Talks on Balloon Fiesta traffic chaos

A meeting has been held to discuss the traffic chaos caused by the Balloon Fiesta on the Knavesmire on Saturday 29 September.

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

The meeting, on 4 October, involved City of York Council transport officers, Make it York, the Police and the event organisers. We understand that they discussed what happened and if there were any possible solutions to avoid a repeat of the problems caused.

Importantly, the council has told the organisers that they have to submit a full traffic and parking management plan early in 2019, drawn up by a fully qualified company, which will need to be approved by the Head of Transport before any decision is made to allow the event to take place again on the Knavesmire.

Local residents have asked why the race day traffic arrangements weren’t used for this event. The response we have received is that a wider traffic management plan such as the one in place for race meetings was not considered appropriate for this event owing to the extended and flexible arrival and departure times. In addition, the use of this type of plan could have created further problems given the poor management of the car parking by the event organisers.

 

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.”

 

Views sought on Highmoor Road parking options

Over recent months local Lib Dem councillors have been working with council officers to try to come up with possible solutions to help ease parking issues on Highmoor Road.

Vehicles parked opposite the entrance to Highmoor Close can make it difficult for large vehicles to get in and out, which has led to damage being done to the grass verges on the corners.

An initial idea was to create a parking bay in the verge outside the flats, similar to the one outside the flats on Wains Road. There are however utilities in the verge which would need to be diverted if tarmac was laid on the verge, which would be prohibitively expensive.

Residents are now being asked to have their say about three possible options.

Option 1 

Option 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This would provide 10 parking spaces aligned parallel to the boundary wall. Because this uses most of the lawned area, it requires a large area to allow vehicles to manoeuvre and to exit in a forward direction. This whole area would need to be converted to the EcoGrid construction.

Example of EcoGrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The proposal would also require the provision of 2 wide vehicular crossings from Highmoor Road to allow access and exit from the parking area. Due to the extensive area needing to be provided, and the wider crossings, the cost of this option would be around £40,000.

There are various options available, eg this could be reduced to 5 spaces thereby considerably reducing the area of EcoGrid and hence the overall cost. We have concerns about the feasibility of this option because the paths down to flats 10 & 12 and 26 & 28 would be removed.

Option 2

Option 2 (map should say 6, not 8, spaces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This option allows for 6 spaces, requiring the installation of 275m² of EcoGrid and a 4.5m wide vehicle crossing off Highmoor Road into the parking area. The cost of this option is around £27,500.

The access path to the front door would need to be removed / relocated to a more suitable position, but a shorter section of the front boundary wall will need to be removed compared to Option 1.

The option does result in the need for only one vehicular access, at a more conventional width.

Option 3

Option 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This option allows for 4 spaces, requiring the installation of 140m² of EcoGrid and a 4.5m wide vehicle crossing off Highmoor Road into the parking area. The cost of this option is around £19,000.

The access path to the front door would need to be removed / relocated to a more suitable position and a short section of the front boundary wall removed.

The fourth option is to do nothing and leave the lawned area in front of the flats as it is.

Residents are invited to send comments on the options to Cllr Stephen Fenton at cllr.sfenton@york.gov.uk or call 01904 787988.

Car park ‘deep clean’ needed in Woodthorpe

Local Lib Dem councillors are in discussions with McColls to try to get a much-needed deep clean of the larger of the two car parks to the rear of the Moorcroft Road shops.

The car park, which McColls has responsibility for, is in a very untidy state, with weeds, brambles and overgrown vegetation gradually taking over the perimeter, and major issues with litter and dumping. There is also a black Peugeot car which has been there for sometime, and appears to have been abandoned – the tax expired in April, two of the tyres are flat and one of the headlights is smashed.

Weeds and litter

Abandoned?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Stephen Fenton has met on site with the McColls area manager to discuss a plan of action, starting with McColls instructing their property management team to undertake a thorough deep clean of the car park. Stephen has also approached DVLA about the abandoned car – as it is on private land, there is nothing that the council can do.

Another concern is the seemingly increasing use of the car park as a ‘park & ride’ car park, with people parking up and getting the bus into town. This reduces the parking spaces available to shoppers and those visiting the nearby doctors and dentists surgeries. Stephen discussed with McColls the possibility of erecting some ‘Customer Only Parking’ signs to deter long stay parking.

Councillor calls for early engagement on Askham Bar housing plans

Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton has called on the council to undertake early and meaningful engagement with local residents on plans to build homes on the former Askham Bar Park & Ride site.

Cllrs Stephen Fenton and Ann Reid at the former P&R site, which is currently used as a pay & display car park

Cllr Fenton spoke at a meeting of the Council’s Executive on 12 July, which approved a proposal to undertake detailed design work to develop and submit a planning application for mixed tenure housing on the former Park & Ride site.

The Askham Bar scheme is part of a wider housing package that will see council-owned land and investment from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) utilised to directly deliver approximately 550 homes on six sites of which 40% will be affordable housing. This represents 20% more affordable homes compared to the number that would be delivered by the market if they were to comply with planning policy.

Cllr Fenton said “The site is currently an eyesore, and so it is good to see some progress being made on developing the site to provide much-needed new homes.

“But before the planning application is submitted, I want to see meaningful engagement with ward councillors, local residents and other interested parties.

“There are already significant issues in the Askham Bar area in terms of traffic congestion, which has a number of impacts such as on bus timetable reliability. I am keen therefore that we take this opportunity to look at the highways infrastructure and how we might make changes to help improve matters for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”

Cllr Fenton also sought clarification that the number of homes planned for the site is in line with the number (60) included in the draft Local Plan. He also asked what was happening with the proposed demolition of garages and construction of six new council homes on Chaloners Road, with a suggestion that the two schemes be progressed together.

Six new council homes planned for Chaloners Road

It is anticipated that the design and planning of the Askham Bar scheme will begin this summer, with a view to getting on site in Autumn/Winter 2019.

 

Traffic survey on Thanet Road gets underway

A seven-day video traffic survey on Thanet Road has got underway, designed to gather evidence to support decisions on possible measures to improve road safety.

The survey has been prompted by residents’ concerns about speeding, damage being done to parked cars and lack of off-road parking.

Two cameras have been installed, between the junctions at St James Place and Jervis Road, which will operate for seven days.

 

The footage will then be studied to identify what traffic calming or other measures might be effective and appropriate.

The survey is being funded through the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Ward Committee budget.

Moorcroft Road parking woes continue

Local Lib Dem councillors are calling on City of York Council officials to recognise the problems being caused by inconsiderate parking on both sides of Moorcroft Road in Woodthorpe.

Parking outside the doctors surgery and the dentist is causing difficulties for the number 12 bus, which serves Woodthorpe, which on occasions has been unable to get through.

An officer report to the Decision Session of the Executive Member for Planning and Transport on 17 May noted that residents who had objected to the proposed double yellow lines outside the doctors had said that the restrictions would be better placed on the other side of the road, outside the dentist. This suggestion was rejected by officers, who responded in the report by saying that “parking here [outside the dentist] is thought to be more intermittent.”

Cllr Ashley Mason attended the 17 May meeting to make the case for parking restrictions outside the dentist, but this was refused. Instead, it was agreed to defer the installation of double yellow lines outside the doctors surgery to enable more evidence to be gathered via a 7-day video traffic survey, which the councillors propose to fund from the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward budget.

Cllr Stephen Fenton commented  “We first made the case for parking restrictions outside the dentist at a Decision Session of the Executive Member for Planning and Transport held on 14 September 2017, but this was refused. It is disappointing that the same has happened again. Parking outside the dentist is not ‘intermittent’ as the officer report suggests – it is persistent. The photograph below, taken on 6 June, demonstrates this.”

Moorcroft Road – dentist on left, doctors surgery on right

 

Residents reject bollard suggestion

Residents on the Middlethorpe estate have rejected a suggestion that concrete bollards could be installed at some junctions in the hope of protecting verges from being overrun by heavy vehicles (such as at the junction of Whin Road and Middlethorpe Grove, pictured below).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In response to a request for feedback in the Spring 2018 edition of Focus, all but one respondent said that they did not favour bollards being installed. Reasons given included that they would be ugly and would be difficult to mow around.

One alternative suggestion put forward was for template letters to be drafted which residents could be put on the windscreens of vehicles parked inappropriately, asking them politely to park elsewhere.

This suggestion chimes with a recommendation coming out of the grass verge scrutiny review in 2016, which was that:

“The Communications Team produces a pro forma letter to further promote community and neighbourhood pride and advise that it costs council tax payers £35 per square metre to repair damaged verges, which can:

  • Be made available to ward councillors for distribution to drivers and residents when a particular problem is identified or reported;
  • Be circulated to residents online or by text message via the new My Account system;
  • Form the basis of a poster to be displayed in local libraries, community centres, other public buildings and included in relevant council publications.”

Dringhouses Primary School pilots new road safety approach

Pupils in York are being asked ‘should you sack your chauffeur?’ as part of a drive to improve pedestrian safety at school gates.

Dringhouses primary is one of a number of schools that are piloting the scheme and are holding short assemblies to launch it this week (w/c 26 February).


The children will be shown examples of poor driving habits, illustrated in a lighthearted way, but with the intention that they will help to encourage their parents to drive and park more considerately.

Currently, the council receives frequent and numerous complaints about unsafe driving and parking outside schools. This partnership approach with schools aims to involve young passengers to encourage their drivers to behave in a more responsible way around the school, making it safer and more pleasant for everyone.

In addition, parking awareness road sign characters will be loaned to the schools and located to best influence driver behaviour. The campaign will be supported by monitoring and enforcement against illegal and inconsiderate parking.

If the pilot proves successful, it will be rolled out to other primary schools areas where inconsiderate driving and parking have been identified as a particular concern.

Gill Williams, headteacher of Dringhouses Primary School, said: “Inconsiderate and dangerous parking and driving during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times is a constant problem for our school.   There are road markings outside school to deter cars from parking close to the school gates, however a small minority of parents still choose to park on these lines or use the entrance to the school gates to drop off or do a U-turn.  It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.

“We very much welcome this new safety initiative and hope that, by engaging the children in a fun and creative way, the importance of road safety awareness will be raised.”

Double Yellow Lines go down

Following a period of public consultation, double yellow lines have been installed at a number of locations in Dringhouses where problem parking was an issue:

  • Junction of Ainsty Avenue and Mayfield Grove
  • Junction of Nelsons Lane and Breary Close
  • Junction of Cherry Lane and St Edwards Close

The proposal to extend the double yellow lines outside the doctor’s surgery on Moorcroft Road has been put on hold as objections were received from residents. This will now go back to an Executive Member Decision Session for further consideration (date to be confirmed).

Ainsty Avenue

Nelsons Lane

Cherry Lane