My Castle Gateway was welcomed to the Fishergate Ward Committee. We began by exploring what people would like to do be able to do in the Castle Gateway area in 5 years’ time. The key points (all of which reflected and reinforced the My Castle Gateway open public and community brief):
- Walk up the Foss and Ouse into the centre of York (reduce cars and separate them from pedestrians and cyclists)
- Buy things from local businesses
- Develop new green spaces for spending time (with lovely smells)
- Extend the green network so that wildlife can flourish
- Come into the area for a natural amphitheatre for pop up theatre and other social activities.
Andy Kerr, Project Lead for Castle Gateway, then set out the current plans. There followed a discussion. The big discussion was around the question of: Why a multi-storey car park?
There was a feeling that the car park was ‘pandering to motorists’ and that this was ‘a golden opportunity to change the way in which people access the area’. Others thought the new car park was in danger of ‘replicating the mistakes of the past’.
Andy Kerr explained that replacement of car parking was part of brief given to his team by the City of York Council Executive (paragraph 18). This was in part to do with ensuring that there was still car parking in the area and partly to do with revenue earnt which pays for public services. It was also supported by other people in the process who believe car parking is important for the success of the city centre, particularly the York Retail Forum.
He also noted that in total there is a reduction of 100 car parking spaces in the Castle Gateway as part of the proposals, and the closure of Castle Car Park will remove cars from within the inner ring road.
Questions were raised about:
- Current occupancy rates of the different car parks in the area
- How to make Park and Ride work better
- Why the car park near the Barbican was not better used.
How can the new car park be future proofed?
Andy said that because it is on a functioning flood plain it can’t be converted to flats and future proofing in other ways would increase costs now.
15% of the spaces will have electric car charging points.
The need for a coach parking strategy was raised – why can’t there be coach drop offs rather than coach parking?
Right turns into Piccadilly was discussed for buses and bikes. One problem noted was that the traffic modelling – WebTAG – used for West Yorkshire Transport Authority funding (needed for the new junction into St George’s Field) counts any delays for vehicles as an economic disbenefit, while benefits for the pedestrians and cyclists don’t carry the same weight in the tool. So WebTAG is brilliant at valuing interventions which improve things for vehicular road users but not for cyclists and pedestrians. The council has now employed consultants who are going to look at how to use WebTAG in a creative way, taking into account the broader context.
For those interested in the detail of the traffic strategy see a write up of the ‘A Gyratory, a junction and a supercrossing’ workshop.
For more on the walking and cycle routes see an update by Andy Kerr.
Join the discussion about the new bridge over the Foss.