Further details shared on Tadcaster Road cycling / walking scheme

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward councillors have welcomed the publication of further details of measures designed to support cycling, walking and bus use along the Tadcaster Road corridor and a commitment for further engagement with residents and modal groups on ‘light segregation’ proposals designed to improve cyclist safety.

These proposals will be considered at a public Executive Member for Transport Decision Session on Tuesday 18 January at 10am.

The report being discussed at the meeting is available HERE.

The proposed £1.4m scheme is funded from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund and will be delivered as part of a wider package of measures funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. The £1.4m funding can only be used on measures to promote cycling, walking and bus use, and cannot be diverted into general highway maintenance.

The Tadcaster Road proposals have been informed by feedback from residents

The latest draft of the proposals take into account feedback from residents that was submitted during a consultation exercise held in August and September 2021, which informed revised proposals set out in a report to a Decision Session held in October 2021. The October report stated that work would be undertaken to explore options for ‘light segregation’ along sections of Tadcaster Road to offer cyclists better protection. It also committed to looking again at proposals to relocate an inbound bus stop near to Slingsby Grove and the positioning of a proposed new pedestrian crossing in that area, both of which had attracted comments and concerns in the consultation.

The report to be considered at the 18 January meeting contains further revised proposals – summarised below – which reflect feedback received and detailed design and costing work undertaken:

  • Widening of the footpath / cycle path at the corner of Tadcaster Road and Knavesmire Road.
  • Confirmation of the proposed pedestrian crossing near to the junction with Nelsons Lane.
  • The pedestrian crossing proposed for The Horseshoe area is to be moved to just south of Slingsby Grove (nearer to the shops), retaining a pedestrian refuge to cater for crossing movements near Middlethorpe Grove.
  • The proposal to relocate the inbound bus stop near Slingsby Grove 75 metres south has been dropped. Instead, it is proposed to retain the bus stop within the shopping area, placing it approximately 20 metres north of its current location. This would create a continuous parking / loading bay outside the shops and provide an opportunity to take steps to improve sight lines for vehicles turning right out of Slingsby Grove. The report commits to localised consultation with residents and businesses in the Slingsby Grove area about the proposed changes from the plans presented last year.
  • Work is to continue to identify measures to improve the very narrow shared cycle / foot path opposite the Sim Balk Lane junction – known as ‘cemetery corner’ – with funds set aside to accommodate a scheme at this location.

Some sections of ‘light segregation’ are proposed as a means to improve cyclist safety on the corridor. The report notes that a variety of different techniques are being used by different local authorities. It states that design options should be considered carefully to minimise maintenance and visual intrusion while protecting users in the lane.

The various constraints along Tadcaster Road are summarised in the report, and these mean it is not possible to provide segregation all the way along the corridor but it is proposed to use segregation (in the form of bolt-down ‘rails’) at a number of locations where cyclists are most vulnerable. It is also proposed to introduce some light segregation in the form of a ‘stepped cycle lane’ on a section of Tadcaster Road in the Hunters Way area, where the road is wide enough to accommodate this.

The report commits to further engagement to refine the approach to light segregation which is proposed and to identify and address any issues or concerns that may be raised. Local councillors will ensure that residents are kept informed and have the opportunity to raise any comments or concerns.

Revised Tadcaster Road proposals announced

Following the recent consultation on outline proposals to support cycling, walking and bus use along the Tadcaster Road corridor, City of York Council officers have reviewed the feedback and have proposed a set of revised proposals, which will be discussed at a public Decision Session on Tuesday 19th October.

Local councillors held some drop-in sessions in September to give residents an opportunity to view the £1.4 million proposals, which are funded from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund and are to be delivered as part of a wider package of measures funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. Feedback from these drop-in sessions was fed in as part of the consultation.

Drop-in session held at Little Hob Moor on 18 September

The report for the Decision Session notes that a significant number of respondents were not in favour of some of the interventions intended to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers (especially the new signalised crossings), but many respondents felt that the provision for cyclists, pedestrians and bus passengers did not go nearly far enough. A number of alternative schemes were proposed, or alternative uses of the funding, including suggestions that all of the funding should be allocated to a single intervention, such as substantial modifications to Moor Lane roundabout to improve it for cyclists.

The report notes that a ‘lesson learned’ from the consultation is the need to prioritise funding to make the greatest possible overall benefit, but accepting that, at current funding levels, schemes which comply with every aspect of LTN 1/20 (Government guidance on cycle infrastructure design) may not always be possible.

Set out below are some of the recommended revisions to the initial proposals:

  • The proposal to widen the footpath from the Tyburn to the Marriott Hotel to create an off-road shared cycle / foot path has been abandoned. This seems to be in response to opposition to a shared cycle / foot path such as that proposed. The report states that creating an off-road path that would be wide enough to accommodate segregation would require the felling of 12 mature trees
  • It is proposed to explore options for ‘light segregation’ to give cyclists in the on-road cycle lane some protection
  • Proposed footpath widening near The Horseshoe has been dropped after residents queried the necessity for this
  • In response to overwhelming opposition to the proposal to relocate the bus stop from outside the Slingsby Grove shops 75 metres south, officers will look for an alternative location (hopefully in consultation with councillors, businesses and residents)

For the proposed off-road cycle lane section opposite the Slingsby Grove shops, local councillors fed back the suggestion that rather than install a new cycle path behind the layby (which more confident cyclists wouldn’t use), could the layby be moved into that area to create a ‘buffer’ to enable cyclists to continue along the road without fear of being ‘doored’. This doesn’t appear to have been considered.

Whilst there isn’t currently the money available for a major project at the Moor Lane roundabout, the report talks about options to widen the two-way cycle paths around the roundabout (many of which are very narrow) by possibly reducing the lanes on the approach roads from dual to single. This did not form part of the consultation, and it is unclear what assessment has been made of the impact of such a proposal, for example on bus reliability (which is meant to be a key aim of the overall scheme). There are concerns in particular about the possible impact that such a proposal could have on the reliability of the number 12 service during peak times, as it has to navigate the roundabout on its journeys to and from Woodthorpe.

Moor Lane approach to the Askham Bar roundabout

The report confirms that a feasibility study has been completed which considers subway options at the crossing point between York College and Tesco. A viable layout has been developed but not progressed due to an estimated cost of £1.5 million which is beyond what is available and would not fit with the funding conditions. A subway option would also be subject to land take and further design, assessment and consultation as part of a later phase of work.

New 12A to restore half-hourly daytime bus service

Councillor Stephen Fenton has welcomed the restoration of a half-hourly bus service between Woodthorpe and the city centre.

First York have announced that from Monday 27 September there will be a new 12A service which will run Monday to Saturday daytime on an hourly basis between Piccadilly, Foxwood and Woodthorpe, This means that, with the continuing hourly number 12 service between Woodthorpe and Monks Cross, there will in effect be a half-hourly daytime service between Woodthorpe and the city centre.

The new timetable is available on the First York website HERE  

Some points to note:

  • The 12A will operate between Woodthorpe shops and Piccadilly but will not stop at Askham Bar
  • It will go round the ‘Woodthorpe loop’ once, as the 12 does at the moment
  • There’ll still be an hour’s gap between the 6.25am and 7.25am departures from Woodthorpe shops, as the first 12A departure from Woodthorpe shops to Piccadilly will be at 7.55am

Stephen commented “I would like to thanks the many residents who sent me e-mails and messages explaining the impact that the temporary reduction in the frequency of the number 12 has had on them – this feedback has been very helpful in demonstrating to First that the service needs to be restored to its previous frequency as soon as possible. And I would like to thank First York for listening to and acting on this feedback from residents.”

Update from councillors’ meeting with First York

Following the announcement of the introduction of an emergency temporary timetable for the services 1, 4, 6 & 12, Liberal Democrat councillors representing the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe, Westfield and Huntington & New Earswick wards met with First York Managing Director, Ian Humphreys, on Wednesday 25 August.

It was a constructive meeting in which Mr Humphreys set out the challenges that have led to the temporary reduction in service frequency on some routes. We stressed the importance of these service for local residents, for many of whom the bus is their only way to get around, and that residents need to have confidence in the service.

We heard that the timetable changes being made are an emergency response to the current driver shortage and are designed to build in more reliability, albeit with reduced frequency, as an attempt to overcome the need to cancel services at short notice as has happened recently.

We received an assurance that the number 12 service will be a priority for restoration to the previous timetable when there is resource available. In response to concerns we raised about the ability of a reduced service to cope with demand in the morning peak period in particular, we were assured that the number 12 will be a priority for additional capacity to be added in these peak periods if demand indicates that this is needed.

We asked that the operation of the temporary timetable for the number 12 – and the changes which see the ‘Woodthorpe Loop’ removed from Foxwood-bound journeys and Woodthorpe Shops established as the new terminus – are carefully monitored and changes considered where it becomes apparent that this is needed.

We stressed the importance of clear and timely communication, for example explaining the changes being made rather than just issuing a timetable with no accompanying explanation.

Councillors seek urgent meeting to discuss First bus cuts

Liberal Democrat councillors representing the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield wards are seeking an urgent meeting with the Managing Director of First York to discuss a sudden reduction in the frequency of some key services.

In a briefing note from the City of York Council’s Transport team, councillors were informed on 23rd August that First is making temporary ‘emergency’ service reductions on routes 1, 4, 6 and 12 from Saturday 28th August. The move has been prompted by a severe shortage of qualified driving staff due to the effects of Covid and Brexit.

The briefing note suggests that these emergency service reductions will be for 3 to 4 weeks initially, but adds that “even with First’s recruitment drive, the time taken to train new driving staff makes it likely that staff shortages will persist well into the autumn/winter, so this issue is likely to remain problematic beyond the initial 3-4 week timescale.”

The worst affected service will be the number 12, which connects Foxwood, Acomb Park, Woodthorpe and Askham Bar with the city centre and then on to Monks Cross. It will run every hour, rather than every 35 minutes. The frequency of the number 1 (Chapelfields to Wigginton) will reduce from 12 to 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime, with minor reductions to early morning and evening journeys. And the number 4 (Acomb to the city centre) will run every 20 minutes Saturday daytime, rather than every 15 minutes.

Stephen Fenton, Lib Dem councillor for Dringhouses & Woodthorpe, has written to First York MD Ian Humphreys asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the situation.

Stephen commented: “The number 12 provides a vital service for many residents in Woodthorpe, Acomb Park and Foxwood. Many users of the service are elderly residents, key workers and students who have no realistic alternative means of getting to shops, work or school. And with Woodthorpe’s GP surgery currently shut, the bus is a vital link for residents who are having to travel to the York Medical Group’s surgery in Acomb.

“We all know that the driver shortage, caused by Brexit and Covid, has had a severe impact on many sectors such as logistics and waste collections, and it is good to hear that First are taking steps to recruit new drivers. But I am concerned at the suggestion that residents are likely to face a much diminished bus service for many weeks – possibly months.

“At a time when we need to encourage more people to choose sustainable transport options, I fear that the loss of bus services will make this shift even more difficult to achieve and will hit hardest those residents for whom use of a private car just isn’t an option.”

Consultation starts on Tadcaster Road improvements

A consultation has got underway on a proposed scheme to deliver improvements along Tadcaster Road aimed at supporting cycling, walking and bus travel.

The £1.4m scheme is to be funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund, and is planned to be delivered alongside a £5m investment by Government in improved drainage, lighting, road and footpath surfaces. These plans are at ‘feasibility’ stage and the purpose of this consultation is to inform the next stage of creating more detailed designs. Not all of the proposals included in this consultation may be feasible or affordable.

The consultation started on Monday 23rd August and ends on 19th September. Consultation materials are available online at www.york.gov.uk/TadcasterRoad

Local councillors will be holding ‘pop-up’ outdoor sessions to discuss the plans with residents on Saturday 18th September 10am to 12.30pm on Little Hob Moor (Tadcaster Road end) and 2pm to 4.30pm on Hunters Way (Tadcaster Road end).  We will also look to hold an online Q&A session in September – please e-mail Stephen Fenton (cllr.sfenton@york.gov.uk) if you’d be interested in attending.

We believe that it is vitally important that these proposals are scrutinised by residents and any concerns or new ideas flagged up which can inform the detailed design stage. It’s in everyone’s interests that we make it safer and more attractive for people to travel by cycle, on foot or by bus – getting more people out of their cars will help to reduce congestion for those residents for whom the car is their only way to get around.

We recognise that there is a limit to what can be achieved with £1.4m and some of the potential schemes considered – such as an underpass between York College and Tesco –  won’t be affordable at this stage. Transforming Cities Funding cannot be used for general road and footpath maintenance.

Some of the proposals being consulted on include:

  • Existing segregated cycle path from Knavesmire Road to Pulleyn Drive converted to shared cycle / footpath and then creation of a 3 metre shared cycle / footpath up as far as the Marriott Hotel
  • New signal-controlled pedestrian crossings near the junctions with Nelsons Lane and The Horseshoe
  • Relocation of the Slingsby Grove bus stop approximately 75 metres south
  • Relocate the bus shelter on Tadcaster Road near the Old Moor Lane junction to the back of the footway, to make it easier to see buses approaching
  • Installation of a bus layby opposite York College
  • Widening the very narrow shared cycle / footpath around ‘cemetery corner’

Please do take part in this consultation and help to make this proposed scheme as good as it can be.

Tadcaster Road gas works force bus diversion

The works being undertaken by Northern Gas Networks on Tadcaster Road have now reached St Helens Road. As previously reported, St Helens Road is not closed but temporary three-way traffic signals are in use.

There is bad news however for users of the number 4 bus. The layout of bollards at the Tadcaster Road / St Helens Road junction is such that it is too tight for a bus to turn the corner. The Acomb-bound number 4 is therefore being diverted along Tadcaster Road, Moor Lane and then up Chaloners Road, with the same diversion followed on the route into the city centre. This means that the stops on St Helens Road and Eason View are not in operation.

Further information is available on the First York website.