Mixed messages from York Council on cycling

The Council is using social media to promote cycling as a way to get to work when the lock-down ends. Many workplaces, offices and shops are expected to reopen during the next fortnight, putting added pressure on a compromised public transport system.

Cycling – particularly at this time of year – may be an option for some people.

But there is little evidence that the Council is addressing everyday barriers to cycling

This 100-year-old Guide To 'Self-Protection on ...

These days foot-pads aren’t the biggest threat.

The contraflow cycle lane installed on Bishopthorpe Road is an unnecessary hazard. Inexperienced cyclists trying to use it may indeed be intimidated, making them more likely to use other transport modes. (There is an alternative, quiet, route via Vine Street)

Meanwhile on the Tadcaster Road cycle path “social distancing” signs have appeared near the railway bridge. Fair enough, if a problem has been identified. Clearly more families are now walking or cycling to the Askham Bog nature reserve although social distancing on that site is also problematic.

Social distancing signs

Yet scarcely 300 metres further along the cycle path, its width is now reduced to less than 1 metre. Overhanging branches and weed growth are to blame (the weeds are actually now breaking up the bitmac surface) ..

A relatively easy issue to deal with but, despite reports to the Council, no work has been undertaken.

Cycle track obstructed.

Better news further down Tadcaster Road with highway resurfacing works now ahead of schedule. The smoother carriageway surface is much safer for users of 2 wheeled transport.

Tadcaster Road resurfacing due to be completed by 12th June

“Extra” York highways repair funding is £1.8 million

There was some excitement last week when the government announced extra funding to tackle “pothole” repairs. The top line figure bandied around was an increase of £5.6 million.

That would have effectively doubled the York Councils highway repairs budget.

It turns out that this included already committed grants which have already been allocated to cover this years repairs programme.

The actual new money increase is £1.8 million.

Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation engineers

Even this is not additional money. As the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation has now made clear, it is simply expenditure being re categorised.

It is not the first time that a government has announced the same spending decision on multiple occasions.

Still a substantial sum but, to put it into context, last year the Council spent £1/2 million just repairing one street (Stonegate).

The sooner the Council comes up with proposals – including the use of funds delegated to wards – for the resurfacing programme for this year the better.

Roads will only get busier as the virus threat recedes and people get back to their more normal lifestyles. Road closures and subsequent delays later in the year could impede the City’s economic recovery.

There must be a sense of urgency

Government funding for “pothole” repairs May 2020

Road works completed on Blossom Street

The work to replace the gas main near the junction of Blossom Street and Holgate Road were completed on schedule. Traffic has been flowing easily this weekend.

Blossom Street road works have been completed

However further road works on Nunnery Lane (and Tadcaster Road) are starting in June prompting calls for the trial lane closure on Bishopthorpe Road to be terminated.

The closure, ostensibly to free space for “social distancing, has prompted opposition from residents who point to higher pollution levels on alternative routes, cyclists who feel their “contraflow” route is unsafe and motorists who have been facing a 1 mile detour plus higher journey times.

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

Bollards placed along the edge of the footpath have actually made social distancing for pedestrians more difficult in places.

Lack of consultation with residents has been highlighted as a major concern, while the decision to coincide the closure with road works taking place on the detour route caused particular anger.

The scheme has led to a petition being gathered which calls for the scheme to be abandoned. It has already gained  900 signatures.

It can be found by clicking here  http://chng.it/7KrqTHQGBp

Some commentators have said that the impulsive decision may put the case for creating a part time foot street at the Bishopthorpe Road shops back by a decade or longer.

Unlawful Lendal Bridge closure cost Council £millions in compensation payments

Public antipathy had a similar effect following the failed Lendal Bridge closure 4 years ago.

The Council persisted with that project long after it became clear that it was ill judged and, indeed, ultimately proved to be unlawful.

More roadworks including St Helen’s Road monthly resurface

Tadcaster Road (including St Helen’s Road)
St Helen’s Road – road works a familiar site

Resurfacing works will take place from Wednesday 20 May between 9.00am and 5.00pm, for 4 weeks, working Monday to Friday only.

In order to carry out the work safely, phased lane closures will be in place from the junction of Middlethorpe Drive to the junction of Knavesmire Road whilst works are taking place

James Street

The resurfacing works will take place from Wednesday 10 June for up to 4 nights, working between 7.30pm and 5.00am, Monday to Friday only. A full road closure from, but not including, the junction of Lawrence Street up to, but not including, the junction of Morrison’s will be necessary whilst works are taking place.

In addition to the above, we’ll be carrying out kerbing and drainage works on Monday 1 June for a period of 7 days working Monday to Friday, from 9.15am to 4.00pm. These works will be carried out under local traffic management, will not affect access/egress and the road will be open as normal.

In order to carry out these works safely, a number of measures will be taken.

Staff will use ‘stop and go’ traffic control boards whilst works are taking place to manage lane closures, together with the use of a lead vehicle convoy system to guide traffic past the works at a safe and constant speed. This is to ensure that adequate health and safety is maintained for both local residents, the travelling public and the contractor

Site staff will be on hand to advise and assist residents about any access restrictions once the works are ongoing

All on-street parking in the working area and within close proximity to the works will be suspended at these times, although any specific access requirements may be arranged by speaking to the site traffic management operatives, who will co-ordinate with residents’ and businesses’ requirements around the ongoing construction operations. This will not affect access for residents or businesses and the road will be open as normal

Bus services will be running as normal, and although there may be slight delays as a consequence of the works, this will be kept to a minimum

Emergency services will be permitted through the works at all times. Please note that cyclists are advised to dismount and use the adjacent grass verges.

Blue Bridge repairs to start next week

Refurbishment and maintenance works are scheduled to take place on Blue Bridge, over the River Foss, from Monday 18 May for up to eight weeks.

This will include general painting and repairs to the bridge parapet railings, the removal of old paintwork and steelwork repairs. In order for these works to be done safely, the bridge needs to be removed from the site.

A temporary scaffold walkway and bridge will be installed to allow pedestrian and cyclist access whilst the works on Blue Bridge are being undertaken.

There will be two brief closures (of up to 15 minutes each) during this time, to allow the bridge sections to be lifted out and returned into position. This will take place towards the start of the project and towards the end.

The width and overall length of the temporary bridge will be similar to the existing Blue Bridge. We’re asking residents to allow plenty of space between themselves and others in order to reduce the possibility of groups meeting along the restricted width of the temporary walkway.

The works themselves will take place between the Blue Bridge Lane and New Walk (i.e. along the River Ouse riverbank side).

It is possible to avoid this area by traveling via Fishergate for both pedestrians and cyclists.   

The width dimensions of the temporary bridge will be similar to those of the existing bridge, but with a ramp to access the bridge from one side. Cyclists will be able to use the temporary bridge which will be flat, unlike the existing bridge which rises to a peak.

The River Foss navigation will not be available for access to river craft for the duration of the works.

Road repairs promised, Foxwood residents key workers tribute

Dringhouses Councillor Stephen Fenton tells us that the Council have agreed to fill in the potholes on the Askham Lane approach to the A1237 roundabout. Last week the highways department claimed there was no need for any work!
Foxwood Residents Association gardeners (Foxgloves) have unveiled a tribute to key workers in the communal garden at the community centre.
Residents are being asked to check that boundary hedges are not intruding onto public footpaths
Thorn hedge branches which are impeding the Tedder Road – Cornlands Road snicket have been reported for a second time.
Bulky waste removal service recommences tomorrow (Monday). Details on Council web site.

Monkbar to close for overnight resurfacing on Sunday

Following the completion of the traffic signal renewal at the junction of Monkbar, Lord Mayor’s Walk and St Maurice’s Road, City of York Council will be resurfacing the junction from Sunday 10 May.

To minimise disruption work will take place overnight from 7.30pm – 5am and is expected to take five nights to complete, weather dependant. The work includes resurfacing the road and adding markings.

All crews carrying out the works will be operating under strict social distancing guidance due to the current Coronavirus restrictions. All but essential maintenance has been paused during the outbreak of Coronavirus.

We have worked with trade unions and our supply chain to develop new ways of working during the pandemic. This ensures that works on the road can happen in a safe way for front line operatives and the public, whilst roads are quieter than normal.

This follows guidance from the Department of Transport, which has asked council’s to continue with normal highway maintenance as much as possible.

To minimise disruption the resurfacing work will be carried out in two phases as follows:

  • Phase 1 (Sun 10 May – Tue 12 May): Jewbury/St Maurice’s Road and Goodramgate Closed with traffic on Lord Mayor’s Walk and Monkgate down to a single lane operating under lane closures and temporary lights. Jewbury/St Maurice’s Road will be turned in to a 2-way road allowing access and egress to and from the hotels and Cloisters Walk only (no through traffic). Access and egress will only be granted to St Maurice’s Road/Jewbury from the direction of Layerthorpe/Foss Islands Road/Peasholme Green. The slip road on Foss Bank to Jewbury will also be closed.
  • Phase 2 (Wed 13 May – Thu 14 May): All roads will remain open with traffic on Lord Mayor’s Walk and Monkgate down to a single lane.

The roads will need to be closed during the resurfacing work on phase 1. Clearly signed diversion routes will be in place for through traffic. The closure is to ensure that adequate health and safety is maintained for local residents, the travelling public and the contractors undertaking the work.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in any situation. A one way system will be in place on pavements to ensure that people can effectively distance themselves from other footway users.

All on street parking in the working area and within close proximity to the works will be suspended including a small section of on street parking on Lord Mayors Walk during work times.

During phase 1, Bus services 12 and 14 will be diverted via Layerthorpe, Eboracum Way and Heworth Green meaning Monkgate will not be served. Buses from the direction of Haxby to York/Foxwood will not be affected.

For more information visit www.york.gov.uk/monkbar

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

Footpaths

Major carriageway works

Patching

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)

Mixed picture on public services standards in York but some impressive progress

The lower tree branches that were impeding the cycle path on Thanet Road were trimmed back yesterday. Less than 24 hours from a report being made to action being taken. Impressive.
Grassed area opposite Foxwood shops clear of litter for the first time in over a year. Partly down to dedicated cleansing operative who is doing a sound job in this area.
Extension to Lincoln Court independent living flats completed. Suggests that much missed children’s play area could be reinstated when builders leave?
Slower progress on the Centre of Excellence for disabled children on Ascot Way. The project was never likely to meet its June target completion date even before the health crisis intervened.
Weeds are already overgrowing the little Green Lane garage area. This was problem last year. We expected that the garage owned site would be added to this years treatment list although there is no sign of “die back” yet. A builders skip has also appeared on the site.
We’ve reported the potholes that have appeared ion Windsor Garth

Good work by Highways England

Highways England removed the carcass of the dead badger from the A64 yesterday. The response was very swift.

The dead badger removed from the A64. There is a continuing debate about where responsibility rests for cleansing the cycle path along the A64 and on into York. Currently there is a lot detritus on it in places which restricts its width.
On Moor Lane in Dringhouses, the Council has removed the cats eyes from the highway prior to resurfacing on Sunday. The surface dressing process – which arrests wear on the road surface -, will involve one way working so some delays can be expected. Alternative routes are unlikely to be busy.
The Council have agreed to cut back the branches from the tree that is blocking the Thanet Road cycle path. They say they will do so when labour becomes available.
The York Council has promised to repair a section of carriageway on Bradley Lane near Rufforth

Road repairs let down in York

The York Council has announced that 3 carriageways in the City will be resurfaced starting next week.

They are;

  • *Moor Lane: initial works will take place on Tuesday 28 April, between 6pm to 9pm, weather permitting. The works will consist of removing all existing road studs in preparation for resurfacing works. The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May between 9.30am to 11am.
  • A1237 – A59 roundabout to B1224 roundabout: initial works will take place on Tuesday 28 April, between 7pm to 9pm, weather permitting. The works will consist of removing all existing road studs in preparation for resurfacing works. The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May 2pm to 4.30pm.
  • Wigginton Road (section 1) – Railway line to A1237: The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May between 7am and 9am.

The Council has still not announced its full highways repair programme for the forthcoming 11 months.  The Council is now in breach of its own code of conduct. It recently agreed click to make available programme and performance information in a transparent way.

While the current health crisis may have delayed some aspects of the Councils work, there is no excuse for the lack of any communication with stakeholders.

Last year the programme was published in March although those documents have still not been listed on the  Councils Open Data site (which includes only the 2018 list).

The Council has also removed programme details from its – constantly updated – GIS mapping system.

At the same time the Council’s “report it on line” system is proving to be unreliable. Intermittently it is preventing a “flag” being dropped onto its GIS map indicating the location of potholes and, health related, cleansing issues. The issue is being followed up by a local Councillor. It is important to restrict the use of alternative communication channels – such as telephone and email – as Council resources need to be concentrated on the coronavirus response.

An FOI will be submitted to obtain the highways list. It would be better if officials/Councillors simply offered a progress report.

*Assumed to be Moor Lane Dringhouses