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

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.


York businesses sign up for travel challenge

City of York Council is encouraging York businesses and their employees to get into gear and join over 270 people and 39 businesses who have already joined the i-Travel York BIG Challenge.

The i-Travel York BIG Challenge started on Monday 1 June and offers prizes to those who clock up the most journeys using different modes of sustainable travel during the six-week period, plus weekly prize draws for taking part.


This can include walking, running, cycling, scooting, skating, bus, train, park & ride, park & pedal, car sharing, electric car, teleconferencing or working from home, so almost everyone should be able to join in.
Some of the city’s largest employers have joined, including York College, The Vangarde Shopping Park and Aviva.

Registering is simple via:

The BIG Challenge is being run by Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity, in partnership with i-Travel York.

Congestion Commission was an expensive gimmick

Although there has been no official statement from the new coalition rulers at the York Council, it seems likely that plans to establish a “congestion commission” will be scrapped when it holds its first Executive meeting on 25th June.

The Council leadership are right to get some of the detritus that it inherited, from the last administration, out of the way quickly.

Similar statements of intent would be welcome on issues such as the future of the Guildhall, the Knights rugby club, Coppergate fines. Oliver House etc.

Coppergate - Time to move on

Coppergate – Time to move on

The “Commission” idea was floated by a discredited administration which was desperately trying to recover from the Lendal Bridge shambles. Rather than face the criticism that is usually attached to taking any decision about transport in the City, Labour hoped to deflect the odium onto third parties. Hence the establishment of a Commission which would no doubt have agonised again about congestion charging and the like.

The debates would have been at a huge cost to taxpayers – £135,000 was quoted.

The Council already has a transport plan. It was agreed in 2011 and offers a balance of initiatives aimed at reducing congestion. It needs updating, not least because the decision to bring a trial cross river access restriction forward from 2025 to 2013 has seriously damaged its credibility.

But any transport strategy has to be affordable. With dualling of the northern by pass still elusively outside the resources of even the “combined authority”, talk of trams, tubes, extra river bridges and river buses would be just that – talk.

A1237 dualling still illusive

A1237 dualling still illusive

Any updated transport plan needs to build on what has been successful over the past decade when congestion levels have remained more or less stable.

There has been some modal shift to cycles and walking. Buses were becoming more popular until Labour made the grand gesture of evicting the ftr without having anything half as attractive to passengers to substitute, while new roundabouts on the A1237 have eased bottlenecks.

Now Labour have played an old – and discredited card – when claiming that “80 people a year” die in York as a result of poor air quality. This was the favourite claim of former transport chief Dave Merrett who – after much pressing – admitted that the figure was simply a local extrapolation of national respiratory death statistics.

No one knows how many local deaths, through respiratory diseases, are caused by the pollutants emitted by vehicles (or industry for that matter) but most would, no doubt,  support verifiable actions to address locations where pollution levels are sometimes high (mainly narrow terraced streets like Gillygate).

New electric bus fleet launched last week

New electric bus fleet launched last week

So some marks should be awarded to the last Council for beginning the roll out of the type of electric buses first trialled in the City in 2010.

More of this kind of thinking – making the best use of advancing technologies – will take the city forward in a measured and affordable way and with a reasonable chance of carrying the local population with it.

i-Travel in west York from today

More than 6,000 homes in the Acomb and Poppleton areas of York will be able to benefit from free travel advice when a team of i-Travel York travel advisors continues one of the biggest door-to-door exercises undertaken in York.

Over 8,000 homes in the city have already befitted from the personal travel planning scheme throughout 2013/14. During this time nearly 30,000 individual resource items and 6,000 personal travel challenges were issued to residents.

From Tuesday 19 May, i-Travel York advisers will be visiting households, beginning in Poppleton, to encourage even more residents to consider using more sustainable and active modes of transport including walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.

As part of the exercise, advisers will provide information such as bus and cycle maps, and offer personal ‘challenges’ for individuals to try out a new form of sustainable transport.  Participants will also receive incentives such as a free All-York bus taster ticket, a pedometer or a bike health check to help them on their way.

New Clifton Moor to Haxby Road cycle track “open”

An embarrassing 18 months behind schedule, the £1 million cycle track linking Clifton Moor to Haxby Road has finally been declared officially “open”.

The Council says that, “the scheme has created a safe off-road shared cycle and pedestrian route along the A1237 outer ring road between the Haxby Road roundabout and the B1363 Wigginton Road roundabout, connecting over 15,000 people living in this area of York.

The measures also include new links with Haxby Road near to the roundabout, a new bridge over the York to Scarborough railway line with approach ramps on the existing embankments and an additional crossing point on Wigginton Road to safely connect with Clifton Moor.

The provision of an off-road route/safe link opens up access (sustainably, via cycling and/or walking) between Haxby, Huntington, New Earswick and to the retail, leisure and employment destination of Clifton Moor as well as students attending Joseph Rowntree School“.

The delays to the completion of the scheme – which was scheduled to start in 2013 – have been put down to “poor ground conditions”

Hopgrove junction to get another upgrade


Today’s government announcements on major improvements to the road network will attract mixed reactions in York.Hopgrove roundabout copy

Included is a pledge to “grade separate” the Hopgrove A1237/A64 junction. This means that fly-overs will replace the roundabout (which was itself subject to an £9 million upgrade only 5 years ago).

However, those hoping for the A1237 to be dualled will be disappointed and traffic, at busy times, having avoided the Hopgrove bottleneck, will immediately face continuing congestion on the remainder of the A64 trip to the coast.

Hopes for the A1237 seem to rest on the devolved funding made available to the, increasingly aloof, Leeds based “West Yorkshire Combined Authority”.

Reports last week suggested that funding for larger roundabouts is the extent of their ambitions.

Lendal Bridge – Backing for all party scrutiny of decision

Lendal Bridge signs

York Council’s Labour leader has finally backed Liberal Democrat calls for a cross-party scrutiny review of the Lendal Bridge trial, saying “it is the right thing to do”.

The Liberal Democrat Group has called for an independent review of the trial by the council’s cross-party scrutiny committee. The Lib Dems say there are still unanswered questions over the trial, which was abandoned last month after a Government Traffic Adjudicator ruled the Labour run council had no power to issue penalty fines. The Lib Dems say it is essential that lessons are learnt so that future attempts at tackling city-centre congestion are more successful.

At last night’s Cabinet meeting the Council Leader, James Alexander, was challenged on the issue by Lib Dem Councillors Ann Reid and Ian Cuthbertson and admitted that it would be right to hold a review if that is what opposition councillors wanted.Before last night, Labour had failed to support a full scrutiny review of the trial and instead announced plans for a ‘commission’ to look at the more general issue of congestion in York.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport on City of York Council, commented:

“I am pleased that the Labour leader has finally appeared to back our calls for a full cross-party scrutiny review of the Lendal Bridge trial. He now needs to ensure that his fellow Labour councillors support the move and play a full role in the process.

“We need a proper review in public to get answers to the questions which Labour have ducked so far. These include how the Labour run council implemented a scheme which was ruled ‘unlawful’, why the signage was so poor that 50,000 motorists were fined, and why there no real public consultation before the trial.

“We also need to understand why in the face of overwhelming opposition from residents and local businesses Labour pushed on with the closure beyond its original six months. And why Labour is using taxpayers’ money to fund its legal battle to now justify the botched closure.

“Only by properly reviewing the Lendal Bridge trial and learning what went wrong can the council hope to be more successful in other attempts at tackling congestion.I recognise that there are serious challenges for the future, but it is crucial that we first learn the lessons from this episode.”

A video of last night’s Cabinet meeting can be found here: Cllr James Alexander made his statement during the ‘Public Participation’ section in response to Cllr Ann Reid.

The Liberal Democrat Group will formally submit the topic for scrutiny review at next week’s Annual Scrutiny Work Planning Event.