A £200,000 road project could be launched to shave 90 seconds off bus journey times near York Hospital.
The city council is looking at road changes in Wigginton Road, between Clarence Street and the Crichton Avenue bridge, but has ruled out reopening nearby terraced streets to traffic.
Haxby Road and Wigginton Road are “critical” to York’s bus network but suffer from congestion, a written council report says. At the same time development in the area means “substantial increases” in delays are expected, particularly in Wigginton Road.
Because of this, council transport staff have come up with a bus improvement scheme – following changes at the junction of Clarence Street and Lord Mayor’s Walk – and on Thursday next week will be asking transport executive member Coun Peter Dew to agree to their plans.
The report by Better Bus Manager Julian Ridge says the stretch of road between Crichton Avenue bridge and Clarence Street is the worst for delays, and passengers across the city are hit when buses get stuck in that area.
He added: “The delays are particularly severe at hospital shift start and end times. At these times it usually takes around eight minutes (and sometimes much longer) for buses to cover the 1.5km between Crichton Avenue and the Bootham/ Gillygate junction – an average speed of 7mph.”
Using computer-based traffic modelling to predict how the roads might be affected, transport staff have come up with three changes to cut the “side friction” that slows buses on the road.
They have ruled out reopening Fountayne Street and Vyner Street to traffic – between Haxby and Wigginton Roads – because it would have a bad effect on the currently quiet streets.
The three changes are:
Remodelling the Wigginton Road/ Haxby Road/ Clarence Street junction to prioritise Wigginton Road traffic;
Replacing the existing mini-roundabout at the entrance to the hospital with a conventional “give way” junction;
Asking bus companies to change their fare structures and timings so drivers spend less time at the Fountayne Street stops.
Together the three changes would cut 90 seconds off southbound journeys in Wigginton Road and 30 seconds off northbound trips.
However, they would make Haxby Road journeys 10 seconds slower, the report says.
Mr Ridge wrote that bus companies back the plans and if Coun Dew gives approval for more work to be done, the proposals could be finalised in the autumn.