quicker to drive through Micklegate Bar, then either over Ouse Bridge or down Priory Street and on to Skeldergate Bridge. Another case of the mismanagement of traffic flow meaning cross-city journeys are quicker by driving through the centre - well done City planners! Now the bridge is re-opened and the Bootham Bar traffic lights are once again only letting 3 or 4 vehicles through, Bootham is clogged. Soooooo..... the quickest way from Acomb to Bootham? You guessed it - down Leeman Road, over Lendal Bridge... Doh! These are facts observed by me over the trial period. Where have you been driving? Mean Mr Mustard
  • Score: 1

3:27am Thu 17 Apr 14

Magicman! says...

Also worth point out that during the Lendal Bridge closure, some bright spark decided to tamper with the traffic lights at the Paragon Street and Cemetary Road junction, giving double the green time ti Cemetary Road despite that being the 'minor' road in this junction... the result being that when traffic going past Walmgate Bar into Foss Islands Road gets a green light, Paragon Street has just gone red - cemetary road gets a 'green wave', and it is only after the lights at Walmgate bar have gone red does traffic at paragon Street get a green light. Now when I go along there on my bike, I get off at the Barbican and walk round to Foss Islands - it's quicker than waiting in the traffic, and that says a lot about poor traffic management on what was supposed to be the diversion route for Lendal Bridge diverted traffic.
Also worth point out that during the Lendal Bridge closure, some bright spark decided to tamper with the traffic lights at the Paragon Street and Cemetary Road junction, giving double the green time ti Cemetary Road despite that being the 'minor' road in this junction... the result being that when traffic going past Walmgate Bar into Foss Islands Road gets a green light, Paragon Street has just gone red - cemetary road gets a 'green wave', and it is only after the lights at Walmgate bar have gone red does traffic at paragon Street get a green light. Now when I go along there on my bike, I get off at the Barbican and walk round to Foss Islands - it's quicker than waiting in the traffic, and that says a lot about poor traffic management on what was supposed to be the diversion route for Lendal Bridge diverted traffic. Magicman!
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Thu 17 Apr 14

CaroleBaines says...

Mean Mr Mustard wrote:
Jonothon wrote:
Mean Mr Mustard wrote:
Jonothon wrote:
Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place.
There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in.
When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving.
The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done.
Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress
I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos!
Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial
You ask "where was this chaos?"

I drive around York five days a week for a living - Water End in the afternoon would see rush-hour levels of congestion i.e. queuing traffic from Clifton Green to Boroughbridge Road.

Bishopthorpe Road, Prices Lane, Nunnery Lane, Castle Mills, Foss Islands all became no-go areas - to get from The Mount to Fulford it was quicker to drive through Micklegate Bar, then either over Ouse Bridge or down Priory Street and on to Skeldergate Bridge. Another case of the mismanagement of traffic flow meaning cross-city journeys are quicker by driving through the centre - well done City planners!

Now the bridge is re-opened and the Bootham Bar traffic lights are once again only letting 3 or 4 vehicles through, Bootham is clogged. Soooooo..... the quickest way from Acomb to Bootham? You guessed it - down Leeman Road, over Lendal Bridge... Doh!

These are facts observed by me over the trial period. Where have you been driving?
Must admit, I drive around all those areas, Mr Mustard and saw nothing of this. Hmmm.
[quote][p][bold]Mean Mr Mustard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mean Mr Mustard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Ann Holt's point had occurred to me too, the bit about the setback to innovative ways of coping with traffic and making the city a cleaner and healthier place. There's no escaping the fact that the retreat was cowardly. The majority group on the council did not even wait for the outcome of the experiment before chucking the towel in. When City centre pedestrianisation was introduced the backlash was every bit as bad. One hardware store in Colliergate (yes, them) were asking customers to sign a petition which asserted that they would have to close in 6 months if pedestrianisation went ahead. That was in the 1970's and they are still there and thriving. The difference was that the council toughed it out, and were finally vindicated with the scheme being lauded worldwide as an example of how it should be done. Despite everything York will continue to innovate, though this will setback will slow the rate of progress[/p][/quote]I accept that we need to find ways to improve York's environment, and the footstreets are a must, but Colliergate is not part of the inner ring road! Look on any large scale map of York and you will see a large circle around the city. When that was severed by the bridge closure the only result could have been chaos![/p][/quote]Where was this chaos? only in peoples imagination. The traffic flowed well pollution decreased most bus times improved, tourist numbers were up. Those facts sre gleaned from the incomplete report, but we already know that York had it's all time record Christmas season, during the bridge trial[/p][/quote]You ask "where was this chaos?" I drive around York five days a week for a living - Water End in the afternoon would see rush-hour levels of congestion i.e. queuing traffic from Clifton Green to Boroughbridge Road. Bishopthorpe Road, Prices Lane, Nunnery Lane, Castle Mills, Foss Islands all became no-go areas - to get from The Mount to Fulford it was quicker to drive through Micklegate Bar, then either over Ouse Bridge or down Priory Street and on to Skeldergate Bridge. Another case of the mismanagement of traffic flow meaning cross-city journeys are quicker by driving through the centre - well done City planners! Now the bridge is re-opened and the Bootham Bar traffic lights are once again only letting 3 or 4 vehicles through, Bootham is clogged. Soooooo..... the quickest way from Acomb to Bootham? You guessed it - down Leeman Road, over Lendal Bridge... Doh! These are facts observed by me over the trial period. Where have you been driving?[/p][/quote]Must admit, I drive around all those areas, Mr Mustard and saw nothing of this. Hmmm. CaroleBaines
  • Score: 1

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