Cycle to work challenge starts next week in York

cycle to work

Workplaces in York are being invited to take part in a free competition to encourage more people to ride bikes as part of the 2013 York Cycle Challenge – and potentially win a bike worth £1,000.

More than 81 businesses and 1,500 people are set to take to the streets over the three week period from 1 to 21 July for the annual event.

The challenge is supported by City of York Council’s i-Travel initiative, made possible by £4.6 million of government funding which the council successfully bid for in 2011.

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Lendal bridge closure – new figures cast doubt on Council claims. Drivers face £80 hike in fuel costs

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that an extra 300 vehicles an hour will be diverted onto Clifton Bridge, and its approach roads, when Lendal Bridge is closed to cars in August.

This is likely to have a much greater effect on congestion levels than the recently discontinued “on road” cycle lane at Clifton Green.

Lendal bridge traffic volumes click to enlarge

Lendal bridge traffic volumes click to enlarge

The biggest problems are likely to arise between 4:00pm and 5:00pm although the effect on weekend traffic volumes is currently unknown.

The FOI request asked the Council to reveal the forecast hourly volumes of traffic which would cross York’s 6 river bridges both before and after the Lendal closure.

The Council responded with estimates but failed to distinguish between volumes during school holidays and at other times of the year.

It also appears that the model they have used, to inform the Councils decision, could not provide an indication of the increases in average journey times that motorists would face.

The Council did, however, admit that junction queues on Foss Islands Road would add around 2 minutes to an off peak journey.

Further research has revealed that drivers could see their journey times double.

Lendal Bridge closure - extra costs for drivers click to enlarge

Lendal Bridge closure – extra costs for drivers click to enlarge

Those living closest to the City centre will face the longest increase in journey times. They will have to divert to use either the Clifton Bridge or the inner ring road.

It is estimated that a resident who drives from Monks Cross to the Railway Station and back – during the closure period – will incur additional fuel costs of £87 a year as a result of the 5 extra miles that they will complete each day

The Council spent around £300,000 a couple of years ago updating its traffic forecasting model. It is deeply worrying that the model apparently cannot provide more detailed information, about the effects on queue lengths, that a Lendal Bridge closure will have.

Even more worrying is the fact that it appears that the decision to advertise the plan, was taken without those responsible being given figures which indicated the additional time that journeys would take and the costs of the extra mileage that residents would incur.

It is expected that the proposal will be debated again by the full Council at its meeting on 18th July

Passengers to be consulted BEFORE next set of changes to bus routes – gasp!!!

People can either make their views known at the following web link: www.firstgroup.com/yorkbusconsultation

or at one of the following events:

Tues 2/7: Bishopthorpe Methodist Hall, 0900-1200

Tues 2/7: Copmanthorpe Howell Hall, 1600 – 1900

Weds 3/7: Huntington Memorial Hall, 1200 – 1500

Thurs 4/7: Osbaldwick Village Hall, 1400 – 1700

Sat 6/7: Clifton Moor Church & Community Centre, 1400 – 1700

Tues 9/7: Haxby & Wigginton Methodist Church Hall, 1400 – 1700

Sat 13/7: Acomb Parish Church Hall, 0900 – 1200

Tues 16/7: York city centre, West Offices, 1000-1400

Definitely the right way of doing things. Consult first then draw up plans. Well done First!

Record number of speeders caught in York area. 280 offenders trigger cameras in one week. A1237 and Beckfield Lane are major problem areas.

The largest total of speeders ever to be caught by mobile speed cameras in York were recorded last week (9th – 15th June)

A total of 280 offences were recorded. Of these 250 drivers were invited to attend speed awareness courses although 30 faced more severe penalties.

Once again the road with the worst record was the A1237 near Monks Cross where 62 offenders were identified.

Other roads with a poor record included Beckfield Lane (44), York Road Haxby (32), Strensall Road Huntington (30) and Towthorpe Road Haxby.

The full details can be found by clicking here

North Yorkshire Police mobile safety camera routes 19 to 25 June 2013

Below are enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 19 June 2013.

Beckfield Lane Acomb York

• Main Street Askham Richard

• Millfield lane Poppleton York

• Tadcaster Road Dringhouses York

• Temple Lane Copmanthorpe York

• Greenshaw Drive Haxby

• Towthorpe Road Haxby

• York Road Haxby York

• Church Lane Wheldrake
• Grange Farm, Wheldrake Lane, Elvington
• Malton Road York
• Murton Way Murton York
• Strensall Road Huntington York
• The village Stockton-on-the-Forest York
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Road works in York – new “where they are” web site launched

York road works map

York road works map

A new web site has been launched which claims to list all current road works taking place in York (and, indeed, the UK).

It includes all statutory undertakings (telephones, water, power etc), not just the Council.

How accurate it will prove to be remains to be seen, but you can check it out at the following web site http://roadworks.org/

York Council shows £2 million shortfall in transport investment

Park and ride buses

A meeting on Thursday will be told that the York Council invested only £4.5 million of its £6.8 million transport budget during the last financial year.

This represents the worst percentage outturn performance for over a decade and will be a major embarrassment to a Council which is currently seeking additional transport funding to address congestion concerns on the A1237 and elsewhere in the City.

The credibility of the Labour Council’s “priority programme” Get York Moving has also been damaged by the performance.

Most of the shortfall came on projects to provide new park and ride sites and improve bus services in the City.

It means that the completion date for these schemes will slip by at least 12 months.

£395,000 was budgeted to be spent on schemes aimed at improving road safety. Only £202,000 of the budget was spent. Most of it went on a 20 mph speed limit scheme in the Bishopthorpe Road area.

On parking, the report says that “implementation of the ‘pay on exit’ car parking scheme at Marygate car park was delayed as the scheme that was initially proposed (using ANPR cameras) could not be progressed due to recent changes in legislation. It is now proposed to install barriers and new ticket machines at Marygate car park to replace the existing ‘pay and display’ system in 2013/14, which should be operational in late 2013”.

The scheme will cost £100,000 to implement amidst concerns that maintenance of the equipment could cost more than any additional revenue generated by the system

NB. The Council recently had to admit that its plans to provide new homes for the elderly were also running 3 years behind schedule.

New accident numbers and speed checks wreck case for 20 mph speed limit in York

The Council has responded to a Freedom of Information request on accident levels – and recorded vehicle speeds – in the west of York.

This is the district in which it is proposed a wide area 20 mph speed limit will be imposed.

Residents have only got until 21st June to record a formal objection to the plan. This can be done by Emailing highway.regulation@york.gov.uk or 20mph@york.gov.uk

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The main argument, used by some Labour Councillors to justify the £600,000 project, is that it will reduce the number of road traffic accidents (RTAs) in the area.

The new figures made available by the Council undermine this claim

The roads with the worst accident records in west York are Tadcaster Road, Boroughbridge Road and Holgate Road

In the last 5 years there have been 383 RTA’s in the area (broadly the Acomb, Westfield, Holgate and Dringhouses wards).

Of these the vast majority (339) have been “slight”. Slight means no or only minor injuries were sustained

There were no accidents at all on the majority of roads which the Council proposes to implement a 20 mph speed limit.

No – current – vehicle speed information is available either and they are excluded from the tables (left)

Of the accidents recorded, 335 (87%) occurred on roads where there are no plans to lower the speed limit.

This is not surprising as these are the main arterial routes which are heavily trafficked and where there are potential conflicts at road junctions. Of these accidents, 2 were fatal (both on Holgate Road) 33 serious (6 on Tadcaster Road) and 300 slight.

Only 13% of accidents occurred on roads where it is now proposed to reduce the speed limit. Of the 48 accidents there was one fatality (on Cranbrook Avenue), 8 serious accidents and 39 slight.

Significantly, 95 accidents occurred during this period on roads which already have a 20 mph speed limit (enforced by road humps.) Of these, 9 were classified as “serious”

Average vehicle speeds on roads which may get a 20 mph limit are already low.

The highest was 31 mph recorded on Tudor Road. This reflects the speed that 85% of drivers travel at, or below, when using the road.

More typically the range for the planned 20 mph streets was between 15 mph and 25 mph.

The lowest recorded speed was on Ganton Place (13 mph) although this is a speed typical of many short cul de sacs.

The top recorded speeds were on Tadcaster Road (79 mph), Wetherby Road E (71), Carr Lane (66) and Front Street (66). However the recording devices cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so the figures would include any emergency vehicles responding to calls.

The inescapable conclusion therefore is that the Council is focusing its safety budget on roads where there is little or no accident risk.

Those roads where high speeds may be an issue may already be getting less attention.

Accidents can occur anywhere at any time. The fact that a large proportion of serious accidents are concentrated at particular locations has allowed the Council, in the past, to concentrate its limited resources on addressing the main causes of these accidents.

Often vehicle speeds will not be a major factor affecting accident rates in residential areas. Vehicles reversing into street furniture are an example of an accident where a speed limit has no influence. Similarly a cyclist colliding with a pedestrian is unlikely to be caused by an excessive speed.

The Council should abandon its wide area 20 mph speed limit project and focus resources on roads with high accident rates and/or where there is evidence of drivers systematically ignoring the existing speed limits.

NB. There are currently around 65 KSI accidents occurring in York each year. Of these, less than 20% occurred in west York. Most happen on trunk roads and in the City centre.

Road closure threatens Clifton Green traffic flow

A meeting on 20th June is to look again at a permanent road closure on Westminster Road.

Residents in the street have campaigned for over 6 years for through traffic to be banned from using it (and The Avenue) as a short cut to avoid the Water End traffic lights. Now a 79 signature petition is due for consideration.

“Rat run” traffic levels on Westminster Road have always been well below the numbers seen on similar routes and the street has road calming “sleeping policemen” to control vehicles speeds

Westminster Road may be closed to traffic

Westminster Road may be closed to traffic


Part of the problem has been traced to parents dropping off children at the school on The Avenue. Around 30% of vehicles are making this trip between 8:15am and 8:45am.

Recent traffic patterns have been disrupted and trends are difficult to track.

Initially improvements to the A19/A1237 roundabout at Rawcliffe provide some relief to the Water End junction and later 2 approach lanes to the traffic lights were restored. Road works on Boroughbridge Road (and more recently at the A59/A1237 junction) have continued and may be deterring drivers from using this sector of the City.

Council officials report that morning traffic levels on Westminster Road have fallen recently although an increase in the evening peak has been noted.

Closure of the route could increase traffic on the Water Lane junction by 10% but the major influence is likely to be the Councils plan to close Lendal bridge to private traffic from August.

There is no doubt that this would increase traffic in the Clifton Green area, with particular problems building between 4:00pm and 5:00pm.

The Council has so far refused to publish details of the forecast traffic levels on York’s river bridges pre and post the Lendal bridge closure.

Officials are recommending that no road closure on Westminster Road be agreed.

Labour cut road maintenance in York by 32%

Since taking office Labour Councillors have reduced investment in road and footpath maintenance in the City by 32%.

Newly released figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the amount invested in each of the last 3 years.

2010 – £6,510,000 (LibDem leadership budget)

2011 – £6,388,000 (LibDem budget)

2012 – £4,428,000 (Labour budget).

The Council has listed the streets affected by road works in each of the 3 years (click to access individual years)

2010

2011

2012

In their 2011 local election manifest Labour promised to spend more on road repairs!

Labour road repair promise

Ashbourne Way snicket closure to be discussed

The Council is to consider, on 18th April, a petition which asks for the night time closure of the snickets leading off Ashbourne Way

The snickets are well used during the day, not least by children attending the Woodthorpe School.

Night time closures have been tried before – notably in the nearby Carrfield/Foxton/Chantry Close area – where, in 2009, a similar plan was abandoned following objections by local residents.

Schemes of this sort now tend to rely on mechanisms which automatically lock and unlock a gate at a particular time. None have worked successfully in York other than perhaps that located at the rear entrance to the railway station, from Lowther Terrace, although there the access is part of the cycle network.

Such heavy duty gates are expensive to install and maintain.

Council officials have previously ruled out on cost grounds using staff to lock this type of gate while the use of volunteers has been ruled out on reliability grounds.

The meeting on 18th is likely to be asked only to consider whether the request should be put out for more general consultation.