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Active Travel Prioritised Over Car Storage at York Station Gateway

Visual of York Station Gateway
Visual of York Station Gateway

Active travel is to be prioritised over car storage in the York Station Gateway scheme.

At a York Council meeting on 19th October 2023, Council Leader Claire Douglas approved the removal of residents’ parking on Queen Street so that cycle tracks and a wider footway can be installed.

York Station Gateway

York Station Gateway is a project funded by central government through West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA). It aims to improve pedestrian and cycle access to the station, as well as improving public spaces.

This video gives a broad overview of the intended works.

Queen Street bridge carried the road over railway tracks that took trains to the old station. As trains haven’t passed under it since the 1960s, it is no longer needed. It is to be removed as part of the project.

Removing Queen Street bridge will open up the view of the city walls.

Other planned works include moving the taxi rank, bus stops, and short stay parking. Tea Room Square, outside the York Tap pub, will become a high quality public space. Moving the bus stops will create a new public area called Station Square.

Footways will be widened and a new pedestrian crossing built directly opposite the station entrance.

There are to be new segregated cycle tracks on the approach to the station, and more cycle parking within the station.

The Objections

At the meeting on 19th October, Queen Street residents raised objections to the loss of their parking spaces.

One resident forecast that it would result in the houses changing from use as private dwellings to short-term lets. Others had fears about visits by carers and deliveries from Amazon or takeaway restaurants.

It was suggested that the loss of parking spaces could make the houses 13% less valuable.

Alternative parking is being made available on nearby Toft Green.

The residents have legitimate concerns, but it isn’t possible to please everyone. Ultimately, the council has to decide whether to implement its strategy of prioritising walking and cycling to the station, or to abandon it.

Not all the public speakers were car-focused. One asked for a 20mph limit to make the area safer.

The Council’s Response

Director of Environment, Transport and Planning James Gilchrist explained that the purpose of the project is to make the station more accessible via active travel. He referred to the transport hierarchy, which is included in the Local Transport Plan. Walking and cycling are the top priorities.

A safety audit concluded that residents’ parking would conflict with the planned segregated cycle track and should be removed.

‘There’s just not room for everything and that’s part of the challenge that faces us. Walking and cycling are prioritised over buses and then that over cars’.

james gilchrist, city of york council

Gilchrist said that there will be double yellow lines, and loading and unloading are permitted except at the busiest times.

Blue badge holders can park for 3h, and arrangements can be made for tradesmen and carers via permits.

Council Leader Claire Douglas took the decision on the Traffic Regulation Order that was before the meeting. She approved the recommendation to remove the residents’ parking at Queen Street and provide alternative spaces at Toft Green.

‘This is very difficult but I do think we need to move ahead with the recommendations as outlined and with the mitigations that have been offered’.

claire douglas, city of york council leader

Well Done City of York Council

These are not easy decisions to make, but the council is right to stay true to its sustainable transport strategy.

It isn’t possible to build cycle infrastructure without giving space to it. As there is limited road space, something has to give. It should be space for private cars that is sacrificed.

This won’t be popular with everyone, and local authorities have to stand up to the objections.

City of York Council has done that; well done.

Next Steps

The York Station Gateway project began construction this month, and should be finished by 2025.

Active Travel Prioritised Over Car Storage at York Station Gateway

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