Virtual permits which can be managed by resident via an online portal, with alternative options for customers without internet access;
Cashless trial at Marygate car park alongside introduction of the new pay on exit system;
Extension of operating hours at Piccadilly car park (until 8pm)in line with the longer opening hours of the footstreets;
Renaming of Piccadilly car park to Coppergate Centre car park to provide a better and unique identity to this key Council asset;
Update to Traffic Regulation Order for some permits to better represent customer requirements, such as introducing parking permits solutions for guest houses, AirBnBs and other holiday lets;
Update Parking discount criteria to make this consistent with other Council Services;
Residents paying for parking permits at the council’s Customer Centre will no longer be able to use cash to support the prevention of COVID-19 contamination. The same will apply for Penalty Charge Notices once a solution has been put in place
Proposed changes, if accepted, will go live at the end of the year
The Council is taking urgent action to change access arrangements on Fossgate and part of Walmgate.
It follows complaints from residents and traders who have been unable to service their premises during the extended pedestrian hours.
It is understood that this has adversely affected trade.,
The Council says, “The current arrangements were installed as part of the Councils emergency COVID response to facilitate pavement cafes and reduce vehicles to support the Economic Recovery. Although consultation was undertaken, the businesses on Fossgate and the yards are reporting negative impacts. This change would allow resolve many of the issues with the temporary arrangements currently in place.
This change continues the displacement of blue badge parking. The council is conscious of this and has put in place mitigations including off street and on street blue badge holders and continues to keep this under review. Understanding the impact is a focus of the current consultation”
The Council has now agreed two modificatiosn to teh traffic order.
1. To approve an emergency change to the Temporary TRO currently in place on Fossgate, to manage one way vehicular access on Walmgate/Fossgate during the day through a “no motorised vehicles, except for access” restriction between 10.30am and 8pm, with two dedicated loading bays on Walmgate/Fossgate and a loading ban for the remainder of the street, and a staffed access point during footstreet hours..
2. To undertake further engagement with traders and residents on Fossgate (including Walmgate, between Fossgate and the junction with Merchantgate) and those gaining access to properties through Fossgate on what future temporary arrangements look like.
As usual the decision was taken at a “behind closed doors” decision session without any prior notice being given.
Face masks will have to be worn in shops from today. It remains to be seen how effective this government policy will be.
What is now clear is that some of the impulsive decisions taken a couple of months ago, at the peak of the pandemic by the York Council, have not met the test of time.
Tinkering with traffic systems without proper consultation or impact assessments was always a recipe for failure.
Crucially no attempt was made to define how success would be measured.
So how have they fared?
Bishopthore Road lane closure
This was intended to provide queuing space for shoppers. It was claimed that it would make social distancing easier.
Critics pointed to new hazards for cyclists on the contraflow lane, increased congestion & pollution on alternative routes and a missed opportunity to trial an off peak pedestrian area (10:30am – 4:00pm) approach.
The results have been disappointing with the alternative Nunnery Lane/Blossom Street/ Scarcroft Road suffering for increased congestion. Bus services have been adversely affected. There has been short cutting through residential areas like St Benedict Road where parking is also now a problem
There is little footpath queuing on the east of the shopping area. The forecourted shops on the other side have adequate space although bollards have reduced flexibility.
Verdict – scrap it
An ill considered scheme which missed the opportunity that part time pedestrianisation might have offered.
Fortunately there have been no accidents involving cyclists yet, although northbound traffic levels remain below average (as they do across the whole of the highway network)
Reduced social distancing requirements (now one metre rather than two) and the introduction of face masks should lead to this trial being abandoned. A more thorough consultation on the options for the Bishopthorpe Road area could then take place.
One of the general traffic lanes across Foss Bridge on the inner ring road was repurposed for cyclists (southbound) . The lane had been coned off while maintenance work on the bridge was carried out in the early spring.
Most cyclists opt to use the riverside off road path. Comparatively few choose to use the inner ring road.
Verdict – retain and consult on its future
There has been little congestion on this section of the inner ring road although general travel patterns are not expected to return to pre COVID levels before September.
The cycle lane has been obstructed on occasions by delivery drivers, taxi pick ups etc. so the solution is less than perfect.
Monk Bar car park disabled spaces
The Council allocated 40 spaces at the Monk Bar car park for blue badge holders when additional access & parking restrictions were introduced in the City centre (e.g. Goodramgate). A “free” taxi service link to the rear of Kings Square is offered. The decision – like several others – was taken by the Councils acting chief executive with no prior consultation.
Blue badge holders can park on single yellow lines and park free of charge at Council car parks.
The little used taxi service is costing taxpayers £354 a day.
It appears that no attempt was made to assess the demand for disabled parking spaces at Monk Bar or for the taxi link. The Council didn’t specify the use of low emission vehicles on the taxi contract
Typically no more than five blue badge holders are parking at Monk Bar at any one time. The remaining general parking spaces are being increasingly used but the car park has yet to reach the full occupation levels seen before the pandemic. The Council has also recently allocated more on street parking spaces for blue badge holders in streets like Duncombe Place.
While the initiative was well intentioned, the Council hopelessly misjudged the demand for the service.
Verdict – revise the scheme
The number of reserved spaces can be reduced and the taxi link abandoned. Consultations can take place with disabled group representatives and traders on other options. These might include a “home to city centre” subsidised taxi service for the disabled where costs are recompensed when goods are bought.
Marygate car park
Around 40 parking spaces have been cordoned off. The Council claimed it was to allow cyclists to avoid joint use of the footpath (which links Scarborough Bridge to Bootham Terrace). In turn this helped to maintain a two metre social distancing zone.
The scheme was criticised when proposed because if failed to assess the effectiveness of the obvious alternative (encouraging cyclists to use the internal car park service road) which would have involved the loss of only one parking space.
There were bigger problems on other routes from Scarborough Bridge both at the north (Marygate) end of the bridge and crucially at the station itself. A narrow tunnel connects the shared cycle/footpath to Bootham Terrace.
The introduction of one metre social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks will reduce any health threat.
Observations at the car park suggest that the cycle route through the parking spaces is very little used (with some cyclists opting to use the service road anyway).
The car park has been busy on occasions but has not yet reached capacity. This may change if August is as busy as it has been in the past
Verdict – amend the scheme to allow cyclists to use the car park service road.
There is no Coronavirus heath justification for routing cyclists through car parking spaces. The break in the perimeter fence can be retained – and one place bollarded off – to allow access via the service road to Bootham Tce and Almery Garth. A ramp to St Mary’s – promised but never delivered – would be a useful for both cyclists and disabled buggy users.
The Council should sort out an acceptable route for cyclists wishing to access the route from Scarborough bridge to Lowther Tce (long term plans for the station frontage remodelling need to recognise this demand)
The York Council has published for the first time its post lockdown strategy. The report was considered and agreed today. There was no prior consultation.
The Council has decided to make Coppergate one way (east to west) cutting one of the City’s key bus routes for the next 6 months “or until a vaccine is available”. Cyclists will be able to continue to use the street in both directions although, at the “pinch point” near the Coppergate centre entrance, this may compromise social distancing objectives.
The Council strategy says there will be, ”Active discouragement of the use of public transport and the promotion of walking and cycling”. (Paradoxically the Council has also announced today a bid for funding for more electric buses)
The Council isn’t expecting many retail workers to return to City centre jobs much before December. Restaurant and pub (hospitality) workers may be out of a job for even longer.
More local and county residents are expected to start to visit the City centre from the autumn together with smaller numbers of day visitors from other parts of the region. Later they will be joined by tourists from other parts of the country.
International tourists are not expected to return in any numbers before the late Spring of 2021.
The “strategy” pointedly does not propose a marketing plan aimed at actually promoting the City, and its key visitor/retail economy, over the next few months.
The Council leaders plan involves the closure of the key (for the retail economy) Castle car park without its planned multi storey replacement being opened at St Georges Field.
The notoriously unreliable “pay on exit” mechanisms will also be rolled out to all car parks – negating the social distancing preferred option of contactless payment via smart phone Apps.
The strategy offers little for the suburbs. The option of encouraging devolved open air markets is not even mentioned. There is no publicity support on offer for neighbourhood businesses. More cycle parking is, however, promised.
Many may have sympathy with a key message included in the strategy which “proposes to invest and make bold interventions to create new networks of park and cycle hubs, priority cycle routes, subsidised cycle hire and cycle parking to prioritise active travel”.
Those reading further will see that there are no actions proposed to address the natural barriers to two wheeled transport (poor infrastructure, uneven highways, obstructed paths, etc.) Much less does the statement recognised that some sections of the community because of distance, fitness, luggage or just poor weather, simply don’t have a realistic two wheeled travel option.
No forecasts of modal change are included. The Council simply doesn’t seem to know what effect implementing such a rag bag of tactical polices might have.
So we judge the document to be a profoundly superficial and disappointing proposal shuffled into the light of day with no prior consultation and apparently lacking even sensitivity to the difficult choices now facing many sections of the community.
Hopefully work will have already started on producing something more convincing. First step should be to regain the trust and supportl of local residents.
York’s footstreets are set to be extended from 15 June.Themain impact will be on disabled access.
“City of York Council is extending York’s footstreets from 15 June to increase pedestrian zones within the city centre and support local businesses by providing residents more space to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier”.
“The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.
York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, with many areas within York’s city centre already designated as pedestrian footstreets.
In line with the Government relaxing the restrictions for retailers this month, pedestrian zones will be extended to include the following streets:
Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square)
St Helen’s Square
The core footstreet rules will apply to the extension area, including no vehicles being allowed to access, or park on, these streets, including deliveries between 10.30am and 5pm.
During the footstreet times, barriers (staffed for an initial period) will be in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, but emergency vehicles and the Dial-a-Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.
The council is exploring a further extension of the hours in to the evening, to coincide with the reopening of the hospitality sector, alongside encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by considering incentivised short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks”.
Blue Badge holders can, as has always been the case, park for free in any council car park and can take advantage of using disabled bay spaces in Council car parks too. For more information on council car parks visit www.york.gov.uk/parking
The council is also exploring where it can create additional capacity for Blue Badge holders elsewhere in the city by the 15 June, and provide further support.
This will include shop-mobility type assistance and additional replacement disabled bays at Monk Bar Car Park. Guides will be available to direct people to other car parks and provide on the day information about car parking availability.