The number of recreational (fitness) cyclists has increased since the coronavirus lock-down started. Some cycle stores have even sold out of popular models.
Unfortunately the City is ill equipped to deal with additional demands on its creaking cycling infrastructure. Maintenance programmes have simply not been adequate in recent years. That neesd so chn ge in future.
We look forward to seeing what the new highway maintenance programme – which should have been published in March – will have to offer.
Hopefully those who left a pile of cans halfway down the path over the weekend will return and remove them.
Residents will have a lot of sympathy with local highways inspectors who have the unenviable task of allocation very limited resources to road repairs. Poor weather has increased the number of potholes appearing over recent weeks. The poor state of highway surfaces is a reflection of inadequate investment in maintenance by the York Council for nearly a decade.
An additional pothole filling team is promised to be in place from April. Their arrival can’t come soon enough, at least in west York.
The Councils on line “report it” system now monitors highway defect reports. It is possible to see which reports have been read by officials. Several, reported over the last month, are recorded as “solved”. In reality the problems remain. The potholes have simply been judged not to be deep enough to warrant filling.
That is potentially bad news for cyclists.
Councillors receive very little in the way of monthly performance reports on highways activities, so its impossible to know whether the condition of roads and footpaths is getting worse or improving. The number of reports and complaints received is not routinely published.
Complaints about damage to verges, like parking on footpaths, go largely unmonitored. In summer it is a similar situation with highway obstructions like over grown hedges and weeds.
Some potholes in York, reported weeks ago, have still not been filled. This is the time of year when the Council normally catches up on the pothole backlog which can develop during periods of icy weather.
The York Council doesn’t provide “real time” updates on the number of highway defect reports it receives and the progress made in addressing them, but there is a suspicion that some are written off without any action being taken.
Fortunately the LibDems, who lead the new administration at West Offices, promised in their election manifesto “to reconstruct all roads in York”.
Even allowing for hyperbole, that is a very expensive looking promise. Perhaps Council officials had better get on with drawing up a work programme?
The coalition government has allocated York over £300,000 to deal with some of the potholes that blight local roads.
It is estimated that this will allow around 5000 holes to be filled in.
The money is in addition to the £245,719 allocated earlier in the year to repair the worse ravages of the winter weather.
However the central government initiative will do little to address the backlog in highways repairs which has built up over the last two financial years following a decision by the local York Council Labour Leadership to lop a total of £4 million from the highways budgets.
The potholes represents a particular risk for cyclists with highway margin work (the 1 metre band near the highway kerbside) having been given a low priority by the Council over the last 3 years.
Some road humps are also in a particularly poor condition and represent a hazard for all road users.