Safety concerns raised about new York spy camera site

With the new ANPR enforcement cameras now in use on Low Poppleton Lane, a response to a Freedom of Information request has revealed that safety engineers raised three significant concerns about the project.

In a report dated as recently as 18th December 2017 – three months after the go ahead for the scheme was given – engineers say that there will be a potentially hazardous pinch point on the cycle path, that the priority signage may be confusing and that the location of the “bus gate” on a bend may result in sight line problems

The review team go on to say,

Additionally, the new signage refers to a bus lane but there are no traditional bus lane markings provided and as far as the audit team are aware this would be the only bus lane in York which is not usable by taxis and motorcycles”.

Notwithstanding the concerns no significant amendments were made tot eh design before it was implemented a couple of weeks ago. Drivers and motorcyclists using the road will receive on warning letter before any subsequent infringement will result in the issue of a PCN and a potential £100 fine.

A separate risk assessment was made of the railway crossing last June when removal of the rising bollard was being considered.

It concluded, “We consider that the proposal to increase the traffic over the crossing by the local highway authority will significantly increase the public risk at the level crossing. We do not support the implementation of the trial of the temporarily removal of the bollards to allow through traffic due to the risks outlined above”.

The current Automatic Half Barrier (AHB) crossing is ranked at number 23 out of 2139 safety risk crossings across the London North East & East Midlands Route.

On the highway, an accident record review revealed that, during the last 3 years, there had been only one slight accident on the section of Millfield Lane affected by the restrictions.

One slight accident had been reported on Low Poppleton Lane – involving a cyclist entering the former school car park.

The Council had quoted excessive volumes of traffic using Low Poppleton Lane because of failures in the rising bollard system.

The information response indicates that there are around 5000 vehicles movements on the whole of Millfield Lane on a typical day.  This is relatively low for a street which includes an industrial estate and school.

No figures for Low Poppleton Lane are provided but they are thought to be very small.

Mean vehicle speeds on Millfield Lane are around 32 mph (just above the speed limit).No figures for Low Poppleton Lane have been provided, although again vehicle speed is unlikely to be an issue on what is a short stretch of road.

The Council has promised to review its policy which would see the users of mopeds having to dismount and push their bikes along the cycle track.We think riders are unlikely to do so.

The alternative route (via the ring road and A59) would be particularly hazardous for riders of light weight machines.

The nature of the information now revealed suggests that the decision to go ahead with the camera installation should have been subject to prior public consultation with a decision being taken, at on open meeting, attended by the responsible Executive member.

We hope that such a meeting will happen quickly now.

The project is currently subject to a 18 month trial.

UPDATED Work completed on new bus lane. ANPR cameras on site

UPDATE 17/1/18 WE UNDERSTAND EXECUTIVE CLLR IAN GILLIES IS TO INTERVENE IN TH DISPUTED. WE UNDERSTAND THAT HE ACCEPTS THAT SOME PROVISION NEEDS TO BE MADE FOR MOPEDS NEEDING TO  ACCESS MILLFIELD LANE & LOW POPPLETON LANE. WE EXPECT SOME CHANGES, BUT NOT NECESSARILY BEFORE THE ANPR CAMERAS ARE SWITCHED ON. 

The new bus lane on Low Poppleton Lane/Millfield Lane is ready to be opened. It will be guarded by ANPR cameras which will automatically issue £90 fine notices to anyone driving through the “gate”, other than local bus services

The scheme has attracted criticism because of safety concerns. It emerged the decision was taken in early September without any public consultation.

The papers for the decision meeting don’t include the usual safety audit.

Most criticism has come from moped users who claim the new system will force them to use the busy A1237 northern by pass. That route involves the use of two multi lane roundabouts.

The Council have been alerted to the issue, but they claim that moped riders could dismount and push their bikes along the adjacent cycle lane. We think that there is little chance that most moped users will do that. Most will simply by-pass the gate by riding along the cycle track.

Anyone with concerns can email them to lowpoppletonlane.trial@york.gov.uk

In the meantime, a Freedom of Information request has been submitted to the Council asking it to publish the safety audit reports for the area together with accident, speed and volume figures

NB. Restrictions on Low Poppleton Lane were originally introduced following problems with sugar beet lorries short cutting through a street which included a school entrance. The sugar factory has long gone while the school has moved and now occupies a site on Millfield Lane

Low Poppleton Lane traffic restrictions – irregularities

ANPR camera use decision questioned as moped riders cry “foul”

Low Poppleton Lane rising bollards

Residents have complained about lack of consultation about the proposed use of ANPR cameras to enforce bus lane restrictions on Low Poppleton Lane. A decision was made to scrap the current rising bollard enforcement system following problems with reliability. Instead ANPR “spy” cameras will monitor the Low Poppleton Lane/Millfield Lane junction.

A media release from the Council last week claimed that the decision to use cameras had been made by the Executive member at a meeting which took place on 14th September. The media release said, “All traffic other than local bus services and the Manor School mini bus will be prohibited from passing through this restriction

It is clear from the minutes of the Executive Member meeting, that the plans for Low Poppleton Lane – one of many roads assessed for possible bus priority enforcement changes –  would be subject to a further report. This would have allowed residents and road users to raise any issues.

The report said, “It is recommended that further detailed reports are prepared where appropriate to enable the Executive Member to confirm the approach for each location prior to implementation”.

No such report has subsequently been published for the Low Poppleton Lane plan.

It has now emerged that a council official – at a private meeting held a week previously on 8th September – had already agreed to introduce the camera enforcement.

That report can be read by clicking here

Residents do not see these reports in advance of the decision being taken. It can be several weeks before the decision appears on – a very obscure – part of the Council web site.

The report recognises the potentially controversial use of cameras.

It says “It is proposed to implement the enforcement on the following basis:

· 2-week grace period with a letter sent to all drivers who pass through the area during the restriction period notifying them of the changes.

· A further 2 weeks with first offence warning letters indicating that a Penalty Charge Notice would be issued if the vehicle passed through the restriction again.

· Following those periods PCNs would be issued on all vehicles which contravened the TRO”.

Alternative route for moped riders avoiding Low Poppleton Lane.

The report confirms that only buses and the Manor school bus would be exempt from the restrictions. There is no relaxation for taxis or two wheeled transport riders.

There appears to have been no thought given to the safety of moped users. At present moped riders can pass between the raised bollards and use the traffic controlled and hence safe junction at Boroughbridge Road. There is also lightly trafficked route to Poppleton from Millfield Lane  where Manor school is now located.

If mopeds, which can be ridden by 16-year olds and which have a governed maximum speed of 30 mph, are banned from using Low Poppleton Lane, then they will be diverted onto the A1237 by pass.

This is a very busy stretch of road. Right turns at the two roundabouts on the alternative route would be especially hazardous in dark and rainy conditions. An underpass is provided for  pedal cyclists at the A59 roundabout

It seems that in its haste to avoid a public discussion about ANPR camera use, the Council has failed to address a potentially serious safety risk.

The implementation of the camera scheme should be suspended until these fears are resolved.

Low Poppleton Lane ANPR cameras. Officer decision 8th Sept

Low Poppleton Lane ANPR cameras. Councillor decision 14th Sept