Westminster Road to stay open

The Council has decided not to close Westminster Road to through traffic.

There were no public speakers at a decision meeting earlier this week and local Councillors appear to have dropped their support for the closure.

Evidence suggests that evening traffic levels on the road are higher than when the controversial cycle lane was in operation at Clifton Green traffic lights.

Traffic in the Clifton Green area is likely to increase significantly when the closure of Lendal Bridge is introduced in August.

Record number of speeders caught in York area. 280 offenders trigger cameras in one week. A1237 and Beckfield Lane are major problem areas.

The largest total of speeders ever to be caught by mobile speed cameras in York were recorded last week (9th – 15th June)

A total of 280 offences were recorded. Of these 250 drivers were invited to attend speed awareness courses although 30 faced more severe penalties.

Once again the road with the worst record was the A1237 near Monks Cross where 62 offenders were identified.

Other roads with a poor record included Beckfield Lane (44), York Road Haxby (32), Strensall Road Huntington (30) and Towthorpe Road Haxby.

The full details can be found by clicking here

North Yorkshire Police mobile safety camera routes 19 to 25 June 2013

Below are enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 19 June 2013.

Beckfield Lane Acomb York

• Main Street Askham Richard

• Millfield lane Poppleton York

• Tadcaster Road Dringhouses York

• Temple Lane Copmanthorpe York

• Greenshaw Drive Haxby

• Towthorpe Road Haxby

• York Road Haxby York

• Church Lane Wheldrake
• Grange Farm, Wheldrake Lane, Elvington
• Malton Road York
• Murton Way Murton York
• Strensall Road Huntington York
• The village Stockton-on-the-Forest York

Fears for 24 bus service prompt calls for improvements in Westfield

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Some bus passengers are concerned that the recently revised number 24 bus service may be in jeopardy. The service is currently subsidised by the York Council.

At present it provides the only convenient link between the, largely elderly, community living in the Windsor Garth area and vital services many of which are located on Front Street in Acomb village.

The 24 route –which follows a one way loop via St Stephens Road, Cornlands Road and Askham Lane to the old village – takes longer than the old service. However its loss would be a major blow for a large number of older people.

We understand that First and the Council plan to introduce new routes in September.

We have written, urging them to route the number 5 service down Front Street. This would provide a useful link to the many public services which there are in the old village (doctor’s surgeries, chemists, dentists, the library and the post office amongst others).

We have also asked the company to look again at its timing points (termini) where buses “park up” prior to commencing new journeys.

Several of the existing timing points – particularly those on Foxwood Lane – have been criticised for causing congestion and adversely affecting road safety.

York Council shows £2 million shortfall in transport investment

Park and ride buses

A meeting on Thursday will be told that the York Council invested only £4.5 million of its £6.8 million transport budget during the last financial year.

This represents the worst percentage outturn performance for over a decade and will be a major embarrassment to a Council which is currently seeking additional transport funding to address congestion concerns on the A1237 and elsewhere in the City.

The credibility of the Labour Council’s “priority programme” Get York Moving has also been damaged by the performance.

Most of the shortfall came on projects to provide new park and ride sites and improve bus services in the City.

It means that the completion date for these schemes will slip by at least 12 months.

£395,000 was budgeted to be spent on schemes aimed at improving road safety. Only £202,000 of the budget was spent. Most of it went on a 20 mph speed limit scheme in the Bishopthorpe Road area.

On parking, the report says that “implementation of the ‘pay on exit’ car parking scheme at Marygate car park was delayed as the scheme that was initially proposed (using ANPR cameras) could not be progressed due to recent changes in legislation. It is now proposed to install barriers and new ticket machines at Marygate car park to replace the existing ‘pay and display’ system in 2013/14, which should be operational in late 2013”.

The scheme will cost £100,000 to implement amidst concerns that maintenance of the equipment could cost more than any additional revenue generated by the system

NB. The Council recently had to admit that its plans to provide new homes for the elderly were also running 3 years behind schedule.

New accident numbers and speed checks wreck case for 20 mph speed limit in York

The Council has responded to a Freedom of Information request on accident levels – and recorded vehicle speeds – in the west of York.

This is the district in which it is proposed a wide area 20 mph speed limit will be imposed.

Residents have only got until 21st June to record a formal objection to the plan. This can be done by Emailing highway.regulation@york.gov.uk or 20mph@york.gov.uk

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The main argument, used by some Labour Councillors to justify the £600,000 project, is that it will reduce the number of road traffic accidents (RTAs) in the area.

The new figures made available by the Council undermine this claim

The roads with the worst accident records in west York are Tadcaster Road, Boroughbridge Road and Holgate Road

In the last 5 years there have been 383 RTA’s in the area (broadly the Acomb, Westfield, Holgate and Dringhouses wards).

Of these the vast majority (339) have been “slight”. Slight means no or only minor injuries were sustained

There were no accidents at all on the majority of roads which the Council proposes to implement a 20 mph speed limit.

No – current – vehicle speed information is available either and they are excluded from the tables (left)

Of the accidents recorded, 335 (87%) occurred on roads where there are no plans to lower the speed limit.

This is not surprising as these are the main arterial routes which are heavily trafficked and where there are potential conflicts at road junctions. Of these accidents, 2 were fatal (both on Holgate Road) 33 serious (6 on Tadcaster Road) and 300 slight.

Only 13% of accidents occurred on roads where it is now proposed to reduce the speed limit. Of the 48 accidents there was one fatality (on Cranbrook Avenue), 8 serious accidents and 39 slight.

Significantly, 95 accidents occurred during this period on roads which already have a 20 mph speed limit (enforced by road humps.) Of these, 9 were classified as “serious”

Average vehicle speeds on roads which may get a 20 mph limit are already low.

The highest was 31 mph recorded on Tudor Road. This reflects the speed that 85% of drivers travel at, or below, when using the road.

More typically the range for the planned 20 mph streets was between 15 mph and 25 mph.

The lowest recorded speed was on Ganton Place (13 mph) although this is a speed typical of many short cul de sacs.

The top recorded speeds were on Tadcaster Road (79 mph), Wetherby Road E (71), Carr Lane (66) and Front Street (66). However the recording devices cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so the figures would include any emergency vehicles responding to calls.

The inescapable conclusion therefore is that the Council is focusing its safety budget on roads where there is little or no accident risk.

Those roads where high speeds may be an issue may already be getting less attention.

Accidents can occur anywhere at any time. The fact that a large proportion of serious accidents are concentrated at particular locations has allowed the Council, in the past, to concentrate its limited resources on addressing the main causes of these accidents.

Often vehicle speeds will not be a major factor affecting accident rates in residential areas. Vehicles reversing into street furniture are an example of an accident where a speed limit has no influence. Similarly a cyclist colliding with a pedestrian is unlikely to be caused by an excessive speed.

The Council should abandon its wide area 20 mph speed limit project and focus resources on roads with high accident rates and/or where there is evidence of drivers systematically ignoring the existing speed limits.

NB. There are currently around 65 KSI accidents occurring in York each year. Of these, less than 20% occurred in west York. Most happen on trunk roads and in the City centre.

Road closure threatens Water Lane traffic flow

A meeting on 20th June is to look again at a permanent road closure on Westminster Road.

Residents in the street have campaigned for over 6 years for through traffic to be banned from using it (and The Avenue) as a short cut to avoid the Water End traffic lights. Now a 79 signature petition is due for consideration.

“Rat run” traffic levels on Westminster Road have always been well below the numbers seen on similar routes and the street has road calming “sleeping policemen” to control vehicles speeds

Westminster Road may be closed to traffic

Westminster Road may be closed to traffic

Part of the problem has been traced to parents dropping off children at the school on The Avenue. Around 30% of vehicles are making this trip between 8:15am and 8:45am.

Recent traffic patterns have been disrupted and trends are difficult to track.

Initially improvements to the A19/A1237 roundabout at Rawcliffe provide some relief to the Water End junction and later 2 approach lanes to the traffic lights were restored. Road works on Boroughbridge Road (and more recently at the A59/A1237 junction) have continued and may be deterring drivers from using this sector of the City.

Council officials report that morning traffic levels on Westminster Road have fallen recently although an increase in the evening peak has been noted.

Closure of the route could increase traffic on the Water Lane junction by 10% but the major influence is likely to be the Councils plan to close Lendal bridge to private traffic from August.

There is no doubt that this would increase traffic in the Clifton Green area, with particular problems building between 4:00pm and 5:00pm.

The Council has so far refused to publish details of the forecast traffic levels on York’s river bridges pre and post the Lendal bridge closure.

Officials are recommending that no road closure on Westminster Road be agreed.

York residents on consultation overload


After 2 years with virtually no consultation with residents, York is heading towards an overdose this month.

The latest is asking about how the City centre should look and be preserved.

Other consultations taking place at present include:

20 mph city wide speed limit. Deadline for receipt of objections 21st June 2013 www.york20mph.org Alternative view

Local Plan & the Green Belt — Deadline 31st July. www.york.gov.uk/local plan Alternative view

New ward boundaries (Boundary Commission). Deadline 5th August http://tinyurl.com/Wards-June-2013 Alternative view:

The new consultation talks about the importance of having a “fully accessible” City. The consultation runs for eight-weeks until Wednesday 31 July.


20 mph “consultation” leaflets – further criticisms

Council 20 mph letter

All residents in West York should have received a consultation leaflet on plans for a wide area 20 mph speed limit. They came in a plastic envelope with a leaflet about the Local Plan (about which more later this week) and “Local Link”.

Anyone who has propelled the”pack” in the general direction of the recycling bin may get another by telephoning the Council on York 551550.

The leaflet, after a few ritual attempts to blame the government for introducing 20 mph limits (actually it is entirely up to local Councils to decide), tells residents that they have until 21st June to “object” to the new limits.

The implication is that, if you don’t record an objection, then you must favour the new limit. Inertia and barriers to responses (they require written submissions) aren’t the only problems with the councils approach.

The leaflets are singularly short on facts.

• First and most obviously there is no mention of the £600,000 cost of the project.

• Secondly the Council are not making available the results of the speed checks that they have undertaken on many of the roads in the area. (We know most cul de sacs not surprisingly already have very low average speeds)

• And finally there is no information about accident levels (again we know that accident rates on the roads that may get a 20 mph limit are much lower than for other roads in and around the City).

We advise everyone to Email 20mph@york.gov.uk and register a formal objection to “The York Speed Limit (amendment) (No 11/4) Order 2013”.

Below are some reasons that could be quoted in support of an objection.

1. The west of York has generally got a good road safety record and already has 20 mph speed limits at appropriate locations (e.g. outside schools).

2. Average speeds, in most of the roads to be covered by the 20 mph limit, are already below 30 mph and the Council’s claim, that the new signs would reduce speeds by 3 mph, would therefore make little practical difference.

3. Accident rates in York (Killed and Seriously Injured casualties – KSI) have reduced dramatically over the last 6 years. Available resources should be focused on continuing the Councils successful accident prevention programme which is partly responsible for this improvement.

4. The impact of 20 mph speed limits on accident rates is not yet fully understood. In some City’s, such as Portsmouth, the introduction of a wide area 20 mph speed limit has led to an increase in the number of KSI accidents.

5. The Police have said that they do not have the resources to enforce a wide area 20 mph speed limit. The Police and Crime Commissioner has confirmed that mobile safety camera vans will not be used to enforce such a limit. It follows that drivers will continue to drive at a speed that they consider appropriate for the conditions on a particular day.

6. Police speed limit enforcement resources should continue to be focused at accident black spots.

Is Davygate bollard an asset?

The Council have installed two cast iron bollards at the end of Davygate. No vehicular access is now permitted into Davygate during the – recently extended – pedestrian hours.

The robust bollards require two men to lift them into place.



Not Davygate

Not Davygate

They are apparently modelled on the ironwork used to discourage Panzer tank attacks in the Second World War. (They have been remarkably successful as we understand that not a single King Tiger has managed to get as far as New Street during the first 3 days of this week).

Unfortunately the average Ford Fiesta can still find its way into the area with some ease. The bollards have been placed too far apart to stop the average family car.

Apparently the reason for this is that the horse and carriage – which transports visitors through this part of the City – must be allowed to pass unhindered.

At the Parliament Street end of Davygate the predestrian area ends.

There is still disabled parking provision in St Sampson’s Square.

Unfortunately there is no indication of the end of the pedestrian zone so pedestrians (and horses) may have a false sense of security!