Plans to widen footpaths in Piccadilly, Micklegate and Low Ousegate

The Council has belatedly published the background to its decision to  introduce a contraflow cycle route at the Bishopthorpe Road shops.

The scheme – which diverts southbound traffic onto Nunnery Lane and Blossom Street – has been criticised for increasing safety risks for cyclists. Critics also say there has been an unnecessary increase in congestion and emission levels while road works are taking place near the Holgate Road junction.

A, very thin, background report was apparently considered by the acting Chief Executive Ian Floyd on 5th May. Details have only just emerged. There was no opportunity given for public consultation on the draft proposals.

It is claimed that the change was prompted by queuing issues for pedestrians on the butchers side of the road. The Council claims that some traders were restricting the public footpath width by displaying goods outside their shops.

The report sounded the following warning, “It should be noted that where highway space is limited the provision of more space for pedestrians will reduce the space available for other modes including cyclists and/or may complicate the layout of highways – making it harder for deliveries or road users to understand and/ or navigate”.

There are Highway Maintenance works in the area which may mean that the road closure would need amending for a few nights in mid May”.

The changes cost £4000 with an ongoing weekly expenditure of £2000. The report says, “The maintenance cost could reduce if there were other traffic management schemes in the city at the same time.

It appears that no safety audit results were reported to the decision making meeting which was held in private.

The arrangement has impacted on the number 11, 26 & 21 bus services.

Tesco Express on Low Ousegate - Convenience Stores in City Centre ...

Low Ousegate

The report also says that measures may be warranted at the city centre food shops on Piccadilly, Low Ousegate and Micklegate.

Hopefully any such proposals will involve a full safety audit and consultation. Any changes in Low Ousegate in particular could have significant knock on effects on public transport.

NB. Some Labour Councillors are trying to change the policy that they advocated in January when they wanted to ban all private car use within the City walls. They now want to establish a Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the same area. This would allow electric car users access but would hit commercial premises deliveries, and some bus services, very hard. It is not a practical short term option.

There is a more immediate need to address the travel needs of the large number former bus users who will be excluded from that mode of travel because of ongoing social distancing rules

City centre economy facing a challenge

City centre traders are likely to be looking with concern at the numbers of people who are visiting the City centre. New footfall figures have been published.

The figures suggest that visitor numbers to the City may have plateaued.

Parliament Street less busy this year?

Long periods of hot weather haven’t, in the past, been good for York with some tourists preferring to visit coastal areas.

This years weather has been mixed.

Special attractions like the Rose Theatre, although generally successful, are not sold out while interest in events like the current “Great Yorkshire Fringe” are at best comparable with last year.

During June several York streets saw a 10% drop in visitor numbers in 2019 compared to the same month in 2018.

Early figures for July in Parliament Street suggest a 4% drop in visitor numbers during July.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the number of empty shops on Coney Street, that area has seen visitor numbers drop from 812,808 in June 2017 to 713,762 in June of this year.

There is no shortage of excellent Festivals in York while the work of the BID has seen several parts of the city centre tidied up.

The most important time for many City centre traders is the period between now and Christmas.

Lets hope that the City continues to be “best day out” in the region

Gradual decline in visitor numbers to Parliament Street.
Smaller shopping streets are doing better with visitor numbers to Stonegate stable and numbers in Micklegate increasing.

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 “

Lib Dems select local woman to contest Micklegate by-election

 

York LAileen in Micklegateiberal Democrats have selected local resident Aileen Hingston to contest the forthcoming Micklegate by-election

Aileen is a retired civil servant who has lived in Micklegate ward for 25 years. Her career involved health and social care, refugee issues, and economic statistics. She has been campaigning to resolve parking problems for residents and to improve local bus services.

The by-election has been triggered by the announcement that a Labour Councillor will resign at the end of March.

AIleen & City of York Councillors with Sarah Olney MP

Since the EU referendum Liberal Democrats have won more by-elections than all other major parties combined. Sarah Olney MP, the newest Liberal Democrat MP who won a by-election in Richmond Park last year, launched Aileen’s campaign in Micklegate last weekend.

Lib Dem candidate for Micklegate Aileen Hingston said:

“I love living in York, and particularly Micklegate with its fantastic heritage and green spaces. Since retirement I have enjoyed contributing to the local community, such as by volunteering in a charity shop. If elected I will continue the York Liberal Democrats’ strong record for protecting frontline services.”

“Micklegate had one of the highest Remain vote in York and residents are being let down by the national Labour Party’s failure to fight against a hard Brexit. Right now the Liberal Democrats are the clearest voice on European issues, which really matter in this ward.”

The by election has not yet been called but is expected to take place on 4th May. The vacancy occurred when Labour Councillor Julie Gunnel announced she was quitting following wranglings within the local Labour Council Group.

The Greens and Tories have already publicised their likely candidates names.

The Liberal Democrats came within a couple of hundred votes of winning the area in a similar by-election which took place in 2002.

To support Aileen’s Campaign email Derek Wann, to donate to Aileen’s By-Election Fund go to yorklibdems.org.uk/donate

Outrage as York Tory Councillors fund school in Leeds

Tory Councillors in York have taken the unusual step of issuing a leaflet claiming credit for funding a primary school in Seacroft.

With cash strapped schools in Scarcroft in York hoping for investment to deal with overcrowding, we doubt that local parents will be too impressed with the move!

Tory leaflet March 2017

 

York Labour Councillor quits

The media are reporting that Micklegate Councillor Julie Gunnel is resigning from the City of York Council. It means that a by-election will take place in a ward which has been electorally unpredictable over the years. The other Councillors for the area currently include an Independent and a Green party representative.

The chaotic state of the Labour party nationally has seen several Councillors quit recently. In nearby Leeds, three members recently left to form an independent grouping.

Julie Gunnel had a deserved reputation as being one of the friendliest and hard working local representatives. She had the great advantage of having lived in the city all her life and owned a house in the Micklegate ward. She cites family reasons for her departure.

The by-election may take place on 4th May when local elections are scheduled in other parts of the country.

Labour’s recent election results elsewhere in the country  – coupled with a lackluster performance in the Council chamber – means that a change is on the cards.

Nationally the LibDems have a string of recent Council by-election gains to their credit.

 

UKIP canvassers out in force in Micklegate Ward

Paul Nuttall single handedly beats Euro Saxons

Bloodaxe claims he’s never heard of Paul Nuttall

 

York central development – consultation results published

The results of a public consultation survey undertaken by the Council earlier in the year on the York Central development have been published.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Around 1224 responses were received to a survey which was criticised at the time for lack of clarity on project costs and the absence of demand information. 

Many respondents said they couldn’t answer the questions although some pressure groups did use the survey to make points about access arrangements, green infrastructure and the future of the Railway Institute building.

The Council has already published a Draft Local Plan which would see 1500 homes built on the site. Potentially that would leave space for 80,000 sqm of office accommodation.

A draft planning document for the site is expected to be published in November.

Separately a Council report says that York taxpayer’s liability for the project may be less than the £10 million budgeted. They expect the Leeds City Region to stump up £2.55m of this sum as a “loan” although it is still far from clear what the final cost will be to taxpayers.

The Council has so far spent £1.3 million on the project. To that will be added the costs of buying land to facilitate development.

Further details will be published in November.

Is this the York street with the most road work closures?

Micklegate-1

Work has stared on replacing a sewer in Micklegate. The work is expected to last for 10 weeks.

It comes only two years after the last major closure on the street, when gas main repairs brought major delays and inconvenience to neighbouring shops and their customers. Many of the shops depend on passing trade and on street car parking space availability  can be limited by works.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that Micklegate has been either been fully or partially closed on 26 occasions during the last 5 years.

Some of these closures have been caused by “special events”, such as the visit of the Queen, but most can be traced to utility works.

Special events are responsible for some closures

Special events are responsible for some closures

In total there have been restrictions in place for 250 days, of which 14 have been due to the activities of Yorkshire Water or their contractors.

Yorkshire Water will now close part of the street for 70 days to allow for the sewer repair.

It seems a shame that, with the repairs to the gas main still sharp in the memory, the utilities couldn’t have coordinated their projects  more closely.

One of the problems on the street is that part of the surface of the carriageway contains traditional cobbled setts, which take longer to reinstate.

A full list of the Micklegate closures can be downloaded by clicking here.