Nearly two thousand motorists a week have been breaching a traffic ban on York’s Lendal Bridge and now face being fined.
The controversial six-month trial, which got underway at the end of August, bans lorries, cars and motorbikes from using the route during daytime hours, in a move York Council has said will ease congestion.
The authority announced a fines amnesty for the first week of the trial, during which around 1,000 motorists breached the restrictions, and installed greater signage warning of the scheme following complaints drivers were being caught unawares. New figures, however, show around 1,800 drivers a week flouted the ban up to until September 21 and they face fines of up to £60.
Ruth Stephenson, Major Transport Projects Manager at York Council, said: “York’s traffic network has responded well to the Lendal Bridge trial and preliminary results indicate that the network is fundamentally unaffected by the restriction. We are, of course, continuing to closely monitor the trial as it progresses and signal timings will continue to be adjusted to optimise the timings and help the flow of traffic.”
Initial findings show there has been localised queuing on other junctions at certain times in the day and during York City FC match days, but officers say new signal timings have been introduced and will continue to be monitored.
Coun Keith Aspden, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said: “Crucially we have not seen data on what impact the closure is having on city centre businesses and on the number of people visiting York.”
Earlier Darren Richardson, the council’s director of city and environmental services told the Yorkshire Post: “We have said from the outset the purpose of the Lendal Bridge trial is not to generate revenue, but to reduce traffic going over the bridge and through the city centre.”
Access to Lendal Bridge for cars, lorries and motorbikes is restricted between 10.30am and 5pm, seven days a week. Buses, cyclists, pedestrians, taxis and emergency vehicles have full access.