Local Lib Dem councillors are demanding answers to why the Balloon Festival on the Knavesmire held from 28 to 30 September led to gridlock on local roads.
Nose to tail traffic jams and inconsiderate and illegal parking meant that many residents were trapped in their homes, or were unable to get back home. Buses were also stuck, leading to lengthy delays.
Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Cllr Stephen Fenton has asked Make it York to explain why the volume of traffic was not foreseen, what traffic management plans were in operation, and why there were no Police or stewards in evidence.
Information provided by council officers in recent days has confirmed that a traffic management plan such as the one used for race meetings was not considered appropriate for the event, due to the extended and flexible arrival and departure times.
Council officials are to meet with Make it York, the Police and the Festival organisers on 3 October to look at what went wrong and what lessons can be learned.
Councillor Fenton commented “I saw for myself what happened on Tadcaster Road and surrounding streets on Saturday afternoon. It was a chaotic, and at times dangerous situation.
“Both local residents and visitors to the event were badly let down. When word of the £5 parking fee spread, many visitors seemed to decide to park in residential streets off Tadcaster Road, leading to chaos in many streets.
“The event organisers need to take their share of responsibility and explain why they put in place the parking arrangements that they did, and why they did not do more to promote the use of Park & Ride.
“There is absolutely no way that this event should go ahead next year on this site unless plans are put in place – and publicised to visitors and communicated to residents and local councillors – that will avoid a repeat.”