Labour councillors in Clifton are calling for investment to upgrade the footbridge linking the hospital to residential streets in their ward. The bridge currently links Scarborough Terrace with York Hospital and the former Bootham Park Hospital grounds via Bridge Lane.
The bridge was constructed with steps on either side, and is therefore not accessible to wheelchair or pushchair users. A metal track has been added to each set of stairs to aid cyclists, but it is inefficient and barely fit for purpose. Clifton Labour Councillors Margaret Wells and Danny Myers believe the time has come to bring the bridge into the modern age.
The move would help to link up the key destination of the Main Hospital with Clifton and beyond, as well as aiding efforts to extend the cycle network and encourage people to travel by alternative means than by car, they say.
“The hospital is only a few metres from houses in Clifton but the railway line separates them,” said Cllr Wells. “The footbridge links Clifton to the hospital but it desperately needs updating. Despite living within walking distance from the hospital many people from the terraced streets of Clifton around Grosvenor Terrace, Newborough Street and other streets near the football ground are unable to use the bridge. Mums with pushchairs, people with mobility issues, cyclists, all struggle.
“Money is being committed to some parts of the city to create a logical network for cyclists and others to get around safely without the need to use the road, and we fully support this. But the bridge is a missing link – it should be accessible for everybody. With new housing on the cards at Bootham Crescent, Duncombe Barracks and at Bootham Park, there is an even stronger case for upgrading the bridge and ensuring people are better able to get across the railway than they can now”.
Cllr Myers said the various developments provide the opportunity for developer contributions to go into investing in the local area.
“The iron track for cyclists to heave their bikes up the steps is now quite outdated and something that is being removed elsewhere, and we need to start thinking about how we make cycling more attractive to more people.
“Residents wants to see the bridge improved and made more accessible as part of plans to improve the area, which we as councillors completely agree with. With congestion problems on this side of the city, particularly on Haxby and Wigginton Roads, common sense improvements like this can help to encourage people to switch to cycling, which is a win-win for the individual, for the council and for local health services.
“We’re expecting planning applications to be brought forward for three sites locally within the next three to six months; Duncombe Barracks, Bootham Crescent and Bootham Park Hospital. Now is the time to be having the discussion about the sustainable transport improvements that should be made.”