Traffic accidents up in York

The numbers killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in York increased from 58 to 75 last year.

KSI figures to 2015

Figures obtained using Freedom of Information legislation reveal that accident rates in York increased significantly in 2014.

All types of road user were affected including pedestrians and cyclists.

The increase was the largest since the “95Alive” task group was set up 10 years ago to counter a peak in road causalities.

The increase is bound to reopen the debate about wide area 20 mph speed limits. One of the claimed objectives of that project – launched in 2013 – was to reduce accidents. Opponents warned that the consequences could be that police enforcement time was reduced at accident black spots and that the deterrent affect, of focusing lower speed limits at key sites like schools and shopping areas, would be lost.

It appears that these concerns were justified.

Up to 2011, the Council’s Executive member used to receive a regular public report on road traffic accidents. The reports included details of the type of accident and the location. Officials made recommendations about possible remedial works (road alignment, signage, speed enforcement etc) which might avoid accidents in the future. This approach was abandoned by the last Council when it fell under Labour control. 

It is time for a targeted approach to accident reduction – covering the activities of all agencies – to be reintroduced

Road works in York next week. A1237 and Copmanthorpe affected

road worksFrom Monday 7th September City of York Council will undertake routine maintenance work on the whole of the A1237 outer ring road.

The work will take place between 8pm – 6am, to minimise disruption to residents any work close to housing will be carried out before 11pm.

The work will include hedge cutting and road gully / channel clearance to help improve visibility, redefine carriageway boundaries and resolve flooding problems.

Work will start at Hopgrove roundabout and progress anti-clockwise along the A1237. The work is scheduled to be completed by Saturday 3 October. Traffic lights will be used when work is taking place to ensure the safety of operatives.

As with any maintenance work on roads, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum; however motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.

For travel information in and around York visit www.itravelyork.info

Work to improve safety of Copmanthorpe junction

The work will aim to reduce the amount of ‘overshoot’ accidents where drivers on Hallcroft Lane may not realise they are approaching a crossroad junction and fail to give way to traffic on Manor Heath. This has lead to a number of serious incidents at the junction.

The work will see the Hallcroft Lane section of the junction widened to allow a pedestrian island to be included. Coloured surfacing will also be used to help road users differentiate between the major and minor roads. Signage in the area will also be improved.

The work is scheduled to take three weeks to complete, with work starting on Monday 7 September. Work will take place Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 4.30pm during the first two weeks. Traffic will be managed by stop/go signals with no alterations to the bus service. This will be carried out by City of York Council.

During the third week whilst resurfacing is taking place a temporary full road closure will be in place on Hallcroft Lane from the Horseman Lane junction to the Manor Heath junction. The road will be closed between 9:15am and 4:15pm. An alternative route for diverted traffic will be signed via Horseman Lane, School Lane, Manor Heath.

Additionally to carry out the surfacing work at the junction of Manor Heath / Hallcroft Lane and Hagg Lane a temporary full road closure will be in place at the junction between 6:00pm and midnight on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September. An alternative route for diverted traffic will be signed.
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Ring Road improvements falter but York Council set to borrow £24 million

A report to a Council meeting later this week details how an £80 million Council investment programme will be funded.

The Council will again borrow heavily to fund schemes which include:

Borrowing costs click to enlarge

Borrowing costs click to enlarge

  • Expansion of Fulford school (£5.8m)
  • Schools maintenance (£4m)
  • Older persons accommodation (£0.5m)
  • Museums plus art gallery gardens (0.85m)
  • LED street lighting replacement (£1.3m)
  • Provision of 20 new Council houses (£8.9m) and modernisation (£2.3m)
  • Local Transport Plan (£4.6m)
  • Community Stadium (£20.7m of which £6.4m will come from taxpayers)*

*It seems highly unlikely that this money will be spent in the current financial year as the contract is not now expected to be let until the spring.

The Council will also invest in better play grounds and more solar powered litter bins.

The programme also includes a (mostly unallocated) £15m sum in the “economic investment fund. This is understood still to include major contributions towards a bridge into the York Central site and funding for a Digital Media Centre.

A1237 northern by pass improvements delayed?

A1237

The 5 year rolling programme – which includes projects which are both directly and indirectly funded – does not identify any money for improvements to the northern by pass.  

The West Yorkshire “Combined Authority” agreed last November to include a £37.6m scheme in their forward programme fro the project.

Following the announcement by the government of an allocation of £1 billion for the “West Yorkshire Plus Transport fund”, the York Council committed £500,000 a year in its revenue budget to progress the ring road project.

The expectation was that the investment would be used to upgrade those roundabouts – such as the one on the Haxby Road – which currently cause bottlenecks on the A1237.

According to the Combined Authorities programme formal approval for improvements at the first junction was due to be given this month (August) with a start on site in March 2016.

No explanation for the delays has been provided in the report to York Councillors.

The funding must be used by 2021.

Coppergate fines to be repaid

Ann Reid

Cllr Ann Reid

A report to York’s Executive next week will recommend repaying nearly 13,000 motorists fined for using Coppergate.

Last month, the leaders of York’s new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Executive said they wanted to repay the motorists caught by ANPR cameras driving down the street outside permitted hoursin late 2013 and early 2014. They said it would help repair York’s reputation following Labour’s botched Lendal Bridge trial.

Labour lost its appeal in April against a ruling which said that the council had no power to issue fines to drivers using Coppergate and Lendal Bridge during trial traffic bans. The council has the right to appeal the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s decision, but if next week’s report is approved this legal challenge will be dropped and a repayment process, similar to the one used for Lendal Bridge, will be put in place.

The full value of Coppergate fines totals £387,000 and were included in the earmarked reserves in the council’s accounts in 2014/15. Refunds will be funded from the reserve with a deadline for submitting claims of 31 March 2016. At the same meeting, Executive will be asked to approve a new deadline for submitting claims for the Lendal Bridge Repayment Scheme and to extend this from 31 December 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Officers will also be asked to review options for the future of the Coppergate scheme, including revising existing signage. This could result in changing the road markings, the surface of the road and/or interventions that may provide more effective traffic solutions in this area.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, said:

“It is right that we repay these fines and rule out a legal challenge. This will help draw line under the issues and begin to repair the damage done to York’s reputation by Labour. This will allow us to focus our efforts on getting the Coppergate restrictions right as part of a wider effort to tackling congestion in York.”

York’s Executive will take a final decision next Thursday (25th June) at West Offices from 5.30pm.

Call for action over ‘danger’ estate exit on Tadcaster Road

Revival cycle path exit

Revival cycle path exit

A number of residents have contacted us about the new emergency exit / entrance to the Revival estate, which is intended to provide emergency access to the estate via Masters Mews.

There is a secured gate to prevent ordinary vehicular access, but it can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

We share residents’ concerns at the absence of markings to indicate to cyclists exiting the estate that they need to stop before pulling out onto Tadcaster Road via the footpath.

The current arrangement presents a hazard to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

We have asked for markings to be put down similar to those used at the exit from York station car park onto Lowther Terrace, pictured below.

Station cycle path exit
Station cycle path exit

This shows how markings can be used to indicate to cyclists where they need to stop and check for oncoming pedestrians and motorists before joining the carriageway.

 

Cycle track ‘missing link’ inches towards conclusion

 

 

Revival cycle track ends

 

On a recent visit to York College Ann, Stephen and Ashley raised the issue of the ‘missing link’ in the cycle track that will connect Tadcaster Road with the Green Lane.

The link currently comes to an abrupt halt at the bottom end of the Revival development, on the old College site.

Revival cycle track
  Environmental consultants have been commissioned to survey the area where a path would potentially go, as the area is an established newt habitat.  The outcome of the survey will determine which alignment the path will take and what time of year would be best for the construction to cause minimum disturbance to the wildlife.

Once there is clarity on the wildlife issues and best route, it should be possible to proceed with construction as the funding has already been secured.

The College has also confirmed that it expects the building work currently taking place on site to be completed in August.

Use of electric buses in York to be suspended

New electric bus fleet launched last week

New electric bus fleet launched last month

As we said yesterday, it would be prudent to suspend the use of electric buses in York until the cause of yesterdays vehicle fire had been established.

It seems that, after some dithering, First intend to do just that.

UPDATE: First say that the vehicle manufacturers are undertaking precautionary checks on the fleet. Park and Ride services are unaffected

Safety must come first and we were concerned that comments from the York Council (which lets the contract for the Park and Ride services on which the buses are used) and local bus managers implied yesterday that the buses would continue in use.

In petrol powered engines, fires were not uncommon. Fires are comparatively rare in newer vehicles and, those that do occur, can usually be traced to faulty electrical components.

New technology – like that deployed in the battery powered bus fleet – is another matter. The technology is in its infancy and , although inherently safer than the internal combustion alternative, deployment needs to be cautious.

A quick investigation should reveal the cause of the fire.

If, for example, it turns out that a spanner was left by maintenance staff in the engine compartment, and this led to the short circuit which caused the fire, then that would  be one thing. A relatively easy fix (count the spanners!) and get the buses back on the road!

If a component has been incorrectly fitted then again the remedy is obvious.

Only if faulty components or – heaven forbid – a design flaw is revealed would an extensive and debilitating delay become inevitable.

We are after all just going through the first sustained period of warm weather since the large scale introduction of the buses in the City and who knows whether that might be factor?

So full marks to First for adopting a cautious approach, albeit a little late in the day.

They, and the Council, now face the headache of back-filling the gaps in the Park and Ride fleet.

Hopefully the York Council will now be open and transparent about the incident and the action that is being taken.

York children urged to change travel modes

STAR

The scheme aims to encourage pupils, parents and staff to travel to and from school using sustainable travel.

The Modeshift STARS scheme is an on-line tool showcasing green travel options that also recognises schools that are working hard not only to encourage parents and staff  to travel to school more sustainably but use sustainable transport as part of their curriculum activities.

The aim of the project is to increase the number of people walking and cycling to school, and reducing congestion during the school run making it safer for everyone.

Mode shift starsSchools taking part in Modeshift STARS work towards a national award which recognises the continuing efforts a school makes to increase sustainable travel by the whole school community.

Jonathan Green, Head Teacher for Archbishop of York Junior school said: “Modeshift STARS has brought our whole school community together. It is a brilliant scheme that has encourages us to really look positively at how we travel to school and how we take responsibility for our village.”

For more information on Modeshift STARS visit http://www.itravelyork.info/for-schools/travel-planning/stars. For more information on sustainable travel in York visit www.itravelyork.info

First York announce bus service changes.

old bus

First York have announced changes to bus services which they will implement from the beginning of August.

The number 13 and 13A services will be scrapped.

The latter provides the only link to the City centre from the Hamilton Drive area and is likely to lead to calls for the Council to substitute a tendered service. There are a lot of elderly people living in the area served by the 13A.

First say that Harrogate Coach Travel will run a replacement which may mitigate the loss of the 13 Haxby to Copmanthorpe (via Tadcaster Road) service but details are awaited.

Cllr Stephen Fenton has welcomed the extra early and late services on the number 12 route as ” good news”.

“The loss of the number 13 obviously impacts on Tadcaster Road, but is mitigated by the fact that there will be new service operated by a different operator, and residents are already served by the 4, 12 and the Coastliner”.

The changes were revealed only hours after First announced that it would be running 9 buses an hour (!) between the Railway Station and the University. The number 4 already provides 8 buses an hour. The combined service would provide a theoretical frequency of one every 3 minutes (and is probably the nearest thing to continuous public transport, short of a conveyor belt!!). 

Of course, York’s’ traffic conditions will mean that  buses on this route are likely to “bunch” so frequencies in practice may be much less than promised by the timetable. 

First have said that they intend to re-route the number 4 at the University end  but no details have as yet been made available.

Another major change affecting Acomb concerns the route of Service 5 which will be revised to run via Boroughbridge Road, Beckfield Lane and Ostman Road to serve more of north Acomb (instead of Carr Lane and Woodlea Avenue).

According to First, the proposed changes are:

  • Service 1 (Chapelfields – Wigginton) revised timetable to improve reliability
  • Service 4 (Acomb – University of York) revised route to the University
  • Service 5/5A (Acomb – Strensall) revised route between Station Rise & Boroughbridge Rd (via current 10 route). In Acomb service 5 will be revised to run via Boroughbridge Road, Beckfield Lane and Ostman Road in both directions omitting Carr Lane and Woodlea Avenue.
  • – Service 6 (Clifton Moor – City) frequency increase to every 10mins from 12mins (Mon-Fri only) to meet demand. Revised route to the City with the University link now provided by service 4
  • – Service 10/10A (Nether Poppleton – Stamford Bridge) rerouted between Rougier Street and Boroughbridge Road via the current route of services 5/5A serving National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, Salisbury Road and Water End. In Stamford Bridge services 10/10A will operate in a one way clockwise loop from The Square via Main Street, Burton Fields Road, Battlefields Way, Moor Road, Church Road, High Catton Road, Roman Avenue North, Roman Avenue South, High Catton Road and Church Road to The Square and then current route back towards the City Centre
  • Service 12 (Foxwood Lane – Monks Cross) revised timetable to improve reliability with an extra earlier journey from Elmfield Ave at 0643 and an extra later journey from the Stonebow at 1751
  • The current service 13/13A Copmanthorpe/Acomb/Haxby will be withdrawn due to low demand (customers will be able to use new service 13 between Haxby & Copmanthorpe provided by Harrogate Coach Travel Ltd.

NB. The Council announced last week that bus use in the City had reached a high of 15.6 million journeys last year. Most of these will have been generated by the new Park and Ride sites although the Council has so far declined to reveal the numbers using stage carriage services.