Tram system would be wonderful

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First published in Letters by

I AGREE with Christian Vassie’s excellent suggestion for a tram system in York; it would be wonderful.

Sadly it’s another example of how far behind we are in this country with our disastrous public transport policies – locally and nationally – and the failure of our politicians to think long term and engage their brains.

Why have they made so many mistakes with key decisions just for short-termism?

Dijon is one of our twin cities; how many times over the decades have our council leaders visited it on our behalf – and at our expense – and not considered implementing a dynamic scheme for York?

Why have so many European cities seen the light and got EU funding as our British cities and roads just keep clogging up? In Barcelona I used the trams continuously for seeing this beautiful city. They were new, spotless, on-time, cheap and an absolute pleasure to use.

I made a film in Wuppertal, Germany, where they built a monorail or suspension railway over the river. European countries have politicians with vision and confidence, while ours wear blinkers.

In the meantime of the tram dream, may I suggest an experiment that York adopt private car use of even numbers one day and odd numbers the next between Monday and Saturday to ease traffic congestion?

Keith Massey, Acaster Malbis, York.

Comments (7)

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12:53pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Stevie D says...

A key factor is that a lot of European cities are much more densely packed than in Britain. York has very low density housing, and that is no good for tram routes. Look at places like Haxby and Acomb, where you have different bus routes meandering round housing estates in order to give everyone a convenient bus stop near their home. Now imagine that there were just 4 bus stops in the whole of Haxby/Wigginton and four in the whole of Acomb/Foxwood – because that's all you would get. Now think how much further people would have to walk to get a tram than they do to get a bus now ... do you really think they would bother to do that? Not a chance.

Bear in mind that Barcelona is 8 times the size of York, and is closer to the size of Leeds and Bradford combined. Yes, major cities abroad have trams ... but so do some major cities here. And yes, there is scope for a lot more tram networks in the UK ... but York has no place near the top of that list.

Where do I think should have trams?
* West Yorkshire (Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Spen Valley)
* Teesside (Middlesbrough, Stockton, Billingham)
* Hull
* West Midlands (it has one line, it should have an extensive network)
* Edinburgh (again, it has one line, it should have an extensive network)
* South Hants (Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton)
All of those places could justify trams much more than York. As a fairly small provincial city, we just don't.
A key factor is that a lot of European cities are much more densely packed than in Britain. York has very low density housing, and that is no good for tram routes. Look at places like Haxby and Acomb, where you have different bus routes meandering round housing estates in order to give everyone a convenient bus stop near their home. Now imagine that there were just 4 bus stops in the whole of Haxby/Wigginton and four in the whole of Acomb/Foxwood – because that's all you would get. Now think how much further people would have to walk to get a tram than they do to get a bus now ... do you really think they would bother to do that? Not a chance. Bear in mind that Barcelona is 8 times the size of York, and is closer to the size of Leeds and Bradford combined. Yes, major cities abroad have trams ... but so do some major cities here. And yes, there is scope for a lot more tram networks in the UK ... but York has no place near the top of that list. Where do I think should have trams? * West Yorkshire (Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Spen Valley) * Teesside (Middlesbrough, Stockton, Billingham) * Hull * West Midlands (it has one line, it should have an extensive network) * Edinburgh (again, it has one line, it should have an extensive network) * South Hants (Portsmouth, Gosport, Southampton) All of those places could justify trams much more than York. As a fairly small provincial city, we just don't. Stevie D
  • Score: -2

4:37pm Fri 29 Aug 14

old_geezer says...

Why short-termism and so many mistakes? Politicians think that proper people, people with jobs, have cars. People who don't have cars, aspire to have cars. Rail, trams, and buses are old-fashioned. The future lies with cars, more cars, everybody with their own car ...

(wakes from nightmare) Sadly, from before Beeching up to today, politicians talk of "investing" in roads but "subsidising" rail. They look at figures (figures don't lie!) that don't account for many people only driving because they have to, and would take public transport if they could. Unfortunately ever since motorway-building started under Ernest Marples (now what big construction company does that name remind me of?) the road lobby has been too much listened to by governments.
Why short-termism and so many mistakes? Politicians think that proper people, people with jobs, have cars. People who don't have cars, aspire to have cars. Rail, trams, and buses are old-fashioned. The future lies with cars, more cars, everybody with their own car ... (wakes from nightmare) Sadly, from before Beeching up to today, politicians talk of "investing" in roads but "subsidising" rail. They look at figures (figures don't lie!) that don't account for many people only driving because they have to, and would take public transport if they could. Unfortunately ever since motorway-building started under Ernest Marples (now what big construction company does that name remind me of?) the road lobby has been too much listened to by governments. old_geezer
  • Score: 9

5:48pm Fri 29 Aug 14

tomymind says...

Yet again trams are being put forward .When the suggestion should be the trolley bus .No months of digging up roads No danger to cyclists getting caught in rails No interruption to service by inconsiderate drivers parking across rails And when you wish to extend or remove the service it is easier to put in or remove over head wires without yet again digging up the roads
Yet again trams are being put forward .When the suggestion should be the trolley bus .No months of digging up roads No danger to cyclists getting caught in rails No interruption to service by inconsiderate drivers parking across rails And when you wish to extend or remove the service it is easier to put in or remove over head wires without yet again digging up the roads tomymind
  • Score: -7

8:01pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Pinza-C55 says...

tomymind wrote:
Yet again trams are being put forward .When the suggestion should be the trolley bus .No months of digging up roads No danger to cyclists getting caught in rails No interruption to service by inconsiderate drivers parking across rails And when you wish to extend or remove the service it is easier to put in or remove over head wires without yet again digging up the roads
The overhead wires will look quite picturesque in the narrow streets of York won't they ? The elevated platforms too, and the extra signals required for the trams. Then of course there is the fact that a third type of traffic will be added to Lendal Bridge leading to PP whingeing about "Tramageddon" or "Tramlock".
[quote][p][bold]tomymind[/bold] wrote: Yet again trams are being put forward .When the suggestion should be the trolley bus .No months of digging up roads No danger to cyclists getting caught in rails No interruption to service by inconsiderate drivers parking across rails And when you wish to extend or remove the service it is easier to put in or remove over head wires without yet again digging up the roads[/p][/quote]The overhead wires will look quite picturesque in the narrow streets of York won't they ? The elevated platforms too, and the extra signals required for the trams. Then of course there is the fact that a third type of traffic will be added to Lendal Bridge leading to PP whingeing about "Tramageddon" or "Tramlock". Pinza-C55
  • Score: -1

8:03pm Fri 29 Aug 14

ColdAsChristmas says...

Nottingham has a very useful tram service but on the other hand, one only has to investigate the cost of the Edinburgh tram to find it is not somewhere York should go with the City Councils abysmal record on budgets and value for money.
You would have to either share bus lanes, where they exist or close even more road to traffic, ultimately creating more congestion to accommodate the tram. As said above, the tram would run generally in straight lines, rather than conveniently round the houses but generally just competing for ground space.
The way forward is the overhead mono rail I have seen in Malaysia but let's face it, that's not going to happen.
Nottingham has a very useful tram service but on the other hand, one only has to investigate the cost of the Edinburgh tram to find it is not somewhere York should go with the City Councils abysmal record on budgets and value for money. You would have to either share bus lanes, where they exist or close even more road to traffic, ultimately creating more congestion to accommodate the tram. As said above, the tram would run generally in straight lines, rather than conveniently round the houses but generally just competing for ground space. The way forward is the overhead mono rail I have seen in Malaysia but let's face it, that's not going to happen. ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: -54

9:54pm Fri 29 Aug 14

strangebuttrue? says...

Once again a letter writer who is confused by the council propaganda regarding congestion. The congestion is not caused by the car drivers it is caused by the council and their anti car policies. Take a look at Google earth and you can see we have masses of empty roads in York the only places cars abound are in the small areas of road they are corralled into and then held by the councils short set light to create the illusion of increasing volume. We all know the simplest way to rid York of congestion would be to turn off the traffic lights. Open a few of the closed roads as well and most would wonder if anyone in York used a car.
Once again a letter writer who is confused by the council propaganda regarding congestion. The congestion is not caused by the car drivers it is caused by the council and their anti car policies. Take a look at Google earth and you can see we have masses of empty roads in York the only places cars abound are in the small areas of road they are corralled into and then held by the councils short set light to create the illusion of increasing volume. We all know the simplest way to rid York of congestion would be to turn off the traffic lights. Open a few of the closed roads as well and most would wonder if anyone in York used a car. strangebuttrue?
  • Score: -58

7:22am Sat 30 Aug 14

Thecynic says...

An underground system of moving footpaths would probably be better suited to York's narrow streets. With access points at every car park and free storage for cycle's and exit/entry points at several locations in the city.
An underground system of moving footpaths would probably be better suited to York's narrow streets. With access points at every car park and free storage for cycle's and exit/entry points at several locations in the city. Thecynic
  • Score: 1
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