Plan to grit 11 miles of York’s cycle network

New off road vehicles are set to be used to grit 11miles (18km) of York’s cycle network this winter.

If successful, the pilot could be extended across the city to help keep cyclists safer in winter conditions.

A report detailing the pilot will be taken to a public meeting on Thursday 19 September, for approval to start during the winter season between November and March.

The pilot includes using two different vehicles to grit 11miles (18km) of cycle network, using small all-terrain vehicles including a quad bike and a gator type machine.

The trial is welcome but rather distracts attention from other more pressing issues facing cyclists.

Many cycle paths in the City are obstructed

Many cycle paths are currently obstructed by overhanging hedge and tree branches. Unchecked weed growth has also reduced path widths as has the failure of the Council to systematically “edge” verges.

Perhaps the most pressing issue though is potholes. These affect some cycle lanes and many inner sections of carriageways – the surfaces most used by cyclists.

It is now 10 years since the last major programme of cycle margin maintenance works took place in the City.

The Council says that, “Popular cycle routes have been chosen for the de-icing trial, including the new Scarborough Bridge and other off road bridges too.

The introduction of the new smaller vehicles will ensure the networks are effectively gritted.  Off road cycle networks are often difficult to grit or salt because cycles don’t have the same weight or action as a vehicle tyre. Effective gritting works by vehicles driving over the grit with their tyres which beds the grit into the snow and ice.

Whilst cars or heavy vehicles generally follow the same tyre path. Cycle tyres are much thinner and therefore these typical treatments are less effective.

For the pilot, the council will hire the vehicles and if, following the pilot, the council decides to roll this scheme out across York, it will look to purchase new vehicles to the council’s fleet.

The cost of the pilot is estimated to be £42k. This will be met by the current winter maintenance budget which is £401k.

By its nature the winter maintenance budget is not predictable, in 2018/19 there was an underspend of £61k. Should this not occur in 2019/20 there is a winter maintenance contingency available of £258k, in addition to the annual budget, which could be utilised.

This pilot will not formally be part of the council’s Winter Service Plan, but will run alongside this a pilot.  After the winter the pilot will be assessed and considered for formally incorporating into the Winter Service Plan”.

Preparing for the winter season:

The council has stockpiled 3,000 tonnes of grit, which is stored in its grit barn at Hazel Court depot.

On average, crews spread around 4,500 tonnes of grit per season, over 75 road treatments (gritter runs).

Each season, crews treat eight routes across the highway, covering 365km of York’s road network, including 22km of priority footpaths and, when recourses allow, 58km of cycle network.

The decision session takes place on Thursday 19 September at West Offices from 2pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch later online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

A copy of the report can be read by clicking here

More blocked cycle and footpaths in York

We urge residents to report what appears to be an increasing number of instances of paths being obstructed by hedges in the City

The cycle path on Field Lane in the Hull Road ward is now completely blocked. Hasn’t happened overnight!

The public footpath on Hull Road outside The Elms is now completely obstructed. Potentially dangerous on what is a busy road. Pedestrians are being forced onto the carriageway.
Not a hazard (yet) but gutters in Maple Grove are choked with weeds. Verges an eclectic mix of weeds and wildflowers

The Thanet Road cycle track on the other side of the City has its share of obstructions but the main issue here continues to be litter.

Idyllic scenes on the Ouse BUT…

Cyclists will be hoping that the York Council’s announcement that £500,000 will be spent upgrading major cycle routs in the City will allow for work to be undertaken on the York – Selby path. In places, the popular leisure route has become very uneven following the ravages of winter.

River Ouse at Naburn today. Well within its banks

Snow melt has caused large ponds to form on low woodland

The cycle track is still scarred by graffiti and dumping. The Council no longer clears graffiti unless it is judged to be obscene.

Get in gear for the York Festival of Cycling

A renowned free event, the York Festival of Cycling will return once again on Sunday 11 September.

The event has something for the whole family from toddlers to grandparents with all sorts of pedal powered activities for people to take part in. There will be bikes and trikes of all shapes and sizes including adapted bikes, balance bikes and tandems for people to test ride.

While the Council is right to promote cycling as an environmentally friendly way of getting around, we are increasingly worried about the quality of some of the cycle paths and cycle lanes in the City.
Cars blockig cycle path exit Bishopthorpe 23rd June 2011 Detritus leaves and litter Grange Lane cycle path 1400 13th Dec 2015 Detritus on cycle path near tesco roundabout Tadcaster rd Entrance to sustans cycle path blocked by overgrown hedge 19th June 2011 PM Hedge overgrowing cycle path back Martin Cheeseman Court nettles Water Lane Hazelnut Grove cycle path 0900 5th Sept 2016 Overgrown cycle path near Tesco 5th June 2012 Trees impeding cycle path Tadcaster near Tesco 19th June 2011 Trees overhanging cycle path Tadcaster Road 19th June 2011 Overgrown hedge cycle path Skiddaw to Eden Close

Many cycle paths have become overgrown by nettles, brambles, bushes and trees. Some entrances to the paths are obstructed by parked vehicles while broken glass can also be a problem.

We think that the Council needs to check the paths and lanes on a regular basis and make sure that they are clear and safe for users. 

BMX stunt team ‘Savage Skills’ will be performing throughout the day showing some of the amazing tricks that can be done on two wheels. There will also be ‘The AirBag’ for BMXers to try out their airborne tricks without the worry of a hard landing.

North Yorkshire Police will be on hand with their state of the art ‘dot peen’ property marking machine. They will be security marking cycles and other valuable items during the day free of charge.

Re-Cycle York will be providing a Doctor Bike service at the event to give festival attendees a free health check of their bike.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “Now in its seventh year the Festival of Cycling continues to draw huge crowds year after year. The festival gives residents and visitors a great opportunity to find out about the health benefits and how fun cycling can be for people of all ages and abilities.”

The i-Travel York team will also be available to provide travel advice and information for residents to encourage them to try out sustainable modes of travel, including cycling and walking. For more information visit Festival of Cycling.

On Sunday 11 September Sky Ride York will take place giving people the chance to ride around a 7km traffic free loop taking in some of the city’s picturesque streets and historic landmarks. The route will be open from 11am-4pm giving residents the chance to ride it as much, or as little as they want and at a pace to suit everyone. Residents and visitors can sign up to Sky Ride York at www.goskyride.com/YorkSkyRide

Cyclists on the Sky Ride York route will be able to enter Rowntree Park from both the Butchers Field/Butchers terrace and Terry Avenue entrances.