Wider footpath at Bishopthorpe Road shops

City of York Council is providing more safe spaces for residents to walk and cycle during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In light of the renewed importance of walking and cycling, it’s recognised that there is an opportunity during this crisis to support walking and cycle routes in the city.

York has been highlighted nationally as one of the best cities whose residents and businesses have most adhered to social distancing [according to data from Google].

Some locations with narrow footpaths or areas where there are queues of people outside shops are making it difficult for some residents to social distance safely though. The council has taken on board this feedback and is making changes, where possible.

Bishopthorpe Road is one example of this where additional space has been provided for pedestrians by widening the footway with cones, with further measures now under active consideration, details of which will be announced shortly.

Another route to benefit includes Castle Mills Bridge. The west bound lane over the bridge has been coned off to enable cyclists to use this dedicated space on the road. This provides an enhanced alternative route to the riverside path over Blue Bridge for cyclists.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said:

We know that our residents are doing what is practically possible to follow the national guidance, which has been designed to keep us all safe and slow the spread of the virus.

“We’re hearing from some residents and local businesses that they are finding it hard to stick to social distance guidelines at certain locations in the city, particularly on some narrow footpaths.

Many residents have been making use of wider areas and waiting to allow others to pass. However, to aid residents, we are looking at how we can help residents in adhering to social distancing guidance. In addition to these immediate measures, council officers are also currently exploring how best to respond to these challenges in the medium to long term, and are identifying opportunities to maintain the health benefits of low traffic and improved air quality in whatever the new normal looks like for communities.”

Road safety advice:

  • It’s important that all road users give pedestrians or cyclists plenty of room when passing them
  • Motorists should lower their speed and be aware that there is an increase in the number of novice cyclists on York’s roads and pedestrians may move into the road unexpectedly when passing others on the footway
  • Cyclists must make sure they check the road and signal their intention to other road users, prior to moving their position on the road
  • Cyclists need to create the distance with other road users, including pedestrians. Drivers should be aware that cyclists may pull out into the middle of the road as they pass pedestrians on the footpath
  • Pedestrians should take more care to look properly (not just listen), when crossing the road. Just because roads are much quieter, does not mean that there is nothing coming
  • Motorists should keep an eye on their speed particularly in areas where there are pedestrians and cyclists and where traffic levels are much lower than normal
  • The UK government advice is to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible
  • Do not travel unnecessarily
  • You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only by yourself or within your household, not in groups
  • You should keep 2 metres apart from others outside your household at all times when outdoors
  • Additional advice for commuters, cyclists and pedestrians can be found on the iTravel York website, including details on bus travel and a downloadable cycle/walk map for York

For more general advice is provided by Cycling UKSport England and Living Streets

Council officially opens Newbury Avenue bungalows 4 months after completion

Still waiting for alternative parking provision to be provided

New council bungalows at Cheltenham Court, Acomb

Residents living in new bungalows built by City of York Council, are delighted with their quality and being able to live independently in their own communities.

The five, one-bedroomed homes at Cheltenham Court, Acomb, are now finished and are being let to tenants at social rents. Designed and built with generous space and high levels of energy-saving measures, they offer lower fuel bills and higher levels of comfort. They are also able to be adapted to meet the tenants’ changing needs.

Julie and Jules Barber moved into their brand new bungalow just before the coronavirus lockdown started. Julie said:

Our occupational therapist referred us for one of these bungalows and moving here has been the best thing that could have happened to us.

“I’ve a number of health problems and was finding that the stairs in our old home were very difficult. Now, we’ve no stairs but we’ve got a wet room which is so much easier for me, we are just around the corner from where we lived for 26 years and I’ve no worries at all. It’s a beautiful bungalow: so peaceful and with lovely neighbours. I can’t thank the council enough.”

One of Julie’s neighbours who wished to remain anonymous, said:

I’ve not seen such high-quality design, build and interior finishes for years. This deserves an award.

“The bungalows have been designed really well. I can’t believe how spacious they are, the number of sockets fitted, and the storage: I’ve more here than I had in my old three-bedroomed house. The attention to detail carries on into the outside space with high-quality raised beds and benches. This communal area creates a real feel-good factor which will help bring the community together. The council has raised the bar here.”

To support tenants with different needs, two of the bungalows are fully wheelchair-accessible, and have features including kitchen surfaces which can be raised or lowered and reinforced ceiling joists which can hold hoists if required.

The tenants are being offered technology to enable them to live independently and safely. Depending on their needs, this could include sensors which indicate activity and movement, levels of heat, noise and light in a home, and sensors to prevent falls or alert people if there is a medical emergency and support people in keeping safe at night. These systems can link directly to carers, or family or friends and offer reassurance for both the residents and the people who support them.

The bungalows have south-facing patios overlooking historic Hob Moor nature reserve and stray, and are built around an attractive new open space, landscaped with raised beds and benches for tenants to enjoy. A community event to introduce the new tenants to their neighbours at Newbury Avenue is being arranged when it is safe to do so.

Unfortunately the promise made by the York Council, when the garages that formerly occupied the site were demolished, to provide alternative off street parking space has so far not been honoured.

The broken promise joins a growing list of York Council “let downs” in west York which has seen a local football field, bowling green and an all weather sports area closed during the last 3 years.

So which roads and paths will be resurfaced this year in York?

Highways programme published

Tadcaster Road will be resurfaced

Somewhat later this year, the York Council has published its highways maintenance programme. The list reveals that the Council has cut its repairs budget by £100,000 compared to last year.

In total the Council will invest £12.3 million this year.

Not all will be spent on roads and paths as the budget also covers repairs to the City Walls (£626,000), replacement street lighting columns (£578,000) and drainage/gulley works (£1.7 million).

Most of the budget has been allocated to structural maintenance works.

£700,000 will be spent just filling in potholes as they appear.

The report gives no details of how the £500,000 repairs budget, delegated to wards last year,  is being spent.

The details of the allocations – and which streets are affected – can be viewed via these links


Major carriageway works


School Street misses out on the resurfacing list again

The programme is likely to disappoint some residents. They may have hoped that the new Council would get to grips with the, now huge, backlog in highway resurfacing work needed in the City.

But it seems that many residential roads and paths will not get the attention that they need.

In the Westfield ward only two streets will be resurfaced. A second section of Gale Lane will  be resurfaced as will the roundabout at the junction of Askham Lane and Ridgeway.

Badly worn footpaths like this on the odd numbered side of Askham Lane, in Walton Place, on Ridgeway, and on Otterwood Lane, together with the carriageways on Foxwood Lane and School Street, don’t get a mention.

Another hazardous road that didn’t make the cut

There is better news in Dringhouses with a large £1/2 million allocation is included for the resurfacing of Tadcaster Road while several streets in Woodthorpe* will be repaired. Work has already started on resurfacing part of Moor Lane.

The budget allocation predated the current health crisis. Like most of the Council’s expenditure commitments it is likely to be subject to review in the light of falling revenues.

Paradoxically, the current crisis has served to re-emphasise the importance of keeping basic highway surfaces in a condition which does not pose a threat to the safety of vulnerable users like pedestrians and cyclists.

We will be pressing for the details of the “ward resurfacing programme” to be released for scrutiny.

  • Streets identified for “micro patching” include; Lowick (£8,700), Troutbeck (£7,000), Woodthorpe School Entrance (£2,400), Overdale (£6,200), Glenridding (£15,000), Windermere (£6,200), Brambledene (£27,000), Dringfield Close (£6,500), Wains Road (£40,000), &
    Lockwood Street (£6,000)