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.

Knavesmire pond mystery resolved

Further to the recent story about the excavation of a small pond on the Knavesmire bordering Bracken Road, the mystery surrounding this work has been resolved.

It turns out that the work is being carried out by Froglife as part of their Yorkshire Tails of Amphibian Discovery (TOAD) project which seeks to reduce the huge decline of the UK’s common toads in Yorkshire and help replenish populations. It is funded through the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund which is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

This is a very worthy project which deserves support, and it is to be hoped that local residents and councillors will be kept informed of the plans for the site, with opportunities for community involvement.

Mystery surrounds Knavesmire pond excavation

Local councillors are investigating why a small pond on the Knavesmire has been excavated, leaving the site an unsightly mud bath. The site is off Bracken Road, next to Knavesmire Wood.

The pond in December 2021

Council officers have been asked if they know why this excavation work has been done. York Racecourse has confirmed that the excavation work was not done by them or at their request.

In spring and summer months the pond has been a haven for wildlife, providing a place for frogs to spawn.

The pond in May 2020

Moor Lane rail compound – drop-in session on 8 December

Network Rail have organised a drop-in session for local residents on Wednesday 8 December to discuss plans for a temporary compound on land next to the railway line off Moor Lane in Woodthorpe. The event will be held at York College from 4pm to 7pm. Local councillors were made aware of the event in an e-mail from Network Rail on Monday 6 December, though we understand that there has been a letter drop to households near the compound site.

Earlier this year councillors called on Network Rail to engage with local residents about the plans after they announced their plans to establish a compound on Moor Lane to support upgrade work on the line between York and Church Fenton. The initial plans would have seen the compound located 40 metres away from homes on Moor Lane. News of the plans led directly to the sale of a home falling through at the last minute, causing the residents considerable distress.

Cllr Stephen Fenton has repeatedly called on Network Rail to meaningfully engage with local residents

Cllr Stephen Fenton called on Network Rail to pause their plans and listen to the concerns expressed by local residents. Then in April Network Rail announced that they were proposing to move the compound further downfield to help reduce both visual and noise disturbance from the site.

In their latest e-mail to Cllr Fenton on 6 December, Network Rail said:

“This compound will be vital in enabling us to carry out major track improvement work as part of our Transpennine Route Upgrade, which will allow more frequent, more reliable, faster, greener trains between York, Leeds and Manchester. For a number of months our project team have been investigating what they can do to minimise disruption and intrusion for lineside neighbours and the local community.

Following feedback, we have now been able to move the site of the compound further down the field and additional shielding will be provided by a topsoil barrier. Both these mitigations will help reduce both visual and noise disturbance from the site to residents while we carry out these major upgrade works. We continue to work with City of York Council to obtain agreement to widen the main access gate to assist large vehicles to enter and exit the site.

It is planned that the compound will be active from 15 February 2022 until approximately July 2024. It will only be in operation when required, which will not be for the entirety of this period, but when in use the compound will be operating up to 24-hours a day, which will generate a low to moderate level of noise.

Below is a diagram showing the improved location and layout of the temporary compound. The machine stabling will be placed furthest away from the houses to reduce noise and disturbance. The compound will include:  

  • Temporary office 
  • Staff welfare facility and toilet units
  • Containers for storage   
  • Fuel bowser and generator
  • Car parking spaces”
Network Rail’s latest compound plans

Cllr Stephen Fenton commented “I’m pleased that Network Rail have organised this event to provide residents with an opportunity to quiz the Network Rail team about the plans and the impact that the compound is likely to have on neighbouring households. I remain concerned in particular about the proposed vehicular access arrangements onto Moor Lane – I note that Network Rail is in contact with council officers about this and would hope and expect there to be a thorough safety assessment undertaken.”

Date set for West Thorpe resurfacing work

City of York Council will be carrying out road resurfacing work on West Thorpe starting on Monday 29 November for 5 days (weather permitting). The works will be carried out between 9.00am – 5.00pm.

All on-street parking will be suspended during the hours of the works for the full duration, but specific access requirements can be arranged by speaking to the site Traffic Management Operatives, who will coordinate with residents (and business requirements) around the ongoing operations.

The road surface on West Thorpe has been in a very poor condition for many years, despite frequent patching and pothole filling.

Consultation launched on parking restrictions

City of York Council has advertised proposals to install parking restrictions at a number of locations around Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward.

Objections or other representations should be submitted in writing to the Director of Economy & Place to arrive no later than 12th November 2021, by e-mail to highway.regulation@york.gov.uk or by post to Network Management, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA.

Anyone can submit a request to the council for parking restrictions to be implemented. Officers consider all of the requests received and a report then goes to a public meeting (Executive Member for Transport Decision Session) at which it is agreed which proposals can go forward to be advertised.

Moorcroft Road

Burns Court

Chalfonts

The Square

Public Health team coming to Woodthorpe

The City of York Council’s Public Health team will be going door-to-door in Woodthorpe on Wednesday 27th October offering residents free lateral flow tests and talking about the importance of symptom free testing to prevent the spread of the virus.  The staff are also trained to have conversations about the Covid vaccine and to give information about why and how people can access the vaccine. Details of the streets being visited can be found on the council website at https://www.york.gov.uk/information-covid1-9/symptom-free-coronavirus-testing/6 The team will also be out in Woodthorpe on 1st and 8th November.

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.