Traffic signals to be upgraded on Coppergate- road closure from Monday

Coppergate

Ageing traffic signals on Coppergate are set to be replaced by City of York Council from Monday 17 July.

Work is expected to be completed by Friday 28 July. To minimise disruption to residents and visitors work will take place from 7.30am-11pm, seven days a week.

To allow work to take place safely a full road closure will be in place. Pedestrian routes and access to all businesses will be maintained throughout the works. A fully signed diversion route will also be in place.

The work will include a full overhaul of the traffic signal equipment, including changes to the pedestrian crossing equipment to facilitate puffin style near side red and green man displays. There will also be carriageway and footway maintenance works to the raised table at the crossing.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum, however buses that normally use this street will be diverted and motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.
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Crack down on the abuse of blue badges in York

City of York Council is stepping up efforts to crack-down on people in York who fraudulently use disabled blue badges.

Civil enforcement officers and Veritau – the company that investigates fraud on behalf of the council – are working jointly to proactively spot and tackle badge misuse in the city.

A two-week amnesty is being offered for holders to return invalid badges without question, or fear of legal action being taken.

It will begin on Monday 17 July and end on Friday 28 July.  A collection box has been left at the customer services reception desk at West Offices.

Once the amnesty is over, a series of proactive ‘enforcement patrols’ are being planned across York in the coming months.

A blue badge should be handed back if:

  •   It has expired
  • The badge holder is no longer eligible to use one
  • It is a replacement for a badge lost or stolen and the original has since been found
  • The badge is so damaged or faded that the details are not clear
  • The badge holder has died

The blue badge scheme is for people with severe mobility problems.

Misuse impacts on the limited capacity of parking available for legitimate disabled users who have little or no choice about how they get about.

It is a problem across the UK and is thought to cost the country £46 million a year.  Someone found misusing a blue badge faces prosecution and a £1,000 fine.

In York, the council has taken people to court for illegally using badges.

In one case a woman was caught using her child’s badge to park when the child wasn’t in the vehicle with her.  Another case involved a man who used his dead uncle’s badge, which had expired, to park for free.  The expiry date was obscured by a pair of sunglasses.
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York gets mobile pothole camera

Cameras fitted to refuse collection vehicles will regularly monitor highways in York looking for potholes.

Despite the developers description of the system (see below) it remains unclear how the authority intends to address endemic problems with its current reporting systems.

Anyone reporting a pothole “on line” using the Councils web site, still don’t receive any feedback on progress made.

The camera system developers say, “A ‘pioneering’ project designed to help councils adopt a ‘smarter’ approach to highway repairs by identifying potential potholes, is to be extended and expanded.

Launched in February, the DfT funded ‘pothole-spotter’ trial has seen high-definition cameras, integrated navigation system and intelligent software installed on refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) in Thurrock.

Data from the trial is already being used to help inform the council’s road maintenance and repair strategy.

As a result of the initial success in Thurrock, the trial is now being rolled out in York and Wiltshire, with an expanding portfolio of vehicles and approaches to data capture.

Soenecs and Gaist, the two private-sector organisations leading the scheme, say the addition of buses and bikes will help capture a ‘rich and varied’ data set.

Dr David Greenfield, of Soenecs, said: “The new vehicles and routes will enable us to gather significantly more data to assist in preventing potholes, whilst exploring road safety issues for more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists.”

The new pilot areas were selected for their unique characteristics. York has one of the highest number of cycle journeys in the country, in addition to high traffic volumes, particularly in the peak summer tourist season.

In Wiltshire, the data collected will be illustrative of a typical rural area with large volumes of heavy agricultural traffic.

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways and waste, at Wiltshire Council, said: “As we continue to invest over £20m a year in highways to get rid of a historic backlog of maintenance, we look ahead to find new ways of avoiding potholes and other defects on our roads.

“We have a good track record of innovation in Wiltshire, and I’m delighted we can help with this trial. I look forward to sharing how it worked with colleagues in other local authorities.”

All the vehicles deployed for the project will frequently survey the same stretch of road to create a detailed data bank illustrating the development of road problems over a much shorter time frame than has previously been possible”.

Scarborough Bridge cycle/footpath redesign: consultation starts

To help provide better accessibility, connectivity & more capacity, the council is consulting with residents, commuters and visitors on the construction of a new shared use bridge over the River Ouse.

The idea of such a link was first floated over 10 years ago so any progress is likely to be welcomed in the City

The new bridge will replace the current crossing adjacent to Scarborough Bridge, providing a much wider and accessible facility. The current narrow crossing is used by over 2,600 pedestrians and 600 cyclists on average each day. This is despite it having steep steps and being inaccessible for people with mobility issues.

The new bridge will be suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs and those with mobility issues. It will include ramps, as well as stepped access so that a wider range of users are catered for. Furthermore, the new bridge will be accessible during flood events, which the current footbridge is not.

Executive member for transport and planning, Cllr Ian Gillies, said: “This is a great opportunity for York to improve a key  route linking several important sites across the city. I hope residents and visitors will be forthcoming with their views about the new bridge so that we can ensure that it is suitable for the many people that I am sure will be using it in the future.”

This new bridge will provide a traffic-free, scenic and direct link for residents, commuters and tourists, on foot or bike, between York station, the city centre and residential suburbs located on the opposite side of the river.

This will also improve the connectivity of the National Cycle Network (routes 65 and 658) as well as providing an improved traffic-free route to the York Central site to the west of the station.

People will be able to view the plans and discuss this proposal with the project manager at an exhibition in the York Train Station foyer from 1pm – 6pm on Wednesday 12 July, and 8am – 1pm on Thursday 13 July.

Have your say by sending your comments to scarboroughbridge@york.gov.uk or post to: Scarborough Bridge Consultation, City of York Council, Transport Projects, Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York YO10 3DS.

The council, in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme and Network Rail are undertaking the consultation. All feedback will be carefully considered and included in a report to the executive member for transport and planning for a decision on how to proceed later in the summer.

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

Latest Local Plan forecasts 20% growth in size of York by 2032

Papers published for a meeting taking place on 13th July say that an additional 19,000 homes should be built in the City before 2032.

Of the target of 953 dwellings per year, around 80 per annum (10%) have been added in order to make housing more “affordable”.

The papers are coy about where the additional 35,000 residents will come from.

Previous drafts have identified immigration as the main source of new labour, although this seems to be in conflict with the present governments polices. Around 2000 inward migrants have arrived in the City in each of the last five years.

A map of the proposed land allocations can be viewed by clicking here

Proposed land allocations – click to access

Hopes that the identification of more building land at threatened MOD sites (Fulford Road and Strensall) would reduce the pressure to build on green fields sites, like the Lowfields playing fields, have been dashed. Officials are recommending that the additional 1392 homes that could be built there over the next 15 years will simply add to the target housing  completion rate (satisfying the increased annual building target of 953 homes per year).

Average housing building rates in York have been about 700 pa over the last 5 years, although last year over 1100 homes were completed. Most homes built in York over the last decade have been erected on what are known, to the planng world, as “windfall sites”; meaning they were not identified as housing development land in local plans.

House prices and building rates

There are currently 3758 planning permissions for homes which remain unimplemented.

The Local Plan remains vague about how growth of the order proposed can be accommodated without serious -and very costly – improvements in infrastructure (notably, transport and healthcare).

Westfield

The new proposals have little direct impact for the Westfield area. None of the land between the existing built u-p area and the northern by pass is slated for development.

However officials have changed the proposals for the development of the playing fields at Lowfields. They are incorporating the plans favoured by some Councillors which would see the number of dwellings built increased from 137 to 162.

There were 10 objections to development of the Lowfields playing field (including Sport England) while only 3 representations were made in support of the Councils plans.

Extract from Council report covering Lowfields devlopment

 

 

 

Parking by phone – Major changes in York but little warning

RingGo – click to access

The York Council has been criticised by users of the Pay by Phone car parking system for giving only 48 hours notice of a change in contractor.

The move means that users may have to re-register their phones with the new provider RingGo.

It takes about 15 minutes to set up the new RingGo app. The numeric car park identifiers are also being changed.

32 RingGo parking sites in York are listed on their web site.

No explanation for the change has been offered by the Council and it remains unclear who, for what reason and at what cost the change has been made.

The previous “Pay by phone” contractor was widely praised for the ease of use of its mobile phone “app” The system was introduced in the last decade as a way of eliminating the need for drivers to have change for the ticket cash machines. Cashless transactions are generally cheaper for the Council to administer and have lower security risks.

 In a statement issued yesterday the York Council said,
motorists who use their mobile phone to pay for car parking in York are being warned about changes which may affect them from this Saturday (1 July).

From the weekend, the service will be provided by a new company – called RingGo.

It may mean some drivers will need to download a new app to their phone or dial a different number to pay for their parking.

New location codes are also being introduced, but these are being clearly displayed on signage in all car parks where the service is available.

Nine car parks and two coach parking areas are covered by RingGo.

Beyond that, there are no other changes and there will still be no need for motorists to scrabble around to find loose change for a ticket machine.

Minster badge holders will continue to receive a discount in all car parks apart from the one at Foss Bank.

Pay-by-phone has been running in York for several years and with drivers appreciating how easy it is to park with a credit or debit card and just a mobile phone.

Users of the old service must ensure they register with RingGo.  The process only takes a few minutes and can be completed by phone or online.

Instructions, and more information about parking-by-phone is available on the council’s website: york.gov.uk/PayParkingByPhone
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York Council investment programme slips

A Council report shows an out-turn of £35.751m on the Council capital investment budget compared to an approved budget of £52.428, an overall variation of £16.677m.

Community stadium start slips

The biggest slippage (£3.5 million) was on the York Central project although there were also delays in other areas including school maintenance, housing construction, the Glen Lodge extension, waste disposal, IT development and upgrades to buses.

The report shows that expenditure on the Community Stadium has also slipped again with the bulk of the work now expected in 2018/19. In total, the Council will spend £36 million on this project although this figure does not include the substantial sums spent to date or the (privately funded) commercial elements of the project.

The report goes on to say;

Mansion House cost up by £150,000

  • that the Mansion House restoration scheme has an outturn position of £1.031m in 2016/17, requiring re-profiling of £515k of funds from 2017/18 into 2016/17. The work is now expected to be completed in August 2017.  The report goes on to say that “as the works contract has progressed a number of areas of additional work have been identified as necessary to safeguard the future of the Mansion House, these essential restoration works will cost an additional £150”.
  • the Tenants Choice programme saw 120 properties have their kitchens, bathrooms and wiring updated through the year. This is significantly lower than the 220 properties that were planned. This is due to problems with tenants refusing works, delays due to damp problems and delays with kitchen deliveries. The scheme under spent by £416k in 2016/17
  • the proposed developments at Newbury Avenue and Chaloners Road have also been delayed. The development now proposed is for 5-6 bungalows and “will be submitted for planning approval in July”. The development of homes at Chaloners Road was postponed when the developer withdrew from the contract. A revised scheme will be submitted for planning approval in late summer 2017
A summary of the Councils £1/4 billion investment plans can be found below

Changes made to Thanet Road highway plans

The responsible Council executive member – Ian Gillies – has today thrown out plans which would have  seen use of the bus lay-bys on Thanet Road discontinued.

The plan to close the lay-by on the Rugby Club side of the road caused major concerns with drivers fearing that sight lines would be impeded by  buses parked on the highways.

There were also fears that traffic congestion would increase as would pollution levels.

The proposal was opposed by officers of the Foxwood Residents Association who argued that the plans were “over engineered” and unnecessarily expensive.

An alternative, which would have kept the  bus lay-bys together with an advisory 20 mph speed limit and guard rails to prevent children running onto the highway, was tabled by local residents.

The bus lay-bys have now been saved but additional road humps are to be installed, despite the fact that the Council has now admitted that average speeds are well below the 30 mph limit.

The Residents Association has asked that they be consulted early on when proposals like these are considered in future.

 

New Puffin crossing planned for Tadcaster Road/St Helens Road junction

As part of a plan to upgrade the traffic signals at the St Helens Road junction a new Puffin pedestrian crossing facility is to be provided on the north side of the junction.

Full details are contained in this report

The report says,

“The replacement of the existing island has been proposed because the island is too narrow. It falls below minimum design guidance in terms of its overall width and the distance of its guard rails from the carriageway.

The substandard width results in difficulty for pedestrians in using the facility, especially those with prams and wheelchairs.

The substandard distance of the guardrail to the carriageway has resulted in vehicle strikes which in turn creates a maintenance liability.

The addition of a third pedestrian crossing on the north arm of the junction constitutes as ‘easy win’, in that it provides a desirable pedestrian facility without any significant detriment to the functioning of the junction.

There is no significant change to vehicular delays, queues, Practical Reserve Capacity or congestion.

Introduction of an additional pedestrian crossing on the north arm of the junction is a significant improvement for pedestrians as it serves a desire line accessing the inbound bus stop and Cross Keys public house.

The same meeting will also consider changes to traffic signals and junction layouts at George Hudson Street and East Parade in Heworth

 

Coppergate ANPR fines upward trend

The Council seems to be struggling to keep up to date its records of fines imposed following the reintroduction of spy camera enforcement of the access restrictions on Coppergate.

Figures released, covering the period to the end of April, confirm an upward trend.

With the peak tourist season approaching, that trend is expected to continue