TRANSPORT chiefs did not predict the traffic problems caused by a controversial York cycling scheme when it was designed, a report revealed today.

A City of York Council task group has analysed snags surrounding the Water End cycle initiative, which saw a cycling lane introduced at Clifton Green junction last year.

People living nearby claim motorists searching for different routes have turned their streets into “rat runs”.

The report claims that, while the scheme has met its aim of encouraging more cyclists to use the route, it also meant levels of traffic using Westminster Road and The Avenue soared and “these consequences were unforeseen”.

The group has now recommended council officers urgently draw up proposals to reduce the number of cars using these streets and use the lessons learned from the Water End project when planning future transport schemes.

Since the cycle lane was brought in, residents in Westminster Road and The Avenue have appealed for their streets to be closed to through traffic.

But the report, which will go before the authority’s executive next week, said this would cause substantial congestion at Water End.

“As a consequence of the Water End highway project, traffic levels in Westminster Road and The Avenue have increased substantially,” said the report. “These consequences were unforeseen during the testing of the future traffic flows, which did not include Westminster Road, The Avenue or other side streets.

“The consequences were also unforeseen by the large number of agencies, councillors and residents who were consulted about the proposals.”

The group says the effect on nearby side streets should be considered when junctions need to be improved in future.

It says the council’s current policy of only reviewing new road schemes after a year should be changed, so they can be looked at again after three months if there are problems or if ward councillors request it.