On a more positive note, we were pleased to see that the Ashbourn Place gate access to the Foxwood Park has been repaired, following action by local Councillor Stephen Fenton
We have reported today paths in two locations which are impeded by overgrown hedges.
Its taken a long time, but the cycle path on Tadcaster Road (A1036) has finally been cleared of obstructions. A one metre margin has been cut and the worst of the overgrowing branches have been trimmed.
The Council still needs to apply some weed killer where grass is breaking through tde surface of the path.
There really needs to be an inspection regime put in place to avoid problems in the future on this, and other, dedicated paths.
The Council has tweeted today asking people to ensure that any boundary hedges are trimmed back from public roads and paths. They say this will help with “social distancing”.
The Council is right to do so.
Many people will have time to undertake the chore during the bank holiday weekend.
The Council also rightly asks hedge owners to be careful not to disturb any birds which may be nesting in the hedge.
Hedges overgrowing back lanes are a particular issue in some areas
Meanwhile there has been rapid grass growth this week with several verges and amenity areas becoming overgrown. We have reported several.
The Council has started to put signs out warning about upcoming road resurfacing schemes in areas like Tadcaster Road, Nunnery Lane and James Street.
Unfortunately some of the signs are blocking footpaths making “social distancing” more difficult.
Some Councillors have promised to take up the issue but really a more fundamental change is needed.
Signs could be place on lampposts at a height that would inconvenience no one while being clearer to all road and path users.
There are also increasing problems with paths being blocked by overgrown hedges while weed growth go unchecked on the path surfaces.
There are concerns that some locations, which had problems with weed growth in 2019, have again been omitted from this year’s treatment programme.
There is little evidence of “die back” on some routes despite the first treatment cycle having finished.
Speculation is mounting that the government will ask local Councils to reopen civic amenity (recycling) sites where they have been closed. York’s Hazel Court facility has been closed for several weeks now – something which has been a particular issue since green waste bin emptying was also suspended. There are problems with fly tipping in some neighbourhoods.
Several local authorities have kept their amenity sites open and have also continued green waste collections.
Elsewhere some other public services such as street cleaning have generally been improved since the lockdown with hand sweeping being reintroduced on some estates.
We’ve reported several issues for attention
NB. We have been told that the York Council will be publishing its highway programme for the current year “in the near future”.
We’ve reached the time of year when hedge growth can begin to block cycle and footpaths. Fortunately, because many are currently working from home at the present time, domestic hedges should be getting regular attention (subject to protecting nesting birds). The lack of a green waste bin emptying service is, of course, an issue that will need to be resolved.
It is less clear what resources the Council will be able to deploy to keep on top of public hedges.
In the meantime it may be down to volunteers.
We trimmed back thorn branches today from the cycle track at the top of Askham Bryan Lane. They were growing at eye height and represented a potential hazard for both cyclists and walkers.
However it is probably expecting too much to depend on a purely voluntary effort to trim overgrowth.
For some time we have suggested that there is a need to appoint a couple of Path Wardens. They would be responsible (in summer) for ensuring that there were no obstructions for either cyclists or pedestrians. They could also fill in potholes and repaint markings while keeping signage and other infrastructure in good condition.
In winter they could help with de-icing.
Whether the Council can rebalance its budget, when the present crisis if over, to give greater priority to maintenance issues like these remains to be seen.
In the meantime, residents should continue to report incidents where obstructions represent a hazard for path users.
The Council have cut back the bushes which were impeding the Hob Moor cycle track near Hob Stones. There is still some gardening work to do on littler Hob Moor.