A draft strategy aiming to change York transport by freeing up roads for more bus, walking and cycling journeys will not come at the expense of drivers, council officials have said.

Phasing traffic lights for pedestrian and cyclist road crossings, cutting congestion around schools and new enforcement powers are among the initiatives City of York Council is looking at for its Transport Strategy.

The strategy, which would run until 2040, aims to make getting around without a car easier, cut emissions to improve people’s health and the environment and boost York’s economy.

Transport executive member Cllr Kate Ravilious said the council would look to learn from how such changes had been implemented elsewhere, adding the strategy was not an anti-car move.

It comes as the draft strategy is set to go before the council’s Executive on Thursday, July 18.

The strategy has been drawn up ahead of an estimated growth in York’s population of around 30,000 by 2040.

That population growth is expected to see vehicle trips rise from their current levels of around 450,000 to 510,000 by 2033 if no changes to York’s transport network are made.

The increase would lead to an estimated 14 per cent increase in journey times, or an extra minute and a half on the average vehicle trip.

More disruption to the city’s road network is also expected as climate change takes hold as flooding and heat waves become more frequent.

Diesel bus in York. Pic: Flick WilliamsDiesel bus in York. Pic: Flick Williams

Council officials told reporters today (Wednesday, July 10) responses to last year’s consultation on the strategy showed things needed to change to tackle traffic congestion.

It also showed people felt bus services were not working well enough, with one young apprentice saying it took them two and a half hours to travel to placements.

Changes being looked at which could come into effect in the short term include changing the timing of traffic lights so pedestrians and cyclists have more time to cross roads.

Schemes to reduce congestion around schools during pick up and drop off times and enforcement of moving traffic offences using number plate recognition cameras could also be brought in.

Lanes in some roads could also be filtered as they are for buses currently but to restrict them for use for pedestrians and cyclists at certain times.

Parts of the strategy could be implemented within the next one to two years if it is approved.

More long term projects could get underway over the next 15 years, subject to design work and available funding.

It is hoped some of the £100 million expected to be available to the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority for transport could be used for the strategy.

Transport executive member Cllr Ravilious said the council’s recent management of closures related to the Station Gateway project showed the potential for managing works so that disruption is minimised.

She added the strategy aimed to put drivers and people without a car on a more equal footing.

“We don’t know yet how this will work best for York, engagement will be crucial.

“We’re not anti-car, it will still be possible to drive anywhere in the city.”