Impeded paths blamed on damp weather vegetation growth

Grange Lane/Parker Avenue snicket is gradually getting narrower!
Trees are now blocking part of the path which links Kingsway West and Green Lane. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the grass. The trees are in the compound of the Council’s building contractor.
& another Council garage forecourt area apparently missed of the weed killing list. This one on Windsor Garth

Bishopthorpe Road closure set to continue for at least 2 months

Another behind closed doors decision by York Council

With almost breath taking arrogance, the York Council has issued a statement saying that the closure of the southbound lane at Bishopthorpe Road shops will continue for another 2 months.

There has been no debate about other options and a large petition – which asked for the road to be reopened – has been ignored.

No report on the success or otherwise of what the Council describes as a “trial” has been published.

One of the earliest criticisms of the scheme was that the Council had failed to identify how the success or otherwise of the project would actually be judged. It simply referred, rather loftily, to social distancing and government policy.

In reality, the array of bollards has made little difference to social distancing while the contraflow bike lane has introduced another, unwelcome, hazard for cyclists. There has been no consideration of opening up parallel routes (Darborough Street/Cherry Street & St Benedict’s Road) which would at least have provided a much shorter diversion

Bishopthorpe Road lane closure. Petition calls for lane to be reopened.

Nor has the opportunity been taken, during a relatively quiet period, to test an off peak pedestrianisation of the shops area between 10:30am and 4:00pm. Such a scheme would also have aligned with the governments policies while also providing much more room for social distancing. The impacts both economic and on transportation would have provided some real food for thought.

Too late now though, as imminent road works in the Nunnery Lane area are set to cause even bigger traffic congestion problems with the bus services one likely early victim. Works on the nearby South Bank flood alleviation scheme (subject to a planning committee decision next week) will further add to transport woes in the area.

Not content with increasing pollution levels on Scarcroft Road the new diversion via the City centre will add over a mile to some journeys.

The Council says that residents can Email them with their views. The address is Bishrd@york.gov.uk

We doubt that many will bother. Rather the pressure for the Council to adopt an open and inclusive approach to decision making will mount. The Council leadership needs to move out of its bunker mentality and start to re-engage with the local community.

Kent Davison Selina Meyer Gary Cole GIF | Gfycat

We saw in 2015 what happened when a particularly stubborn administration tried to force the Lendal Bridge closure on an unwilling population.

The same will happen again unless polices and attitudes change and change quickly.

Social distancing success

First York are using some of their Park and Ride “bendy” buses on stage carriage routes today including the number 4. This should increase capacity while allowing for safe social distancing. So far the plan seems to be working well.

Acomb Moor Meadow

Elsewhere, Acomb Moor Meadow has had its first cut of the season . This should make social distancing easier for the increased number of walkers that have been using fields like these for exercise during the health crisis.

A two metre wide strip has also been cut on Askham Lane (rural section) where this was practical. This should make safe distancing easier for those exercising in the area.

Less good news though on road safety. There was a bad crash on Bellhouse Way yesterday. No one was injured but some drivers and motorcyclists in west York seem to be using some roads as race tracks.

Accident on Bellhouse Way on Sunday

The police need to get on top of this problem as streets are set to become progressively busier with a proportionate increase in risk.

Fly tipping, weed control contract under scrutiny again

We had hoped that work on keeping paths and hard surfaced areas free of weed growth would be more successful than last year.

Despite treatment starting over a month ago it does look like several areas have again been missed off the programme.

Local residents have treated parts of some problem areas to test how long proprietary weedkillers take to clear undergrowth off paths and forecourts.

If the treatment is successful then there will be some serious questions for the Council to answer about their performance.

Weeds on Kingsway garage area
Kingsway garage area
Hotham Avenue weeds
Residents have started to clear the weeds from round the trees near Herman Walk. Three of the trees ate dead and we hope to see them replaced in the autumn
Playgrounds still closed because of the health crisis. We hope that the Council will have repaired the equipment before the Chesney Field area is brought back into use
Still some dumping around. We’ve reported this trolley which was left in the Chapelfields area
We’ve also reported rubbish left on Askham Lane (rural)

We have a plan. Lets call it a “Transport and Place Strategy”?

5 obscure HTTP methods - Twilio
We know they’ve got a plan. Must have by by now. Surely
Further details on how City of York Council is supporting businesses through a new Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy –  which will help accelerate rebuilding a healthy and inclusive economy, launches next month.

However the Council won’t meet to debate the plan until the end of June by which time many workers will have returned to their jobs.

As the government relaxes the restrictions for retailers from 15 June, the council is developing a strategy to build visitor, resident and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.

This new strategy forms part of the council’s Recovery and Renewal Strategy.  The Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy is in five interdependent strands that will be delivered over the next few months.

The strategy will focus on:

  • prioritising active travel (including cycling and walking) by investing in and improving park and cycle sites, increased cycle parking and new cycle routes
bintykins — I recently bought a cute bike and I am so happy...

The Big Idea? Park and cycle has been tried before with limited success. This is partly because of security/parking issues, partly because many people do not own or can’t ride an appropriate type of bike, or they may have physical capacity limitations and/or have concerns about cycling in poor weather.

  • providing a short term approach to car travel including “incentivised short stay parking” in some of the city centre car parks
  • maintaining confidence in and responding to the short term reduction in capacity on public transport – by working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence
  • creating a people focussed city centre including increasing the city centre foot streets and public spaces to create an attractive environment that people can visit with confidence with space to social distance

The council says it “will deliver these measures at pace to best accelerate the recovery of the economy, allowing doors to open safely in June whilst protecting residents’ safety”.

The media release pointedly fails to recognise the barriers to walking and cycling in sub-urban and village areas where unsafe highway  surfaces and obstructions are major concerns. 

The Council says that residents will be able to give feedback about the plan once measures are in place by participating in the city-wide consultation “Our Big Conversation” helping to set a long-term vision for the city. This will be launched in the next couple of weeks

“Many of the transport and place measures will run for the duration of the one year period and potentially beyond. Although all measures will need to be flexible and remain under review based on government guidance, public health advice, local resident and business feedback, and ongoing assessments of the outcomes of the interventions”

(more…)

More problems with obstructed paths

It seems that more and more paths are being impeded by overgrown hedges and trees. By and large, they are public landscaping hedges which have not been trimmed back for some time (They should have been done during the winter months).

There are particular problems at Clifton Moor (as we have reported previously). The whole estate really needs to be checked for issues before all the local stores and businesses reopen.

Clifton Moor Gate

Access to green spaces

It isn’t just cycle paths which have seen a major increase in use over the last few months.

Sometimes long forgotten Public Rights of Way have been rediscovered as residents have sought to heed government advice to exercise safely.

Nationally a campaign group has identified threats to many open spaces.

Sadly, in York, building work is underway on former sports fields at Lowfield and on Windmill Lane.  Several spaces in the green belt remain under threat.

The loss of this green space needs to be compensated for. It is important not only for peoples health but also to conserve natural fauna and flora.

The opportunities to create additional green spaces near the City centre are limited – although what is available could perhaps be better managed – but there are more options available between the City boundary and the ring road.

Local Councillors could lead the fight to improve the availability of both urban and county parks by identifying suitable areas which could be protected under “village green” legislation.

There are several opportunities on the west of the City where access could be sustained for people living in the Westfield, Dringhouses and Acomb wards. Some proactive  leadership is now required

Last year the York Council did say that they wanted to extend and add to the number of strays in the City. There has so far been little tangible progress to report on that promise.

More waste collection delays in York

The York Council has run into further problems today with household waste, recycling and green bin emptying. There were issues on both sides of the City

Latest waste service update -Tuesday 26 May

We were unable to collect household waste from some areas in Dunnington due to capacity issues.

This household waste will be collected on Wednesday 27 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We have been unable to collect recycling waste from a number of properties due to service levels.

Our crews are still out collecting and a further update regarding recycling collections for 26 May will be issued tomorrow.

We were unable to collect garden waste from a number of properties in the following areas due to capacity issues:

  • Chapelfields
  • Foxwood
  • Tang Hall

We’ll attempt to collect missed garden waste by Wednesday 27 May, but may not be able to revisit until later in the week. Please leave greens bin out and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.

We have been able to recollect all outstanding garden waste from Monday 25 May.

Previous waste service updates – Monday 25 May

All scheduled household waste collections have been made.

We were unable to collect recycling waste from a number of properties in Fulford as a result of restrictions on operations due to coronavirus.

We’ll attempt to collect this recycling on Tuesday 26 May. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We’ve been unable to collect garden waste from a number of properties in the following areas due to capacity issues:

  • Badger Hill
  • Heslington

We will attempt to collect missed garden waste on Tuesday 26 May, but may not be able to revisit until later in the week. Please leave greens bin out and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Drainage ditch plea

It is the time of year when drainage ditches and becks can become overgrown. When water volumes are generally low, it is important that the opportunity is taken to clear vegetation and debris from the channels.

That is particularly challenging at present because of coronavirus restrictions.

We were pleased to see that local Councillor Andrew Waller is pressing the Marston Moor IDB to ensure that maintenance work continues.

Failure to do so could lead to flooding when wet weather returns.

Weed growth impeding Hob Moor (Holgate) beck

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of a Bank Holiday

The Good

Good work by volunteers has seen attractive flower beds established at the Foxwood Community Centre. The beds are “bee friendly”. Residents are being urged to recognise the needs of pollinators when selecting their border plants this year. Lists can be found on the RHS wen site and can be downloaded from these links;

Garden Plants click

Wildflowers click

Most garden centres have now reopened. In addition the Poppleton Community Railway Nursery charity is continuing to offer a service click for their catalogue There will be someone on the nursery at these times Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30 to 3.30. and Thursday 9.30 to 1.00. To avoid disappointment you can ring the nursery mobile 07800 501382 or the land line 01904 797623

Flower beds at the Foxwood Community Centre

The Bad

Less impressive has been the response in dealing with obstructions to foot and cycle paths. The Tadcaster Road cycle path has been reported on several occasions. As a result of weed and hedge overgrowth, it has now been reduced to less than 1 metre wide in some places (making “social distancing” more difficult).

Tadcaster Road cycle track obstructed.
Similar problem on another main access route into the City. The path on the A59 near Poppleton is obstructed forcing users to walk or cycle on the highway.

The Ugly

Sadly there has been an increase in fly tipping. Below is a country lane near Tadcaster photographed today (Monday). The tipping has been reported to the Selby District Council.

Catterton Lane