Only two days of campaigning are left before York's crucial city council election. In the latest of a series of articles, Political Reporter Richard Edwards questions the leaders of the four largest parties, this time on York's congestion problems

Gridlock York is a term being heard more and more often in our city. How will York's traffic and transport problems be solved and will your party support the introduction of congestion charging in York?

Dave Merrett, Labour

Two years into Labour's first Local Transport Plan, we have:

63 per cent growth in Park & Ride usage, three more sites coming

A new bus fleet, and 20 per cent more passengers on Metro routes

On-going junction improvements on the northern ring road

Continuing investment in car parks (CCTV, lighting and new advanced signing)

Traffic down 4.6 per cent.

Labour will continue this approach and

Bid for major upgrading of the Northern Ring Road

Bring forward options to tackle congestion and improve air quality

Let York residents decide on the way to proceed.

Steve Galloway, Liberal Democrats

York does get very busy on some days of the year. The key to managing these peaks is better information for drivers (smart signs indicating parking space availability, estimated journey times etc).

There is no single solution to York's transport problems. Easing bottlenecks on the single carriageway ring road, park and ride, new rail stations, encouraging the use of smaller - low pollution - vehicles together with better footpath and carriageway maintenance standards, which would encourage more people to cycle and walk, all have a role to play. Congestion charging is unnecessary in a small city like York where there are other traffic management options available.

John Galvin, Conservatives

Once again there is no simple answer to this problem. If traffic congestion is to be reduced then some very difficult choices will have to be made and no doubt any decisions taken will cause objection from different sections of the community. To improve public transport as it stands will need some form of priority being given to buses over other road users.

We have to persuade more people to use park and ride and, of course, other forms of public transport. In the long term the northern ring road will have to be improved to prevent rat-running through the City. Congestion charging is not something we could easily support.

Mark Hill, Greens

Continuing work to make walking, cycling, and public transport in York more attractive and better publicised, is vital to avoid gridlock. Computerised urban traffic control and further bus priority measures are important. Park and ride schemes have shown what is possible. Work with public transport providers should ensure services are more user-friendly, reliable and fares are "family friendly".

New central housing developments should "design in" minimum car ownership. Provision of company/neighbourhood "car pools" would be expected in planning applications and could help tackle shortages of residential parking spaces. Congestion charging would generally be inappropriate, but could be a last resort.

Updated: 09:16 Monday, April 28, 2003