Your questions answered: traffic impact and parking

The fifth piece in our ‘your questions answered’ series focuses on the traffic that will be generated by York Central, its potential impact on neighbouring roads and the city network, and parking within the site.

You can view our earlier pieces on vehicle access, pedestrian and cycle access,  housing and access around the National Railway Museum through York Central, by clicking on the links or via our news section.


Traffic around York Central

  • York Central is designed to encourage a low level of vehicle use, owing to its proximity to the city centre, good access to public transport links (train and bus), its broad mix of uses within the site and the improvement of pedestrian and cyclist links with the surrounding areas.
  • Because of the size and scale of York Central, additional traffic will be created, however, the traffic increase is manageable and our traffic modelling shows the highway network will continue to perform effectively now, during the build phases and in the future.
  • The detailed traffic modelling we have undertaken assesses what we consider is a ‘worst case’ scenario in terms of traffic impact.


Traffic modelling

  • A comprehensive analysis around traffic is contained within the Transport Assessment, which was submitted alongside our planning application.
  • The Transport Assessment, which has informed the current outline planning application, has been based on extensive traffic modelling using industry standard assumptions, methodologies and modelling software, including the City of York Council’s strategic traffic model.
  • It uses the City Council’s 2033 traffic model, which includes all of the effects of the draft Local Plan allocations and known mitigations, such as the improvements to the outer ring road.
  • The predicted York Central traffic figures are based on the maximum residential and maximum commercial development numbers combined, so the assessment is based on a greater amount of development than would realistically happen.
  • As a consequence, the Transport Assessment is considered to be robust as it presents a likely worst-case impact.
  • In addition, the Transport Assessment makes no assumptions on the changing nature of people’s transport habits and is therefore developed on the basis of existing travel behaviours. Changes in car ownership as a result of car-sharing schemes or autonomous vehicles and investment in city-wide public transport provision and cycling infrastructure would help to change travel behaviour and could result in lower impacts than forecast.

Impact of traffic

1. How many vehicles will there be traveling through the site?

  • Our surveys show there are currently on average around 800 vehicles that travel on Leeman Road in the morning rush hour (08:00 – 09:00am) and just over 800 in the afternoon rush hour (17:00-18:00pm). The modelling shows that without York Central, by 2033 these will be around 796 in the morning and 725 in the evening.
  • If York Central is delivered, the modelling shows that approximately 1,047 vehicles will use the new access road in the morning rush hour, and a similar amount in the afternoon rush hour. This takes into account traffic traveling in both directions. Of course, this is on the basis of the ‘worst case scenario’ for the traffic modelling.
  • During those same periods, it is calculated circa 900 vehicles will pass through Leeman Road Tunnel in the morning and 825 vehicles in the afternoon, again taking into account total traffic flows travelling in both directions.

Plan 1 – main traffic flow route and traffic system through Leeman Road Tunnel

Plan 1 - Main traffic flow routes York Central

2. How will traffic volume and movement around the city be affected as a result of York Central?

  • Some additional queuing and delay will be caused by York Central, primarily to the roads surrounding the site, and this is to be expected of a scheme of this size, with the housing and economic benefits the scheme brings. It is not, however, anticipated to be a significant impact.
  • Looking at 2033, when York Central is projected to be fully developed, and also taking into account the future growth of traffic numbers and other schemes that will have been developed, it is estimated that there will be the following impact on journey times:
    • To Lendal Gyratory from the A59/ Water End junction via the A59 in the peak morning hour there will be an additional 36 second delay added to a journey, and an extra 29 second delay in the evening rush hour. The route presented via the new access is slightly quicker and provides an alternative option to the A59 – see plan 2 below.
    • To Lendal Gyratory from the A19/ West End junction via A19 there will be a 51 second additional delay to journey’s in the morning rush hour and a 1:03 minute delay in the evening rush hour – see plan 3 below.

Plan 2 – Route to Lendal Gyratory via A59

Plan 2 - Route to Lendal Gyratory via A59


Plan 3 – Route to station via A19

Plan 3 - Route to Lendal Gyratory via A19

3. What is the effect on residents on Leeman Road and the Island Community?

  • It is anticipated that there will be a big reduction in the volume of traffic passing through this community.
  • Because the new access road will act as the main route into the city from Water End, the modelling shows that approximately 700 cars will stop traveling past St Peter’s Quarter in the morning rush hour, between 8:00am – 9:00am, and over 660 in the evening rush hour. This represents an approximate 90% reduction on the flows of traffic.
  • The modelling shows that there would be around 151 fewer cars (59%) trying to exit Salisbury Terrace on to Water End between 5pm and 6pm, and approximately 90 fewer cars (18%) coming onto Salisbury Terrace from Water End in the morning between 8:00am and 9:00am.


4. What will be the impact on traffic around Holgate Road and Clifton Road?

  • As a result of York Central being fully built, the modelling shows that in the morning rush hour, there will be approximately 6-8% (120) more cars travelling on Water End Road, less than 1% (less than 10) cars on the A19 Clifton and 6-8% (around 100) more on A59 at Acomb Road.
  • Taking in to account the traffic flow in both directions in an evening rush hour, there will be a 15% increase in traffic (approximately 150 more cars) to the west of the new access road towards the A59 and an approximate 15% decrease (roughly 110 cars) to the east of the new access from the A19.
  • During the evening rush hour it is estimated that there will again be a decrease of 1% (less than 10 cars) on the A19 Clifton and a 2-5% increase (roughly around 53 more cars) on the A59 at Acomb Road.


5. How will you avoid York Central becoming a rat run?

  • The new access road will provide an alternative route into and out of the city centre in much the same way that the existing Leeman Road does today. It is important, however, that the new access road serves a primarily local function and does not become the route of choice for commuters.
  • In order to do this, the road will be designed to include a number of measures that reduce the ability to drive at speed and a 20mph speed limit will be put in place.
  • This includes limiting forward visibility through the use of natural curves in the road and landscaped traffic islands; prioritising pedestrian and cyclist movements with strategically located crossing points; and the use of traffic signals where appropriate, including signals to manage traffic through Leeman Road Tunnel.
  • The proposal to install a bus gate for Leeman Road Tunnel, to limit access to and from the city centre, has been considered, but modelling of traffic flows has shown that it would have too great an impact on the surrounding road network to be proposed as part of the plans at this time.


6. What mitigations are you planning to reduce traffic impact?

  • Traffic signals will be used during rush hour to manage queuing traffic through the new public square, which will be at the heart of the new commercial area and close to the Leeman Road Tunnel on one side and the Post Office at the other end. The traffic signals are designed to minimise queuing at either side of the tunnel. While this will deter some traffic to alternative routes, modelling shows it won’t be significant to impact the wider network in the city, particularly around Lendal Gyratory.
  • A number of pedestrian crossings will be combined with the traffic signals to allow pedestrians to move safely from Marble Arch to the northern footway of Leeman Road, to access Scarborough Bridge and the River Ouse. Improved pedestrian access to the train station, with a new entrance will also provide alternative routes into the city for pedestrians, without having to use Marble Arch.
  • The plans for York Central are designed to prioritise and encourage walking and cycling as the safest, easiest and quickest ways to travel to and through the site.
  • We are making a number of important changes to improve the walking and cycling routes across and around York Central, which you can read about in our earlier ‘Your questions answered’ piece on pedestrian and cycle access. This primarily focuses on creating a series of new, high-quality segregated routes.
  • The site is well located for connections by rail and bus and the site design and its location will maximise the opportunities for access by public transport to reduce a reliance on individual car use.



  • Some parking for private vehicles is required within the site for use by those where more sustainable forms of travel are impractical or simply not possible. However, the outline planning application is proposing ambitiously low car parking standards, which can be applied flexibly to take account of changes in vehicle ownership and use in the coming years.

1. How many vehicles will be parked on site?

  • While the final mix of buildings is not yet fixed, the plan allocates space per type of building with a maximum ratio of:
    • Just under one space per two flats and one per house.
    • One space for every 10 workers.
    • A plan of how delivery and servicing vehicles are manged will be agreed as part of the planning application process. A key element of this will be looking at how we minimise additional vehicles and traffic on the site outside those who live and work at York Central.
  • There is currently provision for 1,566 parking spaces on the site. The new plans will provide a maximum of 2,388 spaces for all the proposed uses, including residential, office, station and commercial parking.
  • Approximately 450 spaces associated with existing rail operations and 560 spaces associated with other existing site activities (fleet services / car hire) will be lost as part of the proposed Development.

2. How will car parking work for the commercial areas and the station?

  • The masterplan includes two multi-storey car parks, located adjacent to the west of York Railway Station.
  • The current car parking will be replaced by the new multi-storey which includes station parking, providing circa 482 long stay spaces and 20 short stay spaces.
  • The outline planning application also provides a maximum parking ratio for the proposed offices, up to 10 spaces for the proposed shops, 40 for a hotel, 134 spaces for Network Rail and British Transport Police and 280 spaces for staff and visitors at the National Railway Museum.

 Plan 4 – Parking at York central

Plan 4 - Plan of the car parking provision