PREPARE for a bumpy ride.

City of York Council is readying itself to update its local transport plan. This document sets out policies on everything from the 'hierarchy of transport users' (at the moment in York this theoretically puts pedestrians first and car users last) to key transport routes, bus and cycle lanes, parking, and strategies to get more people out of their car and onto public transport.

The existing transport plan is to be 'refreshed', the council says, to take account of sites earmarked for development in the draft local plan - though probably not until the local plan itself has been finalised and adopted.

There are also big shake-ups on the cards for city centre parking: the Castle car park is scheduled to go to make way for a public open space as part of the Castle Gateway proposals, and a new multi-storey car park is planned at St George's Fields to replace it.

Traffic congestion, public transport, parking, air pollution and the competition for road space between cars and bikes are among the most touchy topics around at the moment - so good luck to the council in trying to reach some kind of consensus on any of these issues.

Of course, traffic and its many associated problems of congestion and pollution are not recent: they've been around for decades (longer if you count the Victorians' anger at horse-users who allowed their animals to relieve themselves in the street).

To help prepare you for taking part in meaningful consultation on York's future transport priorities (and yes, we accept that what that probably means is everyone getting involved in a massive argument) we've dug out a few photographs from the 1970s and 1980s which we found in an old folder marked, simply, 'cars and traffic'.

They're quite evocative. And, surprisingly, some of them are actually quite beautiful, too...

The photos show:

1. The Castle car park in 1975. This is surely no-one's favourite car park. But there's an odd beauty about this photograph. Perhaps it's the way the five cars are parked neatly next to each-other in the middle of an otherwise empty car park. But there's also something about the way Ryedale House looms in the background. It's an unlovely building, but in this photo at least it has a kind of grandeur

2. The Castle car park again, this time in 1981. It cost 30p to park for two hours. Exorbitant. (And yes, given the relative value of money in those days, it really was exorbitant...)

3. Traffic in Bootham, 1978. We're quite sure that being stuck in this traffic jam wouldn't have been much fun - and the pollution it generated won't have been particularly pleasant for pedestrians or people living nearby, either. But again, purely as a photograph, there's something very definitely pleasing about that artistic curve of traffic... The caption, by the way, didn't originally say that this was Bootham. But the Georgian Guest House is a bit of a giveaway. The long stay car park indicated on a sign is presumably Marygate

4. The original caption to this photograph is not very informative: it simply says 'traffic, 1985'. We assume it's Fulford Road, what with the No 17 Fulford bus. But what on Earth are all the checks about? Presumably some kind of traffic survey was ongoing...

5, 6 and 7. We finish with three photos of the St George's Field car park. They date from the 1970s, when the car park was clearly quite busy - and also quite well organised, judging by the neatly parked ranks of cars. It is here that there are plans for a new multi-story car park once the Castle car park is closed...

Stephen Lewis