City of York Council is once again voicing concern over traffic congestion. This week congestion-busting measures are being discussed at a series of meetings and, among other possible measures, congestion charging is to be included (Have your say on traffic congestion, The Press, February 16).

At the same time, the council and local tourism board continue to promote York as a tourism venue and attempt to attract more visitors.

As usual, the solution appears to be to penalise the York council taxpayer. Let's think outside the "tax box" for a change (congestion charging will only affect the less well-off anyway, and as such is grossly unfair).

Most of us use our car is because it is convenient. The solution is to make the alternatives more convenient. Surely in the 21st century the day of the city centre should finally pass. If we abandon the need for everyone to go to the same place at the same time then congestion will solve itself.

How about dualling the outer ring road and building shopping centres, business and industrial parks, etc, along both sides of the carriageway and leave the "newly pedestrianised" centre of York for recreation, tourism, eating and drinking, etc? Build bus/car parks at each outer ring road shopping/ business/industrial centre, with city buses transporting citizens to their nearest "outer ring road park".

"Outer ring road buses" travelling continuously around the outer ring road would link each development. The city buses would then travel back into the city, picking passengers up on the way as at present. Bus fares should be heavily subsidised for everybody - not only pensioners - and late night buses should be encouraged to bring revellers home.

This may sound futuristic, but as Chairman Mao once said: "Every journey begins with the first step."

If we continue to think "inside the city centre box" then the first step will be in the wrong direction.

Tony Taylor, Grassholme, Woodthorpe, York.

* While getting more people to use Park&Ride instead of driving into York is a good thing, the bid for Government funding to bring forward new sites already in the longer term Local Transport Plan has some drawbacks.

The report to City of York Council's executive on February 12 indicated that a successful bid would mean ten per cent matched funding from existing council transport budgets.

Ten per cent of £26 million for three sites would represent a 30 per cent cut in funding available for all other integrated transport schemes in York over the three years that these projects were being built.

It is therefore likely that at most, one or two of these proposals could be supported by the city. Cutting funding earmarked for improving bus shelters, providing new bus lanes and promoting public transport to pay for a Park&Ride would be counter productive.

However, the "elephant in the room" that York has to face up to is the question of road pricing/ public transport-only access control, in keeping York at the forefront of sustainable travel and as a successful city. A useful discussion document on the issue can be found at

Air quality on the inner ring road and even at a key junction in Fulford is close to the maximum safe limit of NO2, and will get worse with more traffic from new developments. For Park&Ride to work effectively, measures such as those proposed for Fulford Road will need to be combined with other ways to make alternatives to the private car more attractive and convenient, and to protect the quality of life of residents living in the urban area of York.

Improvements to the outer ring road should not take place without parallel measures to restrict the volume of car traffic using routes through the centre, otherwise the only result will be an overall increase in traffic on the network and deterioration in journey times by public transport.

Coun Andy D'Agorne, Green Party, Broadway West, York.

A City of York Council spokeswoman said: "The council is concerned about traffic congestion in York and the effect it has on residents, businesses and visitors.

"The authority is always seeking opportunities to address congestion and has been successful in improving public transport in the city. Usage of the Park&Ride service and ftr has continued to increase, reducing the numbers of cars on York's streets. The council has balanced this with parking control measures and road network management through its computer-controlled traffic signals.

"The council also subsidises bus services throughout the city, spending an average of £600,000 each year.

"The traffic congestion scrutiny committee has been reviewing and scrutinising all the options that are, and that may be, available to the council to continue to address the issue of traffic congestion.

"One of these options is road user charging. Though the committee received a presentation about road user charging, to update its members on the possible options, the council has no plans to introduce road user charging in the city.

"The council is currently preparing the Local Development Framework, which will address where new development should take place and how the transport systems for the future will link together.

"Everyone in the city has and will have the opportunity of commenting upon the framework over the next two years."