YORK'S new transport boss is setting up a forum to give motorists a voice - and has confirmed that £300,000 will be spent on improving traffic flow.
Cllr David Levene, who has just taken over Cabinet responsibility for transport from Dave Merrett, says he has asked officers to set up a new Motorist User Forum to consult drivers, like the ones already in existence for other road users.
He said: “I want to make the service much more responsive to residents’ ideas and suggestions, working with them to design solutions to localised problems that can make a big difference to their everyday lives."
The announcement comes after a tumultuous time for the Labour-run authority over the controversial trial closure of Lendal Bridge, which was fiercely opposed by many motorists and ended with the snap decision to re-open the bridge last Saturday.
Cllr Levene said the last few weeks had demonstrated the need to engage more with residents. "I want to listen about how we can improve the experience for everyone getting around York: pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and drivers."
He said it had been agreed in the council's capital programme to spend £300,000 on improving traffic light signalling, sequencing and timing to reduce queue lengths at several key junctions.
He could not reveal which junctions would be tackled, other than Water End at Clifton Green, where it was already felt that signal sequencing could be changed to improve traffic flow. But it also seems likely that the Micklegate Bar traffic lights, where Cllr Levene was photographed, will be investigated.
He said that as well as remote monitoring, there would be 'physical improvements' at junctions to improve flow of traffic for the benefit of all road users, but the changes were only a 'first step.'
He said: “This follows the recent announcement of a free parking initiative, as we know that this is a major issue for city centre businesses, and we’ll be taking forward the long-awaited Marygate pay-on-exit scheme.
“Finally, we will continue to work to reduce congestion. Encouraging residents to use more sustainable modes of transport has to be a priority, and I look forward to hearing ideas from the other political groups as part of the recently announced cross-party Congestion Commission on how we do this.”