New restrictions for vehicles on Micklegate to be introduced from 10 December

Micklegate Bar

City of York Council is introducing new restrictions on Micklegate from Monday 10 December, to prevent vehicles travelling outbound from the city and reduce the impact of traffic on the historic bar walls.

A statement from the York Council says,

“A call for the outbound closure of Micklegate Bar was debated by councillors at a Full Council meeting on 19 July. Following this, a report was taken to a transport and planning decision session meeting on 13 September, to take these proposals forward.

This has paved way for an experimental Traffic Regulation order (TRO) to be introduced for a maximum of 18 months, during which time the changes could become permanent.

The TRO will help determine the benefits of restricting vehicles in Micklegate and will allow the local community and businesses the opportunity to experience the changes before making representations.

During this 18 month period, there will be an outbound road closure only (cycle access will be available in both directions). This means the road will be open to inbound traffic through Micklegate Bar from Blossom Street/Nunnery Lane/Queen Street.

Signage will be installed at Micklegate Bar, with temporary information signs placed on all approaches”.

During the debate on the plan concerns were expressed about increased traffic congestion on alternative routes. Some traders feared a reduction in “drop in” trade.

The Council has also announced major road works on the alternative inner ring road route which passes the railway station. It is expected that the Queen Street bridge will be demolished as part of that programme of works.

For more information about the scheme, a report from the decision session on Thursday 13 September can be read at: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=738&MId=10859 “

Wow, this isn’t good!

York station train services amongst most unreliable in country.

According to the web site https://www.ontimetrains.co.uk train service reliability in York ranks at 2521 out of 2605 stations in the country.

Amongst eye catching stats on the site is the revelation that, during the last 12 weeks, only 4% of the morning peak journeys from York to Manchester Airport left and arrived on time.  A significant proportion of passengers have been eligible for compensation

The Tory transport minister Chris Grayling has been heavily criticised in the region for presiding over a series of timetabling blunders.

These have been exacerbated by the industrial action taken by one of the rail unions.

Local rail services are slightly more reliable at weekends. Most delays occur during the working day.

16% of journeys are delayed by 10 minutes or more.

3% have been cancelled altogether.

Some passengers have experienced very long delays

York Station front – 1,500 public consultation responses

Councillors will receive an update on the York Station front project and be asked to approve the submission of a planning application and the progression of the scheme to detailed design when they meet on Thursday 29 November.

The York Station front project aims to revitalise and re-imagine the historic station to ensure it is a fitting and prestigious gateway into York.

The project has had significant public interest, with nearly 1,500 responses during the extensive public consultation. This has lead to design changes for Executive to now consider.   Permission to enter into land acquisition negotiations with stakeholders and landowners is also requested.

York Station consultation leaflet

The York Station front masterplan has four main aims:

  • create new public spaces and a more inclusive, pedestrian-friendly experience
  • create an improved setting for the City Walls and other heritage buildings in the area
  • make it easier to change between modes of transport
  • keep vehicles and pedestrians apart

If approved, it is proposed that the planning application based on the amended masterplan will be submitted soon after.

Changes to the masterplan following the consultation include:

  • Moving the cycleway on Queen Street to reduce conflict with on street parking spaces
  • Providing safe access for cyclists to the station from the west-bound carriageway
  • Provision for a suitable system for managing rail replacement buses
  • Incorporating appropriate counter-terrorism measures that are sympathetic to the station setting

The station masterplan is based on eight key features which work together to improve how the space is used in front of York Station. It is dependent on removing Queen Street Bridge to create extra space, which would then be used to separate vehicle and pedestrian access, create new open areas and reveal long-hidden views of the City Walls.

Executive takes place on Thursday 29 November from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online 

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Petition calls for Kingsway area road improvements

Andrew Waller who is backing the petition

A petition has been handed to the York Council demanding that roads in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way area be improved before there is any additional development in the area.

At the moment the only access to the estate – which contains over 600 homes – is via the section of Kingsway West lying between Danesfort Avenue and Ascot Way.

Residents point to congestion problems for buses, emergency vehicles, bin wagons and delivery lorries.

The numbers of off-street parking spaces has been criticised. Residents feel this will get worse following a decision to demolish garages on Newbury Avenue.

The petition was prompted by an announcement that the Lincoln Court sheltered housing building would be expanded. In addition, the adjacent Windsor Hose site will become a centre of excellence for disabled children.

The principal route into both  these developments would be along Kingsway West and Ascot Way.

Campaigners have called for a service road access to be created from the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school site where many of the disabled children spend their school hours.

The future of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West is also under threat as officials are understood have targeted it for use as a building compound

The petition reads;

“We the undersigned request the York Council to undertake the following improvements prior to any further building work starting in the Hob Moor area

  1. Improve the access road along Kingsway West/Ascot Way, removing, where necessary, the grass verge
  2. Provide dropped kerbs or lay-by parking where this doesn’t already exist
  3. Provide alternative, modern, children’s play facilities before any existing provision is removed”.

The petition is being backed by local Councillor Andrew Waller.

The planning applications are expected to be considered by the Council at a Planning Sub Committee  meeting taking place on 6th December starting at 4:30pm

York tech companies invited to supply £2.85m project

The city’s tech companies are being urged not to miss the opportunity to supply City of York Council on a ground-breaking £2.85m project to change the way the city manages traffic.

We want to hear from companies that supply high quality IT infrastructure, transport technology, data collection/processing or have an expertise in data visualisation and presentation to join our Smart Transport Evolution Project (STEP). STEP is a £2.85m project funded by the Department for Transport which looks how digital technology can improve travel.

Companies are being invited to an event on Friday 23 November at the National Railway Museum where we will be running two sessions. Spaces are limited so people are urged to sign up in advance. During these people will be given a short walk through of the STEP project, an opportunity to meet the project team to Explore how your service or product could develop the project and to meet other companies in the supply chain.

This DfT funded project will change the way York and potentilly all historic cities manage traffic, relieving congestion and reducing emissions in York and potentially across the globe. To learn more, visit https://www.york.gov.uk/smart

For more information or to register visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digital-tech-supplier-event-for-step-a-285m-project-in-york-tickets-51580813602

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Wetherby Road traffic speed petition handed to Council

Cllr Andrew Waller has today handed a petition to the City of York Council asking them to address speeding concerns on Wetherby Road.

The move comes only a few days before work at the nearby roundabout junction with the A1237 is due to reach its final stages. Residents are concerned that the easier access to and from the roundabout will result in higher speeds in the built-up area.

About twelve months ago a flashing speed warning sign was removed form the road. The petition calls for it to be reinstated and the Police mobile camera van to pay occasional visits to the street.

When the flashing sign was working around 39% of passing vehicles trigger it, suggesting that there was already a speeding issue on the road.

Some residents have suggested that any new sign should display the actual speed of the passing vehicle. This type of sign has proved to be effective in neighbouring counties in reinforcing the speeding message to motorist.

The petition will now be considered by the Council prior to a report and recommendations for action being published.

Wetherby Road roundabout – final resurfacing works due to start next week

Work on Wetherby Road roundabout proceding on schedule

The final stage of the Wetherby Road roundabout upgrade, the first of seven to be upgraded, will begin on Monday 19 November when overnight road surfacing works take place.

To keep disruption to a minimum work will take place overnight from 8pm-6am. The work is scheduled to take ten nights, from 19 – 28 November  including Saturday and Sunday

In order to carry out the works safely the use of a temporary road closure on the A1237 from the roundabout at A59 to the roundabout at Askham Lane and the closure of Wetherby Road from the junction of Beckfield Lane to the junction of Grange Lane will be necessary whilst works are taking place. The road will remain open as normal outside the above hours.

Clearly signed diversion routes will be set out for traffic. The closure is to ensure that health and safety is maintained for everyone.Site staff will be on hand to advise and assist residents about the access restrictions once the works are ongoing.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in any situation, however, cyclists will be subject to the same traffic management as other vehicular road users.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience to the public, however we will try at all times to keep this to a minimum.

There may be further works following on from this period but these will be carried out under lane closures and temporary signals with the A1237 and Wetherby Road remaining open.

When the roundabout is completed it will be the first of seven to receive three lane entrances and two lane exits as part of a £38m scheme to reduce congestion on the York Outer Ring Road.

The York Outer Ring Road improvements programme is being funded through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Regio

For more information about the York Outer Ring Road improvements visit www.york.gov.uk/yorr (more…)

Bad news for small car owners in York

5.2 metre long hybrid behemoths could get discounted parking in York 

The York Council looks set to end the discounts available for the owners of small cars who park in central York. The decision will mainly affect Respark districts although some car park season ticket holders also stand to lose their concession.

In March 2004 the then LibDem controlled City of York Council took the pioneering step of offering Respark permit holders, who drove small low emission vehicles, a substantial discount on their parking permit costs. It was the first scheme of its type in the country.

At the time the discount was aimed at maximising the number of vehicles which could be parked in ResPark areas.  Then, as now, demand for on street spaces exceeds their ability particularly in terraced areas.

|The “short car” initiative meant that maximising the use of vehicles like the 2.7-metre-long Smart car could allow everyone a space. They also had the advantage of being economical, low emission vehicles although it was several years later that central government started to encourage low emission cars by establishing vehicle excise duty bandings which favoured small cars.

The Council used the new bandings to offer discounts for owners who bought season tickets for the Councils off street car parks. Drivers of excise duty bands A and B received a 50% discount.

Small cars will lose their discount entitlement 

Now the Council, is set to reverse its policy on encouraging small cars. Instead they intend to offer discounts on ResPark permits (and parking season tickets) only to the users of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV). These are cars which emit less than 75g/km or less of CO2 per mile.

815 existing permit holders would be affected by the change.

In effect this means the only vehicles to benefit from a discount will be “all electric” and “plug in hybrid” models.

This is a step in the wrong direction at least as far as ResPark permits are concerned.

Many of the ULEV vehicles available are not “small”. They include models like the Mecedes S Class 500E which is over 5 metres long. The smallest is a VW e-UP (3.5 metres) which is all electric and has a range of 90 miles (probably less in the real world).

E-up would get a discount but must recharge every 90 miles

……and that is the second problem. These vehicles must be recharged after each journey. There are no kerbside charging points in ResPark areas at the moment and not likely to be in the foreseeable future.  Owners would have to drive to and from a public rapid charging point of which there are a limited number in central car parks.

The councils new plan – which will be discussed at a meeting taking place next Thursday –  is ill considered.

It seems designed only to increase the Council’s income from car parking charges. It mimics central governments excise duty decision which focus on a vehicles value rather than environmental impact.

It is estimated that the change could bring in around £140,000 a year extra for the civic coffers.

Vehicle speeds in York – Comprehensive stats released by police

The North Yorkshire Police have published updated statistics which reveal the speed of vehicles using roads in York. The figures have been derived from automatic equipment which has been deployed over the last 4 years. Usually the sites for the equipment have been selected following complaints raised by members of the public.

The stats are separate from those collected by the speed camera vans which are sometimes deployed in the area. The request for the data was partly prompted by a concern that the speed vans weren’t concentrating their time on roads with poor accident records.

250 roads have been checked in the York area during the last 4 years.

Information covering the results for the whole of North Yorkshire can be downloaded by clicking this link

The information for the monitoring equipment was routinely reported to a York Council meeting until 2015.  The process was centralised in North Yorkshire thereafter and largely fell out of the public gaze.

The published information shows the mean speed and the 85%tile speed recorded on each road. The latter figure is the speed that 85% of vehicles drive within. It is most commonly used by professionals to decide whether a road has a speeding problem. (Vehicles exceeding that limit could include emergency vehicles)

The stats also record the number of accidents – where speed is an issue – recorded on each road.

There are several conclusions which can be drawn from the data:

  1. A 30-mph speed limit is observed by most drivers using roads in the urban area
  2. 20 mph speed limits are not being observed although on those roads there have been no speed related accidents while mean speeds generally remain below 30 mph. The only monitored road with an 85% speed of less than a 20 mph limit was St Johns Walk
  3. The only roads where there have been speed related accidents, and where drivers were routinely exceeding the speed limit, were North Lane (Huntington), Jockey Lane (Huntington), Heworth Green, Intake Lane (Acaster Malbis) Osbaldwick link Road, York Road (Naburn) and Huntington Road (nr Cats Protection office). Accident prevention works have subsequently taken place at some of the these sites.
  4. Of the roads with speed issues in the York area, during the early autumn, the speed camera vans visited Millfield Lane (Poppleton), Strensall Road (Huntington), the Monks Cross link road,  Temple Lane (Copmanthorpe) and Tadcaster Road in Dringhouses. However, the vans  spent most of their time on the A64 and A59.

Overall the figures suggest that excessive speeding is not a problem on most monitored roads in the City.

Speed related accidents are also relatively low. In the City, since the beginning of 2017, there have been 5 serious injuries caused by speeding vehicles plus a further 13 accidents which were classified as “slight”.

The York Council would be wise to reintroduce a regular public monitor of the statistics and the action taken to reduce the possibility of accidents in the future.

They could usefully begin by reinstating the missing speed warning signs (VAS) on streets like Wetherby Road.

Night time closure of A1237 northern by pass and Wetherby Road starts on 19th November

Work on Wetherby Road roundabout  Overnight closures for 10 days 

City of York Council will be carrying out surfacing works at the above said location commencing on Monday 19th November 2018 for a period of 10 days including Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting).

The works will be carried out between 8.00pm – 6.00am. The roads will remain open as normal outside the above hours.

There will be further works following on from this period but these will be carried out under lane closures and temporary signals with the A1237 and Wetherby Rd remaining open.

In order to carry out the works safely the use of a temporary road closure on the A1237 from the roundabout at A59 to the roundabout at Askham Lane and the closure of Wetherby Road from the junction of Beckfield Lane to the junction of Grange Lane (rural) will be necessary whilst works are taking place.

See plan below for location of closed off area which is shown in red.

Outside of working hours the road will remain open as normal.

Clearly signed diversion routes will be set out for local and through traffic . The closure 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 the access restrictions once the works are ongoing. Your assistance will be much appreciated.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in any situation. Cyclists will be subject to the same traffic management as other road user vehicles.