So how much does the York Council expect to raise from Coppergate camera fines?

The York Council has published a list of contraventions of it’s revised ANPR camera enforced access restrictions on Coppergate.

To date, 82 Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) have been issued.

Some drivers have received warning letters for “first offences”

Potentially the PCNs might bring in around £35,000 in a full year – less if fines are paid promptly or appeals are successful.

However, we are only just entering the tourist season and we know from the Lendal Bridge debacle that many visitors to the City are vulnerable to these byzantine access regulations. York’s international reputation is once more on the line.

It seems unlikely that the Council will reach its budgeted income figure of £100,000 – unless of course it intends to roll out ANPR camera enforcement to other streets.

Administration costs for spy camera enforcement systems are high so it may be the taxpayer who eventually faces a hit.

York Council starts to upgrade traffic signals as controversial ANPR cameras set to be switched back on.

anpr cameraThe York Council has confirmed that it will reactivate its spy cameras, which are still located on Coppergate, next Monday (9th).

The cameras were hugely unpopular when introduced by Labour in 2013.

The Council now says, “Traffic restrictions will come into force on Coppergate from Monday 9 January after being advertised in the immediate area and on all approach roads across the city throughout December and January.

To ensure drivers are aware of the change to the restrictions the Executive, on 13 October 2016, approved the phased implementation of enforcement.  Drivers who wrongly enter the street in the first two weeks of the restriction being enforced by the ANPR cameras will be sent a warning letter to inform them of the restriction.

Following this grace period drivers who use the route during the restricted period for the first six months will be issued with a warning letter for the first offence. If further offences occur, and for all offences after the first six months of the restriction, the driver will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). The number of letters and PCNs issued will be published on the council’s website after three months of operation and updated monthly following then for the first year of enforcement.

At the start of December temporary signs were placed around the city centre and all the approach roads to Coppergate to advise drivers that the Coppergate Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) will come into force on 9 January. In addition to the advance warning signs permanent street name signs and advance information signs have been put in place. Enforcement will be by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960s. The council’s Executive has approved the reintroduction of ANPR cameras to enforce the restrictions. The TRO provides the details of the restrictions to be in place every day from 8am and 6pm.

Within the 8am to 6pm period the restrictions for motor vehicles will be:

· 8am to 10am buses and permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) only

· 10am to 4pm buses, permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) and loading/unloading only

· 4pm to 6pm buses and permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) only

The reinstatement of the revised TRO was agreed by City of York Council’s Executive on Thursday 13 October 2016. The scheme is fully compliant with the new 2016 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions that came into force in April 2016”.

For more information about the restrictions, signage and ANPR enforcement visit www.york.gov.uk/coppergate

For more information about travelling in and around York visit www.itravelyork.info

How it went last time they switched on the cameras. Many of those fined were tourists who did not understand the restrictions

How it went last time they switched on the cameras. Many of those fined were tourists who did not understand the restrictions

New traffic lights

Traffic lights will be moderdenised

Traffic lights will be modernised

Potentially less controversial is a programme which will see traffic light installations modernised across the City.

Ageing traffic signals on key city centre junctions including George Hudson Street/Micklegate and Skeldergate/Micklegate/North Street are set for a complete overhaul – as part of the largest scheme the city has seen in over 20-years.

Cllr Ian Gillies, executive member of transport and planning, said: “We’ve listened to residents and recognise that our traffic signals are not as reliable as they could be.  Investing now will help to bring our systems into the 21st century, saving vital time spent otherwise on repairs and maintenance and more importantly saving money from the public purse.

“By investing in the basics now, it will help to keep York’s roads moving, improving journey reliability and the overall driving and commuter experience in York for future years.”

The last major overhaul of York’s traffic signals was in the mid 1990s with the introduction of the city’s new Urban Traffic Control system (UTC), which controls the city’s transport network.

Over the years, the priority has been to repair immediate maintenance issues, to ensure that the safety and general reliability of the city’s signals requirements are met.

As such, signals have only been replaced on an ad-hoc basis as isolated schemes, or as part of larger improvement projects, such as the works on Boroughbridge Road for the Poppleton Bar Park & Ride service. However, a detailed ‘condition survey’ which inspected the age and condition of every traffic signal in the city found some to be in poor or end of life condition.

Approximately half of the 122 traffic signals and pedestrian crossings in the city will be replaced over a five-year rolling programme with modern equipment.

Work has already been undertaken at many traffic signal sites across the city, including Monkgate pedestrian crossing and Clifton Moorgate/Wigginton Road traffic signals.

The rollout at these key routes will help to further address the backlog of maintenance and ensure the signals continue to operate at the level required.

Works to install new traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals at the junction of George Hudson Street and  Micklegate will start at the end of January through to March.

Further works are then set to take place at the junction of Micklegate/North Street/Skeldergate between March and April. This will include new low level cycle signals on North Street and Skeldergate to provide cyclists with early starts so they can get ahead of the traffic on the well used National Cycle Network Route 65.

Temporary signals will be installed along these routes whilst the old signals are taken down. Footways may also be closed to allow for the cables/ducting to be installed. It’s expected that this part of the scheme will be completed by early April.

The total replacement programme will cost £2.620m over six years and will be funded through the capital programme budget and the existing Local Transport Plan budget.

Dynniq was awarded a single contract for the traffic signals renewals programme work last year.

For more information about the works visit: www.itravelyork.info/

 

Coppergate spy cameras set to return

anpr cameraThe York Council have issued a statement saying that their Executive will be asked to approve an amended Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for Coppergate at a meeting on 13 October “in a bid to help reduce congestion in the area and improve York’s bus services”.

There is no congestion in the Coppergate area for most of the day and the York Council refuses to publish bus reliability information – so there is no way of knowing how it might be affected by any “congestion”

The council’s Executive gave approval in June to advertise a TRO to provide bus priority in Coppergate that could be enforced using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The aim of the TRO is to help improve York’s bus services by reducing congestion in the Coppergate area.

Due to the prominent location of Coppergate it was decided to advertise the TRO for six weeks rather than the statutory three week period. Eleven representations were made during this period with the finalised TRO taking into account comments received from the emergency services to help them better serve the community.

The draft Traffic Regulation Order provides the details of the restrictions to be in place every day from 8am and 6pm.

In summary within the 8am to 6pm period the restrictions for motor vehicles will be:

· 8am to 10am buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

· 10am to 4pm buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and loading only

· 4pm to 6pm buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

If the amended TRO is approved Executive will also be asked to approve enhanced signage to alert motorists of the TRO ahead of and during implementation. Options for the increased warning signs include

· temporary advance warning notices at 28 locations across the city

· permanent advance warning signs at five locations

· carriageway surfacing and markings at either end of Coppergate

Alongside this there will also be a grace period where drivers will be sent a warning letter during the first two weeks of the scheme. After this a first offence warning letter will be issued to motorists for the following six month period.

If Executive approve the recommendations it is proposed that the scheme will be in place from early  2017.

Executive takes place on Thursday 13 October from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public

Click to read the report.

Contractor was paid £238,000 to help enforce York traffic and parking restrictions

Lendal Bridge closure Nov 2013The York Council has paid a private company over £1/4 million over the last two years to help to enforce traffic regulations in York.

The Bristol based  ICES company specialises in IT software solutions and helped to administer the ill fated Lendal Bridge & Coppergate road closures in 2013.  Files  registered with Companies House reveal that the ICES made a profit of over £778,000 in 2015.

A different company is responsible for supplying and maintaining the four bus lane (ANPR) cameras which are still located in the City.

The York Council has not revealed the net costs of the Lendal Bridge fiasco although it is believed that a large number of motorists, who  were entitled to a refund, never actually claimed their money back.

The Council is currently consulting on plans to switch the ANPR cameras on Coppergate back on.

New traffic restrictions set for Coppergate – a chance to object as spy cameras set to return to York.

Little sign of traffic congestion on Coppergate!

Little sign of traffic congestion on Coppergate!

Traffic restrictions are set to be reintroduced on one of York’s key public transport routes.

A new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to create a bus lane for Coppergate will be advertised this week allowing people to see the technical traffic regulations for the new restrictions. The TRO is a statutory public notice which allows people to comment on the technical Order.

New restrictions – enforced by spy cameras – were introduced in 2013 by the then Labour controlled Council – prompting 2 years of controversy and, eventually, leading to a climb down by the Local Authority when it was told it had acted unlawfully.

Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960s. The council’s Executive has approved the reintroduction of automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) to enforce the restrictions.

The draft Traffic Regulation Order provides the details of the restrictions to be in place every day from 8am and 6pm.

Within the 8am to 6pm period the restrictions for motor vehicles will be:

  • · 8am to 10am buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only
  • · 10am to 4pm buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and loading only
  • · 4pm to 6pm buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

Due to the prominent location of Coppergate the formal legal consultation has been extended from the required three weeks to a six week period. The formal legal notice will be printed in local media, displayed on notices in the Coppergate area and sent to all properties on Coppergate. Anyone wishing to view the draft order and statement of reasons can do so at the council’s West Offices or online at www.york.gov.uk/coppergate
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York Council underspent its budget by £876,000 (1%) last year

Floods cost City £3.3 million

Despite big overspends on Children’s Services (foster care, adoption and pay) higher than expected refuse collection costs and lower parking income (£233,000) the potential deficit was offset by savings on debt charges as a result of capital investment projects slipping.

Floods cost City £3.3 million

Floods cost City £3.3 million

A report to tomorrows Council Executive meeting reveals that the controversial decision to collect “co-mingled” recycling had added £200,000 to processing costs. Last year the Council claimed that dumping recycling materials into one lorry compartment would not affect budgets. It now says the additional processing cost is £70/tonne

Central government is bearing most of the costs of the floods although the Council has allocated £50,000 to be spent by “Make it York” on a publicity campaign while the costs of the post flood public inquiry are set at another £50,000.

The report also revealed that the Council still has £676,000 in the account set up to repay those wrongly fined for using Lendal Bridge and Coppergate during the ill-fated “spy camera” trial.

Council set to make £600,000 "profit" from unlawful fines levied on Lendal Bridge

Council set to make £600,000 “profit” from unlawful fines levied on Lendal Bridge

£1,226m was been reclaimed by drivers before the deadline for applications passed.  It remains to be seen what the Council will do with this money (although it must be spent on transport related projects)

The Executive is planning to put some of the surplus into a recycling fund, some into a scheme to appoint visitor welcome staff (“ambassadors”), some into support work to help low achievers at school and some into holding additional “job fairs”.

The rest will be put into reserves.

It is surprising that the continuing problems with street public services (blocked drains, weed chocked gullies, overgrown trees/hedges, potholed roads and footpaths) are not being addressed by using some of the surplus.

Coppergate spy camera return – a bad idea!

Coppergate timing confusionIt seems that more confusion is in store for motorists hoping to drive down Coppergate.

As we reported last week it appears that the Council is not only going to restart the enforcement of access restrictions on the road, but they intend to do so using the same discredited spy cameras that led to over 12,000 drivers being unlawfully fined.

A Council meeting next week seems likely to add to the confusion surrounding the Coppergate restrictions. A report quotes revised restriction times of 8:00am – 6:00pm.

This is in conflict with the hours quoted in the local newspaper last week (8:00am – 7:00pm).

The Council’s decision in 2013 was to change the access restriction hours to 7:00am – 7:00pm. It prompted much of the confusion which led to so many drivers being fined.

It seems we face the same problem again.

The truth of the matter is that, as the photos below show, Coppergate is very lightly trafficed for much of the day. There is little justification for tinkering with access restrictions when the City centre is struggling to recover from the bad publicity generated by the Boxing Day flooding.

The spy cameras are disliked and expensive to manage.

Reinstate a 8:00am – 6:00pm restriction and – if necessary – have an occasional enforcement visit by an uniformed officer.  But keep the cameras switched off.

No traffic on Coppergate on a mid week afternoon

No traffic on Coppergate on a mid week afternoon last week

Empty properties on Coppergate

Empty properties on Coppergate

York has been quiet so far this year

York has been quiet so far this year

Coppergate traffic restrictions to be re-introduced?

It looks like the York Council will be considering reintroducing traffic restrictions on Coppergate at a meeting taking place on 30th June.

The restrictions were effectively suspended following a legal decision that they were not properly signed and that the use of ANPR  enforcement cameras was therefore unlawful.

Coppergate - Time to move on

Coppergate – Time to move on

The Council had to agree to repay fines of over £385,000.

 Since the legal ruling, restriction signs have remained in place but the cameras remain switched off. The police have not been enforcing restrictions because of the uncertain legal position.

Most observers feel that the present situation – where the access restrictions are effectively advisory – probably represents a step forward and many will resist any further tinkering by the York Council.

City centre access review by York Council

A number of options to “help further improve city centre access for pedestrians and give greater clarity of the restrictions to motorists” will be discussed on 12 November .

The Council’s last attempt to tinker with access arrangements ended in a farce as the closure of Lendal Bridge and Coppergate both had to be abandoned.
Coppergate - Time to move on

Coppergate – Time to move on

The Council’s Executive agreed last week to reinstate the access restriction  times of 8:00am to 6:00pm on Coppergate (although they will apply 7 days a week).

It remains unclear whether spy cameras will be deployed again to enforce restrictions.

The Council report  says, “York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, which creates a safer and more attractive city centre for residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors.”

City of York Council carried out a review of its city centre pedestrian zone in 2012, which identified a number of improvements to help reduce city centre through traffic and ensure pedestrians continued to have safe access.

Building on this review, further proposals outlined at the time are now being put forward for consideration to simplify restrictions in the pedestrian zone further and create a better understanding of the traffic regulations in this area (e.g. loading and unloading times),

These include:

  • Extending loading and unloading times either side of the pedestrian zone to 7am (previously 8am) to 10.30am and 5pm to 7pm (previously 6pm). This will give delivery drivers more time and greater priority over general traffic.
  • Unify the access restrictions outside the pedestrian and loading only hours (as above). This will ensure drivers have more clarity on restriction timings whilst aiming to help reducing the volume of traffic in the city centre in the early evening and through the night.
  • Extend the road closure at the Nessgate / Spurriergate into the evening or through the night. Also investigate extending the period of time when the bollards are in place, to either reopen at some point during the evening or in the early hours of the morning.
  • Review the Blue Badge and Green Permit holders access in the pedestrian zone and reviewing the Piccadilly / Pavement / Stonebow vehicle access and enforcement.
  • Investigating vehicle access and enforcement on Piccadilly / Pavement / Stonebow / Fossgate / St. Saviourgate. These recommendations would tie in with the outcome of the Coppergate proposals, which will improve driver compliance with the regulations and reduce general traffic on key public transport routes through the city centre.

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Future of Piccadilly to be decided today

York Council to slow pace of redevelopment

Piccadilly Oct 2015

The pace at which  the regeneration of the Piccadilly area of York – now dubbed the “Southern Gateway” – will take place will be decided by the Council’s Executive today. A report from Council officials talks of establishing a blueprint for the general development of the area.

As we said three months ago, the brownfield site offers a major opportunity to provide additional housing in what has become a very popular destination for new home owners.  Even high value properties in Hungate and St Leonards Place are selling like hot cakes.

It is estimated that at least 450 new homes could be provided on the Piccadilly site.

Today’s report offers little that is new.  “Partners” will be sought to redevelop the old airspeed factory, a project manager will be appointed and taxpayers will be asked to spend £185,000 on further developing the plans.

Potholes on Castle car park

Potholes on Castle car park

Officials are recommending that the Council work closely with developers who have already worked up plans for some of the individual sites in the area.

The Council itself owns the busiest car park (Castle). The car park generates over £2 million a year in revenue – although it currently is in very poor condition.  The Council also runs Castle Mills and the St Georges Field car parks.

One option to be considered is an underground replacement.

It is also known that there is a strong preference to make major changes to Ryedale House which could become a major residential development.

The Council seems set on slowing down (again) the pace of redevelopment.

Three months ago they had reached the stage where possible land uses had been identified.

These clearly did not fit in with the ambitions of the private landowners. Hence the decision to pull back..

At this rate we doubt whether there will be any major development in the area much before the end of the decade.