25% paying for parking by phone in York

A freedom of information request has revealed what proportion of drivers are using their phone to pay for parkign in York.

Of 1.2 million parking transactions made at off street parking locations during the last financial year, 234,832 drivers paid by phone.

The proportion for on street parking was much lower. The vast majority of those parking on street used one of the Councils 68 ticket machines.

Ring Go’s smartphone App has made parking easier in York

In total the York Council received £5,597,280 from parking charges last year.

Dozens of changes planned to parking arrangements across York

A bumper list of traffic management changes is being considered at a meeting next week (click for details).

A summary list can be found by clicking here

The cost of advertising the planned changes comes to £25,500. This is three times thae actually cost of changing lines and signage

The changes include removing a motorcycle parking bay on Acomb Road near the shops. It will be replaced by a car parking bay.

“Sliding bollards” plan for York City centre

Temporary measures introduced to protect York’s busiest city centre spaces from terrorist attacks could be made permanent by City of York Council next week.

Phase 1 of the vehicle exclusion zone

The Council’s Executive will consider the results of a trial restricting vehicle access to the busiest city centre streets during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00) at its meeting next Thursday (29 August)

The Councils consultation revealed major conflicts with the wishes of groups representing disabled people

More disabled parking is planned for Piccadilly

It has been criticised by a former Tory Councillor who said on social media “Almost everyone wants to pedestrianise our city centre. It should be about improving it and supporting business growth in difficult times…not terrorism

Changes were introduced last November following police counter terrorism advice for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle as weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.

If approved, a sliding bollard system would restrict access to Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, Finkle Street, Church Street and Jubbergate during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00).

“Sliding” bollards are planned for the entrances to several streets.

The Executive introduced the measures on a temporary basis to allow for work to understand the impact of restricted access on key groups, including disabled people and others with limited mobility within a core part of the city centre.

The council commissioned studies of how blue badge parking changed throughout the period, alongside a series of workshops with individuals and groups representing disabled people in York.

In addition to the available parking on the streets next to the restricted area, the executive will consider mitigation proposals including:

•             continued access to St Sampson’s Square for Dial and Ride services

•             creating blue badge parking on the traffic-restricted section of Piccadilly, and converting the taxi rank to blue badge parking during the day time (10:00-18:00)

•             extending the parking time restrictions outside Explore on Museum Street from 2 to 3 hours

•             supporting marketing efforts for alternative services like Shopmobility and Dial and Ride

*If approved, the Piccadilly changes would be subject to a traffic regulation order change. The proposed changes would be advertised for up a three week period to allow for objections before a decision can be made.

Experiments with rising bollards in the past in York have encountered reliability issues. Reliability and maintenance costs are not considered in trhe Council report.

City centre future

The same meeting will consider launching a consultation exercise on the future of the City centre retail area. The area has change a lot in recent years with several shops being replaced by pubs and restaurants.

Problems with drunken behaviour have increased.

If approved, an engagement exercise “following the principles of early and ongoing public involvement, pioneered on the Castle Gateway regeneration scheme”, would begin in the new year.

This would deliver a “strategic vision for the city centre to guide future development, regeneration and investment decisions”.

The proposal has the support of the York BID and “Make it York”.

The Council report fails to address the needs of sub-urban high streets like Front Street

£350,000 Council Tax bill for new tourist signs in York

A Council official has agreed, at another “behind closed doors” meeting, to contribute £350,000 towards the provision of new “wayfinding” signs in the City centre.

The total cost of the project is £700,000 with the York Business Improvement District (BID) contributing half.

The plan has prompted a mixed reaction in the past. The new LibDem led Council administration had been expected to review the proposals, along with other expenditure commitments – like the £20 million Guildhall project – which it inherited in May.

However, that hasn’t happened, with the new administration adopting a very low-profile approach to public service reforms.

The decision notice says, “The February 2019 Budget Council meeting included the following …. this scheme will allow the Council and York BID to proceed with full implementation of a new Wayfinding scheme starting in Spring 2019, following a detailed consultation exercise. Works will include the removal of 60 current heritage fingerposts to reduce street clutter, and installation of 36 new totem signs, 14 fingerpost signs, and 13 wall signs. York BID have committed £350k to the full implementation, which will be matched by the Council as part of this scheme”.

Opinions on the design of the new signs – one of which is located outside the Mansion House – have been mixed with same favouring the more traditional “finger” signs.

However, the main area of contention relates to prioritisation at a time when an increasing number of visitors to the City depend on smartphone features like Google Maps to find their way around.

While Visit York has a good website, there is scope for a more specialised smartphone app.

There are several commercial applications available with some depending on advertising revenue. Currently Visit York doesn’t provide a list of approved Apps that are available. Anyone accessing the iTunes store and entering “York” will be offered only 2 options. One of these is currently unavailable.

Visit York should commission an official real time “walking tour” type guide and promote its use via its web site, social media and at entry points to the City.

Meanwhile, many will take the view that £350,000 might be better invested in ensuring that the City is weed and litter free, and that street furniture like bins and seats are kept in good condition.

The Council should also finally deliver a replacement for the real time car parking space availability signs, and “on line” service, which was lost some 8 years ago.

Such a “clean and seen” campaign must include the main road and rail routes into the City which are so important in forming a visitors “first impression” of York.

Bootham Park Masterplan published

City of York Council has today published a draft masterplan for the Bootham Park Hospital site, following the public consultation which took place last year.

Bootham Park

The masterplan, developed jointly between the York Council and the York teaching Hospital NHS Trust, proposes “a viable option for the development of the site, one that meets the needs of York residents by providing care accommodation, public open space, key worker housing and more”.

The key features of the plan include.

  • A Nursing home included on YTHT land (part of former nurse’s accommodation site).
  • Residential development aimed at the senior living market to the
    east of the chapel.
  • Child care nursery located on northern edge of YTHT land –
    directly accessible to the York Hospital site
  • The main former hospital building to be converted to extra care
    apartments (potentially incorporating step down care linked to
    York Hospital). Unlisted elements to be removed and a new block
    built to the north east in order to provide a viable number of units.
  • Unlisted and some grade 2 listed elements to the west
    removed in order to accommodate a Medical Training and
    Research Centre of Excellence with associated Key Worker
    Accommodation (medical staff).
  • A linear ‘’atrium’’ provides a main access and control point but
    also visually separates the form of old and new elements.
  • Landscaped area to the north redesigned to provide a semi
    private garden and courtyard space in the centre of the listed
    building group reinstated as landscape open space.
  • Unlisted cottages off driveway entrance from Bootham removed and replaced with apartments.
  • Existing listed gatehouse reinstated as residential accommodation.
  • Potential café/pavilion proposed adjacent to reopened pedestrian access off Bootham.

The plan involves building on the Union Terrace car park. The coach park would be retained with a multi storey car park, constructed above it,containing 250 spaces. It is claimed that this change will improve access to the hospital site from the south and provide a better “gateway” appearance for a key route into the City centre.

The Council says, “York residents will now be invited to contribute further to the development of the masterplan, by giving their views on the proposals so far.

The Bootham Park Masterplan Consultation will launch in September 2019″.

NB. NHS Property Services have recently engaged in a failed commercial sale and continue to re-market the site.

A copy of the draft masterplan can be downloaded by clicking this link

Building works problems increasing

Residents are hoping that some solutions, to the problems caused by widespread building works in the Westfield area, will emerge from last nights public meeting.

There are acute congestion, parking and noise problems at and near sevral sites.

Contractors have been digging up Hob Moor as they proceed wit the Newbury Avnue development. To do so they have cut two gaps in the perimeter hedge (although its is still the bird nesting season)
Parking problems are increasing on Ascot Way. The Lincoln House forecourt parking has gone and the Council have not provided even a temporary facility near the gable end of the building (where there is adequate space). The area is currently fenced off. The parking crisis in the estate has been exacerbated by the demolition of the |Newbury Avenue garages.

Spy cameras at Woodthorpe shops? Drivers face £100 fine?

Notices have appeared warning motorists that they face a £100 fine if they use the shoppers car park at Woodthorpe shops for longer than 2 hours. The notices say that ANPR (spy) cameras will be used to enforce the new restrictions.

Woodthorpe shops

We can understand that the owners of the car park which is privately owned may wish to discourage commuter and overnight parking. They have, after all, to pick up the bill for repairs and maintenance. Spaces are intended to be used by shoppers and those visiting the dentist and doctors surgery.

Maintenance standards on the surface of the shopping area and adjacent parking areas does need to be improved. Fortunately, following voluntary efforts, the amount of litter and weeds has been reduced while the flower beds are much tidier.

Camera enforcement seems a little over the top if they are to be used routinely. The last thing that the local community would want to see is more “on street” parking on busy local roads .

NB. There are also concerns about the future of the Post Office which is located in one of the shops.

More off street parking bays completed in Westfield

Most of the promised new parking bays in the Westfield area have now been completed. These are funded from a combination of the Westfield ward delegated budget and the Housing Estate Improvement Programme.

An additional 5 off street lay-by spaces are due to be provided in Tudor Road shortly. These will be funded as part of the Lowfields redevelopment project.

Windsor Garth parking lay by
New parking bay near Beverley Court now in use
Danesfort Avenue off street spaces completed
Newbury Avenue spaces in use
Thoresby Road lay-by almost completed

Good progress with installing parking lay bys in Westfield this week

After seemingly years of inactivity, the Council has made good progress in installing new, off street, parking spaces over the last few weeks. The funding for the bays was made available from delegated ward budgets and the “housing estate improvement programme”. More work is needed, but hopefully the new budgets, which will be available from Monday, will allow more speedy progress to be made over the next year.

Following the completion of a new bay to serve Spurr Court on the Foxwood estate, parking space for 4 vehicles has now been provided near the Askham Lane flats. Whether the Council was wise not to relocate the tees to allow for larger capacity bays to be installed may be open to debate!
Next up is Danesfort Avenue where a large bay is under construction. It will serve the flat occupants in a location where there are “on stree”t parking restrictions.
Work should begin next week on providing bays at two locations on Windsor Garth. These were locations chosen by local residents following consultation. The first, above, is opposite the entrance to Kempton Close.
The second bay will be at the side of the road which leads to Hob Stones. In the same area we have asked that a street nameplate be provided on Windsor Garth indicating the way to Hob Stone Court.
The final improvement, which we know to be imminent, is the provision of 3 additional lay-bys on Tudor Road.

Taxpayers bonus from Rod Stewart concert

It looks like Council taxpayers will get a boost from those parking locally at the Rod Stewart concert which is being held on the Knavesmire on Saturday 1st June.

The Council will get the profits from car parking as the event falls outside the terms of the existing Racecourse lease.

Rod Stewart holds the official record attendance for a (free) outdoor concert. 3.5 million attended his gig at Copacabana beach in Rio a few years ago.

Rather fewer are expected to make their way to the Knavesmire in June