“Big Brother” fears as more invisible policemen set to come to York?

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ANPR camera use to be extended

The Council has announced that it will use camera cars to enforce zig zag parking restrictions outside schools.

This is likely to be of limited value at some schools where some parents park on yellow lines, verges and block access driveways.

Use of such camera cars has been controversial in other towns and cities but  the vehicle may give some comfort to schools and their immediate neighbours.

Ironically the DfT is just completing its public consultation on car parking. One of the options being considered is to limit the use of CCTV cameras near schools!

More significantly in York, Labour Councillors are now proposing to extend the use of number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras in the City.

ANPR cameras have been responsible for identifying over 50,000 drivers on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge, with fines totalling around £1 million already issued.

Clearly this potential cash cow has proved to be attractive to the Council.

It will decide later today to introduce camera enforcement of more bus lanes later this year with a target income of £50,000.

It is also budgeting to receive an additional £100,000 in 2015 from the  “Further introduction of ANPR enforcement measures across the City where network congestion can be improved”.

The budget papers published by the Council make no mention of how much revenue they except to raise from the continued use of the Coppergate (or Lendal Bridge) cameras during the next financial year.

Car parking chaos hits York City centre

As the sales get into full swing, angry motorists are demanding to know why York has stopped providing car parking space availability information?

Click to access "live" parking and travel information

Click to access “live” parking and travel information

Until 2011, anyone could access the Councils web site and see how many spaces were unoccupied at each car park.

That information has now disappeared although other Councils still provide the service.

The information isn’t even provided for York’s showcase Park and Ride sites

Today car parks like Castle were full but the Council’s travel service hasn’t bothered to use its “twitter” feed to update potential users.

Signs on the approach roads to the City centre, which indicate space availability, are also unreliable, so many motorists are driving round and round looking for spaces.

This increases pollution and congestion on City centre roads.

Sadly it is another example of new technology providing information that is less useful than what was available a decade ago.

More disabled parking spaces in York’s car parks

City of York Council is increasing the amount of disabled parking spaces in York’s city centre.

Blue badge holders are able to park free of charge anywhere in all council owned car parks, which provide a number of spaces that are wider and set aside specifically for use by blue badge holders only.

Work has now begun on expanding the number of disabled spaces in car parks in the city centre to try to better serve those who have restricted mobility.

The number of disabled spaces has increased in the following areas by:

  • · Castle car park- increased from six to 13 spaces
  • · Bootham Row car park – increased from two to nine spaces
  • · Monk Bar car park– increased from three to seven spaces
  • · Piccadilly car park– increased by five – which will see an increase in the number of spaces set aside for use at the shopmobility scheme

Groups and individuals can submit suggestions to be considered by emailing highway.regulation@york.gov.uk

£89,000 spent on Christmas lights but no Christmas tree collection in York this year

Anyone buying a Christmas tree this year faces a trip to the recycling centre in January.

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Alternatively the Council say you should “replant the tree in your garden”.

In previous years, Christmas trees have been collected from peoples homes when green bins were emptied. The Labour Council has, of course, scrapped the green bin collections, so we guess that some trees will end up dumped in hedgerows around the City.

Any trees which are returned to recycling centres will be turned into compost.

The Council has, however, found £89,000 during the last 2 years to spend on Christmas decorations in the City centre.

The decorations can be seen in Parliament Street, Davygate, Coney Street, St Helen’s Square, Stonegate and Micklegate.

Lamp post lighting is at Station Rise, Bridge Street, Lendal Bridge and Museum Street.

Mini Christmas trees are also installed in some of these streets as well as the Shambles and Goodramgate.

Traders in sub-urban locations have, however, lost out again.

Unlike previous years, the Council is not offering “free parking” on any day or evening in the run up to Christmas.

The Park & Ride service is operating without charge on Boxing Day from 3 sites.

Most of the Park and Ride buses operating yesterday evening – during the extended shopping period in the City Centre – were running empty.

More behind closed doors decisions made in York

The York Council has made several decisions about new parking restrictions in the Guildhall and Clifton wards. In summary they are:

Behind closed doors logo

Newborough Street

Approved the advertising of No Waiting at any Time Restrictions and identified space for a Car Club vehicle in Newborough Street (Clifton Ward). Click for more details

Gladstone Street/ Dennison Street

click for map

click for map

“No Waiting at any Time Restriction” on Gladstone Street and Dennison Street to prevent obstructive parking taking place on footways, as well as inconsiderate parking which blocks the entrance to the play area and private driveway access. .

The issue related to parking conflicts since new homes were built on the Minster Engineering site. The Council required only 1 parking space per property but this has proved to be inadequate with parking being forced onto pavements and neighbouring streets

Council agreed to overturn the objections made to a proposed amendment to the Traffic Regulation Order located within Guildhall Ward and implement restrictions as advertised. click for more details

2947 residents have blue badges in York

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Nearly 3000 residents have been issued with “blue badges” in York.

The badges entitle the owner to park “on street” closer to amenities than otherwise would be the case.

The vast majority of the badges have been issued to those with walking disabilities or who receive DLA.

In addition there is a green badge scheme in operation for the severely disabled. This allows access to parking within the City centre.

The York Council controversially refused to exempt green badge holder’s from the Lendal Bridge access restrictions a couple of months ago.

Applications details can be found by clicking here

York City centre shopper decline started in 2012

York City centre "to let"

York City centre “to let”

The calamitous decline in the number of shoppers in the City centre first became apparent in 2012.

In that year, the new Labour administration increased car parking charges by 20p for residents.

Yearly footfall figures click to enlarge

Yearly footfall figures click to enlarge

In 2013 they went up a gain meaning that residents faced a 36% hike in just 2 years.

We forecast that this could have major implications for City centre traders.

The additional traffic restrictions have simply accelerated the downward spiral with “to let” notice springing up all around the City centre as shops pull out.

In the period up to 2011 the, then LibDem led, Council had frozen parking charges.

It had even reduced them at an innovatory “shoppers car park” at Foss Bank.

Footfall figures reveal that for the first 3 years of the recession (2008 – 2011) the numbers accessing the City centre were remarkably stable.

2012 saw a 6% reduction while this increased to 12% comparing September 2013 with the same month in 2012.

Bus Journeys in York Click to enlarge

Bus Journeys in York Click to enlarge

New traffic restrictions were blamed for the accelerating trend.

Meanwhile the numbers of bus passengers has also fallen away although the Council has so far refused to reveal the 2012 passenger numbers.

As we said yesterday, the Council seems to be frozen into inactivity with no real idea what to do to get itself out of the self created crisis.

Nero showed a greater sense of urgency.

Ford owners mostly likely to get parking fine in York

bad-parking

The Council has published a list of the makes of car that have attracted fines for parking outside allotted bays.

The list covers the last 5 years.

click for larger list

click for larger list

Top of the list are Ford owners, followed by Vauxhall and Volkeswagon.

In 2012/13 Mercedes tied with Volkswagon for third place

NB. At the end of 2012, the most common car in Great Britain was the Ford Focus (1.4 million) followed by the Ford Fiesta (1.3 million), a situation unchanged on the year before.

In total, Ford accounted for 15 per cent of all cars and Vauxhall for 12 per cent.

The top five marques (Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot and Renault) accounted for 48 per cent of all licensed cars in Great Britain.

The next ten (Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Citroen, Honda, Mercedes, Audi, Fiat, Rover and Volvo) take the total to over 81 per cent.

There were over 1 million cars licensed from each of the top ten marques (Ford to Honda).

New parking restrictions in Clifton announced by York Council

Click for large scale maps of all the proposals

Click for large scale maps of all the proposals

The Council has agreed to implement as advertised Traffic Regulation Orders in

• R33 Bootham (South):
• Sycamore Place;
• R33 Bootham (South : Queen Anne’s Road);
• Junction of Ashton Avenue and Crichton Avenue;
• Ratcliffe Street, junction areas with Burton Stone Lane, Falgrave Crescent and Haughton Road;
• Westerdale Court, Compton Street and Clifton.

However objections from residents were at least partly upheld and proposals amended in:

Kitchener Street;

• And Field View, junction areas with Burton Stone Lane and Haughton Road (with additional restrictions on Haughton Road)

Following representations from residents and Liberal Democrat spokesperson Cllr Ann Reid, the Council has agreed to reduce the time that restrictions will apply outside 48 -54 Clifton. They will apply now only on weekdays, 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Behind closed doors logo

The decision was made at a “behind closed doors” meeting.

City centre cycle parking consultation results

Behind closed doors logoMany residents will be surprised to find that consultations were taking place about extending cycle parking arrangements in Goodramgate, King Square, Lendal (exiting parking @ Zizzi’s), Lendal (new parking @ Post Office), Castle Museum, Piccadilly (White Swan), Library Square, Micklegate/Bar Lane.

Nevertheless the Council has approved the new sites in another behind closed doors decision session.

Click here for details and photos.

Piccadilly new cycle stands