Potholes report confirms York has a major problem and it is getting worse

A report on highway maintenance in the City reveals that the value of the current back log of maintenance is approximately one hundred and twelve million (£112 million) based on the current condition and cost of repairs.

The figure confirms what many residents had feared. The condition of York’s roads and footpaths is continuing to decline

A separate annex reveals that, in most parts of the City, between 3% and 10% of carriageways are rated as “structurally impaired”. These are “very poor”, the lowest condition rating.

The percentage of roads classified as “very poor” has increased in every ward in the City during the last 3 years.

The figures also confirm that the City’s roads have not recovered from the draconian maintenance cuts imposed by the then Labour administration in 2012.

More recently the new LibDem/Green led Council has substantially increased the resources allocated to highway maintenance.

 The figure also includes a delegated budget to be determined at ward level. There is little evidence that this money has so far been invested*.

The report says that from 1st April 2019 until 26th November 2019, the council has completed “16,646.3 m² of pothole repairs, this equates to 520 m² per week, this is 29.71 m² per day, per gang”.

This can be compared with the same period in 2018 when the council completed “7,586.4 m² of pothole repairs, this equates to 237 m² per week, with training etc. that was 18.9 m² per gang, per day”

Some of the parties vying for votes at the General Election are promising to fill in all potholes. Government funding has been consistently low in recent years.

We doubt that central government appreciates the scale of the backlog in maintenance work which currently exists

*Each ward also has a share of a £500,000 fund earmarked for improvements for “cyclists and pedestrians”. So far suggestions from residents for the use of this fund – for example to reduce ponding problems on routes across amenity areas – have produced little positive response from officials

Crowds add to litter problems in York

Its not just the transport systems that have been under pressure in York this weekend.

People have been pointing to issues with street cleansing in the City centre. Can’t be easy for Council staff and the BID team to keep on top of the problems with such high volumes of pedestrians around (not to mention the security zones).

Even in suburban areas we’ve been finding examples of full bins and badly littered streets. All have been reported for Council attention.

Full bin at Askham Lane bus stop
Same issue at the Cornlands Road shops
Shops forecourt badly littered

Bad week for congestion in York

There has been a lot of congestion in York over the last week or so.  With many visitors coming for the Christmas markets and the “Winter Wonderland” the influx is potentially good news for the local economy.

But transport systems have capacity limits and these were reached at times with the Designer Centre car parks effectively full and Park and Ride services compromised.

Queues at the hospital car park have caused delays on bus services while even cyclists have found it difficult to find vacant City centre cycle racks.

Lenin addresses people waiting in a Waitrose queue?

Add in the arrival of General Election campaigners eager to be filmed with a backdrop of crowds of people and the new security barriers, which hinder movement in areas like St Helen’s Square, and things have turned decidedly awkward even for pedestrians.

So, what’s to be done?

We have criticised the Council before about its failure to utilise modern technology to ease travel woes. The real time parking space availability map was removed from their web site last year.

Many of the parking space availability signs which can be seen on arterial roads didn’t work for a long time.

On line site parking space availability web site abandoned by York Council

 A promised link through GPS to car navigation systems – which would help to direct vehicles to car parks where there were spaces – has not materialised.

As a result, vehicles still circle the City looking for spaces, which sometimes don’t exist, adding to congestion and pollution levels.

The York Council needs to raise its game.

On busy days, it should be tweeting updates on at least an hourly basis. Variable message signs on approach roads should be similarly updated. Local Radio has a part to play.

It would be relatively easy to add a CCTV link displaying the conditions at key locations to the Council web site. North Yorkshire already do this (albeit mainly to provide information on road conditions)

Modern problems need modern solutions.

Sadly at the moment there seems to be little sign of urgency at West Offices on the need to further improve traffic management in the City.

Graffiti and full litter bins in Acomb reported

We understand that responsibility for implementing the new graffiti removal process has been reassigned within the York Council.

Those reporting incidents “on line” CLICK receive an immediate reference number which makes any necessary follow up easier.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the Council new graffiti policy although the responsible executive member does not seem to have taken any action to highlight concerns to the police, while the Council still no longer routinely takes action to apply anti graffiti coatings at vulnerable locations.

Graffiti near Morrisons has been reported for removal
We’ve also reported a full litter bin on the Acomb car park

York Council tackling nettles.

Contractors were out today removing nettle growth from the side of the Foxwood Lane footpath.

Contractors in action on Foxwood Lane

The nettles had been a nuisance during the late summer period although not, this year, as bad as in some previous years.

Mechanical treatment – often by local farmers – is usually an efficient and economical way of controlling weeds and cutting back hedges.

Meanwhile a Freedom of Information request has revealed that this year weed control contractors have only been paid part of the £37,020.89 value of the contract. The response says that £18,498.70 has so far been paid during the current year.

The response does reveal the amounts paid to specialist weed control contractors over the last 9 years.

Weeds blocking public footpath in Windsor Garth reported again this week
  • 2019/20 – A. Morrison’s & Sons £37,020.89.
  • 2018/19 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2017/18 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2016/17 – Munroe’s – £31,189
  • 2015/16 – Munroe’s – £27,192
  • 2014/15 – Dobsons – £68,538
  • 2013/14 – Dobsons – £66,867
  • 2012/13 – Nomix Enviro – £69,792
  • 2011/12 – Nomix Enviro – £79,036

Interestingly the York Council, in the Spring, accepted a tender the value of which was only half that submitted in 2011.

It was later discovered that the list of streets to be treated was incomplete.

There have been chronic problems with weed control during the summer and, as we reported a few days ago, many streets still require attention.

Problem with leaves on Askham Grove steps reported

We’ve reported several instances where fallen leaves could resent a safety issue.

Askham Grove steps
Leaves on paths at junction of Gale Lane and Cornlands Road
Resurfacing contractors have almost reached the end of their Gale Lane job
Both sets of goal posts are back on the Westfield Park. Sadly they still haven’t been painted yet.

Wear and tear takes its toll of street furniture and access gates. Maintenance work is needed at several locations.

The access gate to the Bachelor Hill amenity area from Askham Lane – aimed at preventing access by motorcyclists – has been in need of attentions for some time
Similar picture at the Tennent Road access. We’ve reported litter in the nearby hedge
Litter also a problem on the Cornlands park
….and another gate – to the playground – where the spring closer doesn’t work. This was installed to stop dogs accessing and fouling the play area.
Tedder Road/Cornlands Road snicket. One of several which would benefit from a “deep clean” this winter

Some streets missed again from weed control programme

With winter settling in, and leaves filling gutters and paths, we’ve had a look back at some roads that were subject to complaints about weed growth earlier in the summer.

Sadly in some cases the weeds are still there. The Council will need to use mechanical means to remove the remaining growth.

The weed and grass growth is mainly in drainage gullies but some paths are still obstructed.

Weed growth and leaves in Queenswood Grove gutters
There has been a long term problem with these weeds which obstruct part of the Windsor Garth footpath

Balfour Street tree felled

The tree that was damaging railings and the footpath on Balfour Street has finally been felled. The Council have also removed accumulated leaf fall. The path is now much safer.

The opened up area to the rear has revealed locations where at least two additional trees could be planted.

The work followed complaints to executive Councillors. The self seeded tree had been reported 2 years ago. It caused considerable damage to the railings and footpath in the interim. It is likely to be some time before the tree stump rots away and allows permanent remedial work to be undertaken on the railings and footpath.

Public services improving in York this week

The York Council has had a good week in providing public services. 100% refuse collection success today with the only significant missed collections, earlier in the week, down to “blocked accesses”. Their web page detailing service standards achieved can be accessed by clicking here

Elsewhere the fallen leaves that we reported on Bellhouse Way have been cleared from the paths

Bellhouse Way largely clear of leaves
Elsewhere we have reported leaf fall on Chesney Field….
…and on Foxwood Lane
We’ve also asked for the snicket link to Chesney Field to be cleared of obstructions and detritus