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How to Connect Haxby to York by Bike

Haxby circulation plan
Haxby circulation plan

Imagine:

  1. You were a council that had committed to reducing transport emissions by 71% within 8 years – including reducing car mileage by 25%, and increasing cycling by 33%
  2. Your biggest planned transport scheme was expanding Outer Ring Road capacity, which evidence shows would increase car mileage and emissions
  3. There was a village (shaped like a T-shirt) 5km north of the city centre with four roads running towards it (B1363 Wigginton Road, Haxby Road, Huntington Road, and New Lane/Strensall Road), all of which were hostile to cycling

If you were that council, what would you do?

I suggest you’d put forward a bold, high-quality plan consistent with your twin aims of reducing car miles and increasing cycling.

I have three suggestions, but only the first is bold and high-quality.

1) Make Haxby Road One Way for Motor Vehicles

The best way to achieve the council’s aims would be to make Haxby Road one way for motor vehicles. That would free up a width of 3m for a bi-directional cycle track. The main roads through Wigginton and Haxby would also become one way.

There would be some inconvenience for drivers, but no one would have to go very far out of their way because there are links to Huntington Road at regular intervals. If residents of Huntington Road fear displaced traffic, Huntington Road could also be made one way, in the opposite direction to Haxby Road.

Anyone going from the city centre to Haxby could take the B1363 Wigginton Road.

Current Provision for Cycling on Haxby Road

The current provision for cycling on Haxby Road is a mish-mash of intermittent, low-quality facilities.

There are painted, advisory cycle lanes from the southern start-point of Haxby Road to the junction with Haley’s Terrace; they are about 1m45 wide. The cycle lanes then stop.

End of Haxby Road cycle lane at Haley's Terrace
End of Haxby Road cycle lane at Haley’s Terrace

There’s no cycle provision as you head towards New Earswick. The only exception is quite a good little mini-roundabout bypass at the junction with Link Road.

Haxby Road mini-roundabout bypass
Haxby Road mini-roundabout bypass

Whilst it is welcome, obviously odd bits of provision are no use – people need to be looked after properly all the way.

There’s no cycle provision through New Earswick either, but cycle lanes appear again north of the village. They are about 1m20 wide. There’s even a token bit of light segregation for about 15m.

Light segregation on Haxby Road
Light segregation on Haxby Road

I like the light segregation – it feels safe. Everyone uses it, including proper road cyclists. I don’t even mind that it’s less than the Absolute Minimum width.

On the other hand, a 15m length of it on a 5km road is a very small benefit.

At the A1237, there’s a proper underpass with separate foot and cycle paths.

A1237 Underpass
A1237 Underpass

Unfortunately, the other side of the underpass are the dreaded 76cm Haxby cycle lanes.

Making Haxby Road one way is the best way to create quality cycle provision. What are the alternatives?

2) Route Via Bootham Stray

You could try to improve the existing route via the cycle path across Bootham Stray.

Proper provision would have to be made on the B1363, at least from the junction with Haxby Road. Past the hospital current provision is largely painted advisory cycle lanes.

North of the Cocoa Works, there’s a cycle path separated from the footway by a white line only.

Cycle and footpath by the B1363
Cycle and footpath by the B1363

The bike path is only 1m20 wide, which is nowhere near enough for two-way cycling. It works ok and people use it, but it isn’t quality provision; it should be widened and separated from the footpath (level and colour difference).

You can then pick up the cycle path across Bootham Stray to New Earswick.

Path across Bootham Stray
Path across Bootham Stray

I think it follows the route of the old railway to Stamford Bridge and Market Weighton.

Path across Bootham Stray
Path across Bootham Stray

Again, if this was the main cycle route north, you’d improve the path (2m footway + 3m bi-directional cycle path). You’d also remove the barrier at New Earswick.

Barrier at New Earswick
Barrier at New Earswick

In New Earswick, the residential backroads (Garthway, White Rose Avenue, Rowan Avenue) make a good route. A modal filter could be added if traffic volumes are significant.

Rowan Avenue leads to Haxby Road, which you rejoin to continue north. It has narrow painted cycle lanes, and that one bit of light segregation, before reaching the Outer Ring Road. The cycle lanes could be widened as much as possible, and light segregation added on this whole stretch.

Disadvantages:

  1. It is less direct than Haxby Road
  2. It wouldn’t have the effect of decreasing car miles, which is the council’s objective
  3. It would be less visible/somewhat hidden away, so would be less likely to attract new users
  4. It would be hard to provide continuity and consistent quality, including minimum widths
  5. You’d still have to make the main roads in Haxby one way to make space for cycling

3) Path by the Railway Line

Path by the railway line
Path by the railway line

There is a footpath by the railway line, across Bootham Stray then up the west side of Haxby. It could possibly be converted into a cycle track + footway with a sealed surface.

Disadvantages:

  1. There is still the problem of how to make provision between York city centre and the start of the path
  2. Less direct than Haxby Road – would people use it?
  3. Unlikely to be regarded as safe after dark
  4. It would involve a lot of new tarmac
  5. In Haxby, the path is used by dog-walkers, who may not welcome changes to its character

Consultation

Clearly there would have to be a consultation about any proposed scheme.

It might be a good idea to put forward two or three options consistent with the council’s transport objectives, and ask people which they prefer. Like Seville, it should be made clear that doing nothing is not an option.

How to Connect Haxby to York by Bike

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