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Agenda item

Water End Cycle Scheme Evaluation

To advise the Executive Member of the outcome of the monitoring of the Water End cycle scheme and consider the effectiveness of the scheme in encouraging increases in cycling levels. The report also considers the purpose of the scheme, traffic and cycle data and the impacts of the scheme on other parts of the highway network and reviews the option contained in a previous report to implement a road closure with reference to the draft recommendations from the Councillor Call for Action Task Group.

Decision:

RESOLVED:            That the Executive Member for City Strategy agrees to:

i)                Note the success of the scheme in achieving its main objective of delivering increased levels of cycling

ii)               Note that a road closure in the Westminster Road area would generate increases in traffic queues, and delay, at the Clifton Green junction and would potentially significantly impact on the operation of the junction and other parts of the network

iii)              Instruct officers to give further consideration to altering the signal timings during the AM peak and weekend operation

iv)              Instruct officers to give further consideration to linking the crossing points to optimise traffic flow heading towards the Clifton Green junction.

v)      Note the recommendations of the Scrutiny CCfA review to the Executive on 6 July and

·                    Suggests to the individual members of the Scrutiny Committee that, in light of officer concerns about the limited options available to them, they should make it clear precisely what changes they would expect to see covered by their recommendation for “new, comprehensive proposals for the Water End junctions to improve the current junction and reduce greatly traffic flows in Westminster Road/The Avenue”? and

·                    Endorses the following scrutiny recommendations:

a.      That the Council should, in future, use traffic models which incorporate side streets when assessing and designing junction improvements

b.      That the present policy of reviewing new highway schemes only after a period of twelve months should be modified to enable a review after three months when unforeseen consequences have arisen and when Ward Members request it.

REASON:To retain the benefits of the cycle scheme without causing additional delay to the network and to alter the signal timings in order to improve traffic flow travelling towards and through the junction, which is intended to reduce the amount of traffic diverting through Westminster Road and The Avenue.

Minutes:

The Executive Member considered a report, which advised him of the outcome of monitoring of the Water End cycle scheme and the effectiveness of the scheme in encouraging increases in cycling levels. The report also considered the purpose of the scheme, traffic and cycling data and the impacts of the scheme on other parts of the highway network, specifically Westminster Road and The Avenue. He also considered details of the option contained in a previous report to implement a road closure with reference to the draft recommendations from the Councillor Call for Action Task Group.

 

Representations were received from the Cyclists Touring Club who confirmed that it was not possible for York to build its way out of congestion and that the Water End scheme showed the need to consider other transport options, without which they felt future gridlock would become a certainty. They also pointed out the Scrutiny Committee’s findings revealed some useful learning points for future schemes.

 

Representations were also made by a resident of Westminster Road who confirmed that there had been a 97% increase in through traffic volume in Westminster Road/The Avenue. He stated that this increase was as a result of the changes made to the Water End junction. He referred to the table of Comparative Traffic Volumes in the Officers report and pointed out that these were not due to the action of the Council elsewhere. He pointed out that some anecdotal information had been omitted from the notes of the CCfA Task Group meetings.  He pointed out that nothing had been proposed to assist the problems that residents were encountering in the area.

 

Officers pointed out that the report had not been intended as a response to the recommendations of the Task Groups report and that all the Groups findings would be examined by the Executive at their meeting on 6 July. 

 

The Executive Member confirmed that he could not ignore the Scrutiny Committees deliberations and while it would be inappropriate to agree implementation of their proposals before the Executive had discussed the issue to aid clarity he would be endorsing the recommendations in relation to future capital programme modelling work and the timescales etc for review of future schemes. He referred to the “new, comprehensive proposals for the Water End junction” as referred to by the Scrutiny Committee and questioned the type of options the Committee had in mind.

 

The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that the Task Group had now held its last meeting but that it had intended that all possible options should be considered to gain improvements at the junction and reduce traffic flows in Westminster Road/The Avenue.

 

The Executive Member confirmed that improvements in the area had proved to be controversial and that when agreed members had appreciated that there would be some negative implications. However, the scheme had been successful in increasing the number of cyclists using the corridor and any increase in the number of people cycling was an advantage to all road users. He did point out that the volume of vehicles now using Westminster Road was less than on many other streets where residents complained of “rat running”. He stated that it was now clear that, after a settling down period, the length of time taken to get through the Water End junction was broadly comparable to the situation before the cycle lane was established although some queue lengths had changed.

 

The Executive Member then went on to express his appreciation to Officers for the work they had put into addressing the problems at this junction .

 

RESOLVED:            That the Executive Member for City Strategy agrees to:

i)                Note the success of the scheme in achieving its main objective of delivering increased levels of cycling

ii)               Note that a road closure in the Westminster Road area would generate increases in traffic queues, and delay, at the Clifton Green junction would potentially significantly impact on the operation of the junction and other parts of the network

iii)              Instruct officers to give further consideration to altering the signal timings during the AM peak and weekend operation 1.

iv)              Instruct officers to give further consideration to linking the crossing points to optimise traffic flow heading towards the Clifton Green junction. 2.

v)      Note the recommendations of the Scrutiny CCfA review to the Executive on 6 July and

·        Suggests to the individual members of the Scrutiny Committee that, in light of officer concerns about the limited options available to them, they should make clear precisely what changes they would expect to see covered by their recommendation for “new, comprehensive proposals for the Water End junctions to improve the current junction and reduce greatly traffic flows in Westminster Road/The Avenue”? and 3.

·        Endorses the following scrutiny recommendations:

a.      That the Council should, in future, use traffic models which incorporate side streets when assessing and designing junction improvements

b.      That the present policy of reviewing new highway schemes only after a period of twelve months should be modified to enable a review after three months when unforeseen consequences have arisen and when Ward Members request it.

REASON:To retain the benefits of the cycle scheme without causing additional delay to the network and to alter the signal timings in order to improve traffic flow travelling towards and through the junction, which is intended to reduce the amount of traffic diverting through Westminster Road and The Avenue.

Supporting documents:

 

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