Lendal Bridge restrictions axed

Lendal Bridge in York.
Lendal Bridge in York.
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CONTROVERSIAL restrictions on York’s Lendal Bridge will come to an end on Saturday as the city’s council takes a fresh look at how to tackle congestion.

Council leader James Alexander announced last night that an independent cross-party commission will be asked to set out the options for reducing the city’s notorious traffic problems.

The authority has been trialling restrictions on Lendal Bridge that saw private car drivers charged £60 for crossing during a large part of the day.

Last week a driver successfully challenged the council’s right to impose the penalty although the authority has subsequently said its legal advice contradicts that ruling which it will seek to overturn.

Coun Alexander said: “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, as part of a long-term vision to create a more attractive and thriving city centre for us all - just as pedestrianisation of the city centre has.

“The principle of having a trial traffic restriction along Lendal Bridge was right and legal counsel has confirmed the implementation of the trial was legally compliant. Such a closure has been talked about since the 1970s and was called for by the leader of the Conservative opposition before the last local elections. It was included in Liberal Democrat transport plans agreed by the council before they left office.

“Through the trial we have gathered valuable information about traffic flow and seen the benefits of significantly improved bus reliability and passenger numbers. Air quality has improved across the city and both city centre footfall and hotel accommodation stays have recorded increases. It is, however, clear that the trial has been polarising and we need greater consensus amongst residents and businesses over measures required to tackle congestion in our city.”