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York Lendal Bridge Car Ban Trial Starts Today

Lendal Bridge

6:01am 27th August 2013
(Updated 4:45pm 27th August 2013)

After months of debate the controversial six month ban on cars, motorbikes and vans crossing York's Lendal Bridge in daytime begins today and there have been protests on the bridge.

At around 8:30 this morning, this protestor called Steve blocked traffic on the bridge for a short period.

WARNING: This video contains strong language.

He has since spent the rest of the day talking to drivers about to cross the bridge so they can turn away. The city council has had officials at both entrances to the bridge but they cannot stop motorists crossing the bridge due to a lack of powers and health and safety concerns.

An off duty bus driver also stepped out into the road to re-direct cars and told Minster FM it was because he felt they should not be crossing the bridge.

Those drivers who do cross the bridge face a £60 fine which is reduced to £30 if it's paid within 14 days.

At least two City of York Council vehicles, a bin lorry and a van have been seen breaking the ban, which also applies to the city council. The city council says the van was an exception as it was carrying out work related to the trial.

The city council says the bin lorry was allowed as it was emptying bins in the city centre, gritters will be allowed as will the National Railway Museum's road train and Post Office vehicles.

Concerns had been raised about some signs relating to the trial being confusing or hidden by other signs but council workers were out shortly after the trial began to fix the problem.The number of cars crossing the bridge did also fall shortly after the trial began but there are still motorists either unaware or ignoring the restriction.

Dave Merrett said: “Today was an important first step to managing the traffic flow on Lendal Bridge and we thank everyone for their cooperation. Through the trial we hope to improve the environment at the north end of the city centre by reducing congestion, as well as improving the reliability and timekeeping of bus services all the way between Blossom Street, Bootham and Gillygate, and Stonebow and Piccadilly. 

“Throughout the trial we are undertaking comprehensive and open monitoring with an independent body – the expert Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, so everyone can see its impacts. However, this is only day one, and it will take a number of weeks until we can get meaningful data that will provide a real picture of the trial as it progresses.”

Ruth Stephenson from York Council has told Minster FM it's expected the first couple of weeks will be "difficult" as motorists get used to the ban and find other ways round the city.

Drivers are being advised to leave extra time for journeys and where possible to ditch the car.

The following types of transport will be banned between 10.30am and 5.00pm every day:

  • Private cars
  • Lorries
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • Mopeds

The following types of transport will still be allowed:

  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Cyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Emergency vehicles
  • York Council bin lorries and gritters
  • Royal Mail vehicles
  • National Railway Museum land train

Independent consultants Beacon Dodsworth have told Minster FM 3,400 journeys every day will be affected.

Longer journey times, more miles being travelled and slower speeds are all being predicted.

The first findings of the effect of the trial will be published in three months time.

The city council is encouraging people to give their thoughts on the trial, you can e-mail your opinions to lendalbridge@york.gov.uk or attend feedback sessions on stands on Parliament Street on the 11-12 September and 5 October.

Feedback will be used to decide whether to keep the scheme, scrap it or extend it from 7am to 7pm.

We'll have the latest on how the trial is impacting the roads on 104.7 Minster FM and on minsterfm.com.

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