Marygate car park to be closed during February

Rail passengers, York residents and visitors to the city are being reminded to plan ahead this half term as the old bridge deck of Scarborough Rail Bridge will be lifted out and a new one installed.

The work to refurbish the bridge means that no trains can run over it between 14 and 23 February, with coaches replacing First Trans-Pennine Express trains between York and Seamer.

The worksite in York will also affect local residents and visitors. Marygate car park will be closed from 2 to 27 February to safely accommodate the crane and other construction equipment. The footbridge alongside Scarborough railway bridge which also carries National Cycle Network route 65 across the river will be closed from 9 February to 2 March and the shared use paths on either side of the river under Scarborough railway bridge will close between 14 and 22 February.
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Traffic signals and car park barriers unreliable in York

Traffic signals

This year to date (1st Jan to 3rd Dec) there have been a total of 696 traffic signal faults reported to the York Council’s maintenance contractors.

This number was 678 for the same period last year.

The Council does not have a means of recording the total duration for which signals have been out of operation; however, for high priority faults in this period – which are recorded in their own indicator – 91% were resolved within 4 hours, compared to 82% for the same period last year.

Marygate car park

Barrier faults have occurred during a total of 17 days since they were introduced at the Marygate car park. Currently income from the car park is less than it was when operated on a pay and display basis.Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from the Marygate car park, from the start of July to the end of October, totalled £231,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £246,000.

The York Council spent £100,000 installing the barrier system at Marygate.

NB. The Council has admitted that due to faults on its automated vehicle counting systems it doesn’t know how many motorists have taken advantage of the free parking offer which is available at some car parks from Thursday to Saturday.

Overall income from car parking is, however, over £400,000 below budgeted levels.

Car park signage criticised

St. Leonards Place car park

St. Leonards Place car park

Some motorists have been confused by the signing at the entrance to the – now privately run – car park on St Leonards Place. Several have thought that the entrance had been moved as part of the Exhibition Square refurbishment, although this isn’t the case.

For a Conservation Area the signs are borderline intrusive anyway.

Users of the car park find that they are expected to pay up to £12 to park. Unfortunately the operators – a Leeds based company – allow only cash payments for tickets.

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

It is several years since the Council made credit card and “pay by phone” options available at its central car parks.

There is also no parking available for those with disabled badges although it is the most central facility for those accessing most of the shops in the city centre.

This is a good location for cycle parking facilities and it would have been worth the Council continuing to operate the car park facilities until the apparently endless saga over the future of the adjacent office block is finally settled.

There is no sign of work commencing on site despite the council announcing a development scheme almost 3 years ago.

The Council is also remaining tight lipped about the planned hotel at the Barbican site which is now 4 years behind schedule.

Only 7076 new Minster badges sold

98 residents fined for using old badges in evening

Only a small proportion of the 30,000 old style Minster badge holders have opted to pay £20 to get a new badgeMinster Badge

The latest figures released by the York Council suggest that 7076 of the badges have been sold

The badges entitle holders to free parking at Council car parks in the evening.

98 residents have incurred Penalty Charge Notices for relying on the old style badge during September.

It seems though that some are opting to pay the £2 a night evening charge. Evening car park income has increased since last year

  • 2013 £34,042.05
  • 2014 £40,754.50

No assessment has yet been made on the effects of the increased charges on the evening economy.

NB. The Minster badge also entitles users to pay lower day time car parking charges.

Parking income problems increase for York Council

Marygate

It looks like the installation of barriers at the Marygate car park – which cost taxpayers £100,000 – has reduced Council income by around £35,000 (20%) over the last 3 months.

Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from Marygate Car Park in the 13 week period from 30th June to 28th September totalled £142,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £177,000.

Those expecting the blame to be placed on faulty barriers – they have been jammed in the raised position on a number of occasions recently – will be disappointed.

The York Council says,

“There have been some minor faults which, as with all newly introduced schemes, is to be expected whilst the system beds in. These have been dealt with expeditiously with minimal disruption to the fee-paying public”. (!)

It is the latest in a series of parking management blunders since Labour took control of the Council in 2011.

Most residents have faced a 100% increase in the amount that they pay to park while the Council sold off the Haymarket car park for a fraction of its true value in the depth of the recession.

Minster Badges

In response to a question tabled by the Liberal Democrats at the last Council meeting, Labour have admitted that only 6,300 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Over 30,000 of the old style badges were in circulation.

Minster Badge

A Minster badge is necessary to qualify for free evening parking. It also entitles users to a discount on day time parking fees.

The relatively low take up of the badges suggests that the charging scheme may be discouraging residents from visiting and shopping in the City centre.

“Free” parking

The Labour Councillor with responsibility for car parking in York has admitted that he doesn’t know how many drivers are taking advantage of the “free” car parking available at a limited number of locations on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

More worryingly, he says that the impact of the scheme on the Councils car parking account is impossible to calculate because of other factors such as the opening of the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton.

The Council are promising to check the vehicle counters at individual car parks over the next few weeks to try to get some idea of the impact that the – very expensive – scheme is having.

Subjectively it does appear that the morning rush hour has been busier over the last couple of months with journey times increasing.

When introduced, the free parking scheme was criticised by many as encouraging more vehicles onto the road during the morning peak period.

Moor Lane car park surplus to requirements

The Moor Lane car park – formerly used by Park and Ride services and which has been largely abandoned for the last 4 months – has now officially been declared surplus to requirements Behind closed doors logo

At a behind closed doors decision session yesterday it was agreed that the site would be disposed of.

To whom it may be sold and when remains to be seen. The site is zoned for housing in Labour’s latest Local Plan.

Ann Reid says,

“It is time that the Council made a decision on the future of the old Park and Ride car park on Moor Lane.  

There has been minimal use as a Pay and Display car park and although the College has used it over the summer I don’t believe that is sustainable over the longer term.  

The car park is also looking very shabby with no one taking responsibility for litter clearance or street sweeping.  

The sooner a decision is made the better.  

Any change of use will be subject to the normal planning process with the residents having the opportunity to comment on any proposals“.

 

We forecast – 25,000 unhappy York motorists on Monday

Only 3382 new Minster Badges sold.

Less than 10% of current users have been prepared to pay £20 for Labours new style parking discount badge

Minster Badge

The new badge is mandatory from Monday when the old blue free stickers – issued by the former LibDem run Council – will no longer be recognised by parking wardens.

Many traders fear that the message has not got through to shoppers and that some may be alienated if they receive a parking fine.

Another Lendal Bridge fiasco may be in the making. The quality of the warning signage about the change in the car parks on Monday is likely to come under intense scrutiny by residents.

Of over 30,000 current Minster Badge holders in York, only 3382 have so far bought a new Minster Badge. The badge was an initiative by Labour to try to bridge a £200,000 shortfall on parking income.

But it looks like it will make things worse, rather than better. Take up has been well below expectations and if motorists choose out of City centre retail parks in which to do their shopping, then the car parking account will be hit even harder..

Without the new badge, York residents will have to pay the same parking rates as visitors – meaning a hefty increase

Under the LibDems, in 2011 residents paid £1.10 per hour to park at most City centre car parks (those designated as “standard stay”). Residents will now see that increase by a staggering 82% to £2.00.

Even worse may be the effect on the City centre evening economy where the “free after 6:00pm” parking concession will also be lost.

Earlier in the year, a large petition was collected by residents who wanted to see things left as they were.

With the next Council elections only 8 months away, it is likely that the Liberal Democrats will become the first party to pledge to reintroduce the free Minster badge for residents.

In addition any regular visitor to the City should be able to buy one of the new style badges – in recognition of the money that they inject into the City centre economy and the jobs that it supports.

Vacant car parking spaces web links still not working

Still big gaps in Council information

Last year the York Council stopped providing information on its web site about the number of vacant parking spaces at its City Centre car parks.

York Live web site click to access

York Live web site click to access

It promised that the information link would be reinstated by “May”.

2 months later and the information is still not being provided for the most popular car parks like Nunnery Lane and Marygate.

The responsible cabinet member refused to apologies at a recent Council meeting for the delays.

He said people could use social media to find out where to park (actually none of the social media system provided real time parking availability information)

NB. The Council has also been unable to keep many of the on street “Variable Message Signs” in a good state of repair.

Marygate car park barriers cost £100,000

Labour back down and agree to fit card reader payment option by “early autumn”

The Council will fit a credit/Charge car payment option at the new Marygate pay on exit machines.

Marygate car park charges

Although they blame a “national issue with chip and pin devices” the reality is that the Council forgot to include the option in the original design specification.

The new system should not have been brought into service until a choice of payment options was available.

Card payments can be made at other City centre car parks like Piccadilly.

NB. Only about 1000 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Each of York’s 80,000 households is entitled to a badge which replaces the current free badge which was issued when the LibDems were in control of the Council.

There are around 30,000 active Minster Badges currently in use in the City.

From September, anyone without a badge will have to pay the full rate to park during the day and will also lose the right to free evening parking.

Council now claims A59 Park and Ride site completion date is Thursday 31st July!

On site wind turbine scheme jettisoned

Councillor Leven has now given a absolute commitment that all works connected with the Poppleton Bar park and ride site – plus associated works on the A1237 and the A59 will be completed by 31st July.

In an answer published to a question tabled at the last Council meeting he says,the contractors are scheduled to leave site by the end of the month.

The premature opening of the Poppleton Bar site has also been under fire although the numbers using the service are claimed to be similar to the figures at other Park and Ride sites immediately after their introduction.

Month 1 trip numbers Month 13 trip numbers Month 25 trip numbers
Grimston Bar (1994): 3,889 14,525 21,891
Designer Outlet (2000): 9,606 18,495 21,524
Monks Cross (2004) 13,550 35,429 43,797
Poppleton Bar (2014) 9,148 (8/6/14 – 1/7/14)

From opening, the number of cars parked at the new Poppleton Park & Ride site is between 70 – 100.

On a Saturday this increases to 200.

Electric bus on charge

With many of the electric buses running empty, the Council has been criticised for unnecessarily increasing CO2 emissions.

In response to a written question the responsible cabinet member has revealed that the provision of an on site wind turbine was aborted at the last minute. He claimed,

“the electric buses charge overnight at the First Depot in York. The electricity grid is off-peak at this time and of lower carbon intensity. There was a wind turbine in the design for Poppleton Bar however the supplier went out of business a month before installation. Officers are currently exploring alternative suppliers of renewable generation equipment for Poppleton Bar which could supply sufficient power for the on-site Rapid chargers which boost the range of the electric buses”.

Poppleton park and ride road works 28th June 2014

Labour Councillors have claimed that the decision to open the Poppleton Park and Ride site was taken by “officers” implying that they had no influence over the blunder.

Despite this 3 Labour Councillors were featured in a media photograph which covered the sites official opening.