A CYCLE lane at a York junction is to be removed at a cost of £12,000 – only three years after it was put in.
City of York Council’s cabinet last night approved taking away the bike route to make way for the reintroduction of a left-hand traffic lane at the junction of Clifton Green and Water End, despite emergency services and cyclists opposing the move.
The changes to the junction, made in 2009, saw the car lane replaced with more space for cyclists.
But local residents said this led to motorists seeking alternative routes turning their streets into “rat runs”.
Council transport officers admitted the new alterations would make the layout less safe for cyclists, but said it would reduce congestion.
North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service all said the junction should stay as it is, while cyclists gathered outside last night’s meeting at Fulford School to call for the bike lane to be retained.
The council’s Labour group pledged to bring back the car lane after winning power last year.
The cabinet chose the cheaper of two options for making a fresh set of changes to the junction, with the cost of the other possibility, including a central cycle lane, being estimated at £35,000.
In a public consultation, 106 of the 178 people who responded said the current arrangements should remain, while 56 favoured the arrangement which was approved.
Poppleton resident Peter Fay told the cabinet the extra cycling facilities had encouraged him to use his bike rather than his car, and the changes would “increase danger not just to cyclists, but to everybody”.
Cycling campaigner Paul Hepworth said the promise to bring back the car lane was made through “short-term blinkers at election time” and would not ease queues.
Meanwhile, residents of nearby Westminster Road and The Avenue renewed calls for their streets to be closed to through traffic.
Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for city strategy, said it was an “incredibly difficult” junction which would always be “overloaded” with peak-time traffic unless improvements were made to York’s outer ring road.
But he said the changes would not completely remove cycle space and its existing layout was “not necessarily safe”.
“We will keep it under review both in terms of the junction’s safety record and any impact on take-up of cycling,” he said.