Call for answers on Balloon Festival fiasco

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.

There were numerous examples of illegal parking, like here on Ainsty Grove

“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.

Irresponsible parking meant that the exit from Whin Road onto Bracken Road was blocked

“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.”


One thought on “Call for answers on Balloon Festival fiasco

  1. David Allison says:

    I made reference to the non functioning bus arrival monitor in Low Ousegate in my recent feedback.
    I am pleased to report that the monitor is now working again today.
    If Lib Dem intervention has caused this restoration of service then please accept my grateful Thanks.

    Reference the Balloon log jam. On the Saturday I waited for 30minutes in Low Ousegate for a No4 bus. Eventually we caught the Coastliner. After another 30 minutes we had reached the station and the driver advised us to walk as it was estimated to take 60minutes to reach the Knavesmire.
    Walking home up Tadcaster Road the problem was slight due to gas works on the mount but the major problem was the volume of traffic entering and leaving Knavesmire Road. This totalling blocked traffic leaving town.
    Race traffic is diverted down Sim Balk Lane through Bishopthorpe. Balloon traffic in future needs to do the same and routed along Bishopthorpe road to parking on the Knavesmire

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