Celebrations as York’s new £4.4m Scarborough Bridge scheme is officially opened
New cycle and foot bridge is the first over the River Ouse in York city centre for 138 years
Katie Sherlock from Clifton Green Primary School and Ruby Lorains from St Barnabas CE Primary School unveiling the plaque with Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Cllr Keith Aspden, Cllr Kim Groves, Cllr Janet Looker and David Dickson.
A plaque has been unveiled on York’s Scarborough Bridge to mark its official opening, following the completion of a £4.4m scheme to boost access for people travelling by bike, on foot or using mobility aids between the train station and the city centre.
The new bridge has been delivered by City of York Council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through its CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).
The new 65-metre-long bridge is three times as wide as the old footbridge at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people, and the new ramps and steps mean it is accessible even when the River Ouse is in flood.
More than 4,000 trips have been made on the new bridge every day since it reopened to the public in April – an extra 1,000 extra journeys per day compared to the old footbridge.
The £4.4m project has been funded by a £1.9m grant through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, a £1.5m from the government’s Local Growth Fund awarded by the YNYER and £1m of City of York Council funds.
Members of the community were joined by Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council; Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport at City of York Council; Cllr Janet Looker, Lord Mayor of York; Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee; and David Dickson, Chair of YNYER EP Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, for the unveiling of the new plaque.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “It is great that York’s new £4.4m Scarborough Bridge is now officially open. The opening of this new cycle and footbridge, delivered by City of Council with our partners, has significantly enhanced accessibility to the city centre for the thousands of local people who use it on a daily basis, not to mention visitors to the city, including those travelling to and from the hospital.
“The new cycle and foot bridge is the first over the River Ouse in York city centre for 138 years. Its successful completion is a fantastic example of partnership working, and its development represents a significant investment in the city’s infrastructure.”
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Transport, said: “As part of the drive to reduce congestion and improve air quality in York, we’re committed to improving and developing facilities for people travelling on foot or by bicycle. The opening of the new bridge is already playing an important role in these plans by improving connectivity between existing cycle routes and footpaths, making it easier than ever before for people to travel from A to B sustainably.”
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the completion of the £4.4m Scarborough Bridge scheme in partnership with City of York Council and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.
“It’s fantastic to see that the new wider bridge is already being used for more and more trips each day. We’re looking forward to seeing even more people making the most of the improved access between the train station and city centre, including residents, commuters and tourists travelling by bike or on foot and, importantly, people with mobility issues.
“We know encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot not only boosts people’s health and saves individual’s money, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we want to make cycling and walking a natural choice for short, everyday journeys.”
Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Northern Powerhouse and levelling up our regions as we leave the EU on 31 October.
“Backed by £1.5m of the Local Growth Fund, this significant investment in York’s infrastructure is providing an accessible, scenic, traffic free route between the railway station and the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists, benefitting both residents and visitors to the city, and enhancing York’s position as a major tourist destination.”
David Dickson, chair of YNYER LEP’s Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, said: “The YNYER LEP investment ethos is ‘Good Growth in Distinctive Places’ and this improvement is a fine example of these values in practice. The completion of Scarborough Bridge is the beginning of the realisation of York’s future vision of improved accessibility and connectivity. It is great to see that the changes have already made a positive impact on the local community and local economic growth. Improving the access from the railway station the bridge will, amongst other things, open up exciting future employment opportunities in regional and international businesses.”
Helen Patching, a Project Support Officer at Healthwatch York, said: “I commute to work every day and love the fact that I no longer have to carry my bike up the steps; it’s great! Also, as mum to a 16-year old son with learning difficulties and autism, in the past when I had my son with me and also a toddler in a pushchair I wouldn’t have contemplated using Scarborough Bridge. Now it’s our preferred route, and we take bikes and scooters across it. Having a route that we can use to cross the river as a family has made such a difference to us. It feels so much safer and calmer.”
The original bridge was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1845. This first iteration saw the walkway placed between the railway tracks and was accessed by internal steps.
When York Station was moved in 1873-5 the bridge was updated to make it suitable. This is when the old footbridge was installed and, until recently, had remained largely unchanged for the last 144 years.
Earlier this year, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City of York Council were awarded £300,000 from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund to make further improvements to cycle and walkways between Scarborough Bridge, York railway station and the city centre.
These improvements will include:
• an enhanced crossing of the A19 Bootham, linking into the cycle route through to York District Hospital;
• improvements to the approaches to the new bridge from the riverside and adjacent routes;
• replacing the steps from St Mary’s to Marygate Lane with a ramp.
City of York Council’s iTravel team attended the Scarborough Bridge launch event to offer journey planning advice and information to members of the public.
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