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.

 

Expansion of York’s Air Quality Management Area

York’s city centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) has been expanded, after a decision was taken to include Coppergate.  This comes after a recent presentation of York’s Annual Air Quality Status Report, which commends the Council’s successful approach to tackling poor air quality.

In a decision taken by Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Waller at his Environment Decision Session on 1 October, Coppergate will now be included in the city centre’s AQMA in order to tackle air pollution from diesel vehicles in the area and maintain progress in improving the city’s air quality. Time had been allowed since last year’s decision session on the annual review of Air Quality to see if the enforcement of the bus lane had a positive impact on air pollution levels.

Cllr Waller with staff from Amey on Clean Air Day 2018

As part of the decision session, it was also decided to retain the Fulford AQMA for a further 12 months, despite NO2 in the area remaining below the Council’s health bases objectives.  This is to ensure that Fulford’s air quality is monitored in view of future nearby developments in the city.

At the meeting, Cllr Waller asked for future reports on how the new traffic lights systems and charging points for electric cars especially for people living in terraced areas can be delivered to make further improvements.

The decisions come as the Annual Air Quality Report highlights consistent improvement in York’s air quality, when compared to the previous years.  The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) even added that:

‘The Council are taking exceptional steps and effort to actively tackle air quality within the city and the success of this approach is reflected in their results.’

Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Environment, commented:

“It is good to see that our approach has had such an impact in improving the city’s air quality and that it has been recognised by DEFRA.  I would like to thank the officers involved for their hard work in achieving this progress, however, we all accept that more work needs to be done to continue these improvements and ensure that future developments do not reverse our position.”

“The importance of ‘good’ Air Quality cannot be understated and we must continue to maintain these improvements through the use of our AQMA’s. We will continue to monitor in the Salisbury Terrace area”

“There is more public interest in particulates and unlike other authorities, York measures these, so we know the PM10 and PM2.5 levels at hotspots. Particulates will continue to be reported annually with the World Health Organisation and EU guidelines.”

“Looking further down the line, as we work to create the UK’s first voluntary Clean Air Zone, York will continue to lead the line in the fight to tackle poor air quality, with a report coming later this year to the Executive following the public consultation.”

For further information on the AQMA decisions that were made, or for more information on the Air Quality Annual Status Report, please visit: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=10835&x=1.

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.”

 

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.

Clean Air Day, Thursday 21 June 2018

It’s Clean Air Day, which is an opportunity to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and colleagues, and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone. There is information and resources available at https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/


City of York Council is about to start a consultation on plans to set up a Clean Air Zone for the city centre. You can find out more at https://www.york.gov.uk/press/article/2580/clean_air_day_21_june_2018_your_views_on_new_clean_air_zone_for_york_s_city_centre

Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton said “Clean Air Day is a chance for us to focus on what more needs to be done to encourage cycling and walking in York. Better air quality is key to that, as are improvements to cycle lanes, both on and off road.”

Stephen out and about on his bike!

Summer evening Park & Ride service from Askham Bar extended

Users of York’s popular Park & Ride service will be able to enjoy the attractions in the city centre for longer this summer after it was agreed that the timetable should be extended into the evenings for a ten-week trial period.

City of York Council and bus operator First York have agreed that Service 3 buses from the Askham Bar Park & Ride site will operate until 10.20pm on summer evenings.

The move will give visitors to the city more time to enjoy its diverse range of attractions, as well as making it possible for those attending Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, which will be open next to Clifford’s Tower from Monday 25 June to Sunday 2 September, time to catch the last bus back to the Park & Ride site after evening performances.

The last Service 3 Park & Ride bus from Tower Street currently departs at 8.05pm from Monday to Saturday and at 6.05pm on Sundays. For the duration of the ten-week trial, there will be additional departures every half hour up to 10.20pm. The buses will also stop at Rougier Street and at the Railway Station in the city centre.
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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

 

Date set for start of traffic signals work on Tadcaster Road

The Council is due to commence work to refurbish the traffic signal junction of Tadcaster Road and St Helens Road as part of the Traffic Signal Asset Renewal Programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The work will consist of:

  • Full renewal of the traffic signal equipment and ducting networks – this will include changes to pedestrian crossing equipment to facilitate Puffin style near side red /green man displays.
  • Conversion of the staggered pedestrian crossing on the south to a straight across crossing.
  • A new pedestrian crossing is to be provided on the northern arm

Works will start on Monday 30th April for the main civils / groundworks with all work expected to be fully completed by Friday 8th June 2018.

The hours of working will be 7:30am – 5:30pm, Monday – Friday and 9:00am – 3:00pm Saturdays. In order to safely install the duct crossings over the carriageway some evening works will be required. Works will be suspended between Wednesday 16th May and Friday 18th May and on Saturday 26th May due to York Race meetings.

Three-way traffic management will be in place at the junction during the works and motorists are expected to experience severe delays while the works are underway. Controlled pedestrian crossings will be provided during construction to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely. There may be some temporary footway closures in place, however full access will be retained to all businesses properties during these works.

The southbound bus stop on Tadcaster Road will be temporarily relocated during the works. It is not anticipated that there will be any diversions or suspensions to bus stops and services during the works. For more information on please visit www.itravelyork.info

Latest plans unveiled for St Helens Road / Tadcaster Road crossing improvements

Council officers have unveiled the latest draft of proposals to improve pedestrian crossing facilities at the St Helens Road / Tadcaster Road junction.


 

The scheme was approved by the council’s Executive in June 2017, and is part of the five-year replacement programme to renew traffic signal assets within the city (the TSAR programme)

The changes proposed look to improve pedestrian facilities, bringing them in line with current guidance, while having only minor impacts to vehicle delay. The main changes proposed at this junction are as follows:

  • A new pedestrian crossing on the northern side of the junction (outside the Cross Keys pub)
  • The existing staggered pedestrian island over Tadcaster Road is removed from the southern arm and a straight across pedestrian facility is provided
  • The island in the southern arm has been removed to allow the stop lines to be brought forward to improve driver to pedestrian visibility at the junction
  • Guard rail to be reviewed and if possible rationalised
  • Full refurbishment of the traffic signal equipment and ducting network.  This will include changes to pedestrian crossing equipment to facilitate Puffin style near side red / green man displays
  • Implementation of MOVA (Micro-processor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) control strategy at the junction to reduce delays
  • Associated road marking changes to facilitate the above

Local Lib Dem councillors are inviting residents to let them have any comments on the proposed scheme, so that these can be fed back to officers. Please send any comments to Cllr Stephen Fenton at cllr.sfenton@york.gov.uk