Rufforth York cycle path

Funding proposals for cycle path click to enlarge

As previously reported, the Council are proposing to construct a bridleway linking Rufforth to Knapton. It is likely to be used by some cyclists to avoid the B1224.

The Council has been conducting a low profile consultation exercise on its web site on the plans. http://www.york.gov.uk/transport/cycling/Rufforth-Knapton/

The consultation is due to finish on 16th November 2012.

The cost of the scheme is now put at £165,000.

However this does not include improvements to the arrangements for crossing the A1237 near Knapton.

It is this section of the route which is causing the most safety concerns.

The project is due to be discussed at a meeting taking place next Monday (19th Nov.)

Speeding concerns at 4 roads in York

The layout of 4 roads could be changed following investigations into speeding concerns.

The 4 roads are:

• Moor Lane, Woodthorpe.

• Top Lane, Copmanthorpe;

• Sim Balk Lane, Bishopthorpe (in 20 limit)

• Holtby Village (Willow Court)

Checks found that, although there have been few accidents on the roads, speeds were regularly above the limit. Now the Council is to consider undertaking engineering works that would discourage speeders.

There are already 43 sites on the list for engineering works and, with the Council set to spend £600,000 on implement a city-wide 20 mph speed limit, it is likely to be several years before funding is available to address this list.

A report to a Council meeting on 19th November confirms that the number of accidents on York’s roads are now fairly stable, having reduced considerably from a peak of 119 killed or seriously injured in 2001.

The comparable figure for 2011 was 63. There were also 489 slight injury accidents.

About half the casualties were car occupants. In the vast majority of cases speed was not found to be the principle cause of the accident.

A complete list of investigations and their results (including data for Acomb Wood drive) can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/York-speed-checks-Nov-2012

50/40 mph speed limit plan for Deighton

The Council is planning to reduce the speed limit on the A19 passing through Deighton Village.

Official are proposing that a 50 mph limit be introduced together with extended street lighting. Later a section of 40 mph limit may be introduced.

There have been ten injury accidents listed on this section of road within the last three years. The Police have objected tot eh changes pointing out that average speeds are already below 50 mph and speed was not a contributory factor in any of the accidents.

http://tinyurl.com/Deighton-19th-Nov-12

Safety issues at new Park and Ride sites

The design of new highways schemes are independently reviewed to ensure that the layouts proposed are the safest possible. Reviews have been completed for the new sites at Askham Bar and Poppleton Bar.

Askham Bar layout - click to enlarge

The results will be considered at a Council “decision” meeting on 19th November. http://tinyurl.com/York-P-R-19th-Nov

Issues identified included:

• Parking of camper vans

• Speed limits

• Landscaping requirements

• Provision of internal zebra crossings

• Highway markings (Askham bar)

• Installation of rising bollard to protect bus lane (Askham bar)

• Route of shared pedestrian/cycle path (Askham bar)

Copies of the new layouts can be found on the Councils web site

Gillygate/Bootham/St Leonards Place junction changes proposed

High accident levels at the St Leonard’s Place junction have prompted the Council, to propose a makeover to signs in the area. The junction is threatened with a more major change in the future as the Councils struggles to reconcile the need for easy access to the City centre with a plan to reduce traffic levels.

click to enlarge

Most of the accidents occur on the St Leonard’s approach to the junction and poor lane discipline is cited as one of the causes. One of the accidents involved a vehicle “shunting” into a cyclist in the advanced stop area.

Counter intuitively officials believe that reducing the number of pedestrian guard rails should also be considered (some have already gone).

Proposals have been developed to ensure that the traffic lanes on St Leonards Place are signed clearly, increase the amount of space available to cyclists prior to the stop line on Bootham, and reduce the amount of guardrail.

On St Leonard’s Place these improvements comprise adding another set of destination road markings and installing a lane destination sign in a more prominent position to replace an advance direction sign which in its current position is prone to being obscured by tree branches. In addition, it is proposed to extend the cyclist’s advance stop line box on Bootham by 2m.

Full report here: http://tinyurl.com/St-Leonards-Junc

York and North Yorkshire Credit Union Arrest – Labour decision to be scrutinised

The media are reporting that a former employee has been arrested following investigations into fraud at the North Yorkshire Credit Union. The Union collapsed last week.

Separately, a decision by the Labour Cabinet has been “called in” for scrutiny. They were proposing to grant £50,000 (plus help in kind) to another Credit Union that wishes to open a branch in York.

The proposal has been called in to permit full consideration of the reasons behind the North Yorkshire Credit Union collapse. http://tinyurl.com/CU-call-in

The York Council stands to lose up to £100,000 of the loan it made to the York Credit Union in January 2009.

The minutes of meetings around that time reveal that Labour had proposed that £150,000 should be loaned on a “unsecured” sub ordinate basis.

This proposal was rejected by the then LibDem controlled Executive and the York Council unanimously agreed on 22nd Jan 2009 to loan £52,000 (the maximum permitted) as a “preferential loan” with the remainder classified as a “sub-ordinate” loan (which has less protection in the event of a financial failure).

The Council also agreed that “That Council maintain a check on the financial position of the York Credit Union by such means as are acceptable to the Director of Resources”

It is the way that the latter condition has been exercised over the last 18 months – during which time the Credit union slipped into financial difficulties – that should form part of the scrutiny review.

Details of the historic decisions made can be found on the Councils web site

Executive meeting 23rd Dec 2008 http://tinyurl.com/Exec-23rd-Dec-08

Labour alternative proposals 23rd Dec 2008 http://tinyurl.com/Lab-23rd-Dec-08

Council minutes 22nd Jan 2009 http://tinyurl.com/Council-22nd-Jan-09

Confusion over salt bins increases – call to fill bins as panto grant collapses

Kingsthorpe bin has damaged lid

Labour Councillors in Westfield caused a public outcry earlier in the year when they agreed to grant £800 for the the purchase of pantomime constumes. Residents in a postal ballot had given the scheme the thumbs down preferring that the money be spent on basic services such as security patrols.

Now the organisation intending to put on the pantomime has withdrawn the request for the grant.

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

This means that the money could be transferred to fund the filling of the salt bins which the Council has abandoned in the ward.

However many of the bins – which have only the remains of last years salt in them – are in a poor condition. Promised repairs have not materialised and many are choked with rubbish and congealed salt.

We are entering the period when ice can become a menace. The Council should act promptly.

144 mph – fastest speed recorded by mobile speed cameras leads to ban

A biker caught speeding at 144mph has today, Thursday 8 November, been banned from driving for six months .

He was also fined £500 plus court costs of £45 and a victim surcharge of £50.

Gary Dobson, 40, of Old Lee Bank, Halifax was caught on the A63 near South Milford on 7 October 2012 riding a BMW RR 1000 in a 70mph limit.

Dobson pleaded guilty by post at Selby Magistrates’ Court on 1 November 2012 and was sentenced today.

144mph is the highest speed detected so far by North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety camera which was introduced in July 2011.

In first 12 months of the safety camera’s operation (July 11 to June 12 inc) the following offences have been detected:

Total Violations 16,055

Report for Summons 250 (high speed)

Conditional Offer of Fixed penalty 2,126

Speed Awareness course 13,054

Not Proceeded With 625

Mobile camera footage here: http://youtu.be/jjjtphLQr58

(more…)

“Not me Gov”

Few raised an eyebrow a fortnight ago when the Local Ombudsman criticised the York Council for putting a family into what was too small a property to meet their needs. The local Labour MP had joined in the condemnation earlier in the year but the Council refused to rethink their action. Eventually the Council was forced to admit its error. No one was really surprised when, rather than the Cabinet member for Housing accepting any responsibility, a junior officer was rolled out to face the media backlash.

Similarly today we learn that the housing waiting list has increased by 50% since Labour took control of the local Council. Apparently it’s the fault of landlords. No blame can be attached to Labours decision not to seek funding for the construction of more Council houses then.

More difficult to wriggle on was the responsibility for the Gunpowder “Plod” debacle.

In August the Cabinet member for Leisure glowed in the local media as she launched the event. “We pledged last year that York would commemorate November 5, 2012, in style”. “We’ve been working hard with partners to ensure this happens” she trilled as she posed for photos with the Rat Race team.

So enthusiastic was she to be associated with the event that her photo appeared for 3 months on the Plod web site.

With friends like James Alexander around you are guaranteed a bit of mutual backslapping on social media sites like “Twitter”.

James Alexander click to enlarge

So on 3rd November he proudly announced that Cllr Crisp was responsible for bringing both “Plod” and an event called “Kaboom” which was held in Rawcliffe Country Park, to the City.

Early on 5th November, Cllr Crisp responded with enthusiasm. “fun, fireworks, frolics and festivities” she tweeted as she settled down to enjoy the Knavesmire “spectacle”.

Sonja Crisp click to enlarge

By 10:05 she was labelling Kaboom and Plod as both “fantastic

At 11;22pm she tweeted to anyone still awake that “she hadn’t heard the booing

On 6th November the story had changed. Bitter disappointment was surfacing in the media with hundreds complaining. Cllr Crisp responded by tweeting “It was not a Council organised event”.

Perhaps she should have been more discrete. She’d had some practice.

The previous week the Mayor of Blackpool (really) had launched the Blunderland light show in York’s Museum Gardens.

Cllr Crisp worked out that this might seem strange to many residents and tried to do a runner.

Unfortunately the photographer (see above) got there before she could exit stage right!