As we wait for the inevitable icy weather residents are being urged to check that their local salt bins are full and free of litter.
Salt bin locations are plotted on the Street View services map Click here to access. Look under “street care” then “salt bins funded by CYC”. Councillors should have completed their pre-winter checks by now, but some may have been missed.
Another recurrent problem that will arise, as wetter weather becomes more frequent, is damage to grass verges. This is sometimes caused by poor parking but also is prevalent on street corners where large vehicles leave the carriageway.
Some wards make use of a delegated budget to provide off street “eco grid” style parking lay-bys.
Others use the option of hardening vulnerable areas like road junctions. Again matrix surfacing conserves green space and good drainage while protecting verges from damage.
The York Councilprovides an “on line” map which shows public service locations. These include the primary and secondary road gritting (salting) routes which are mainly the major bus routes. click here to view (then click “street car”e on the map index and then pick the service you want to see)
The Council also provides an update service on Twitter @yorkgritter
In addition the map shows the location of self help salt bins and the areas covered by VOLUNTEER snow wardens. The latter do their best to keep local paths open but not all neighbourhoods are covered..
A quick check of the salt bins in the Westfield area yesterday revealed that most have salt in them. In some cases this has been left over from previous years – last winter was particularly mild.
Most had been used as litter bins and several had been vandalised with the lid hinges broken in many cases.
The Council promised to complete a review of it’s salt bins in September but nothing seems to have come of this. No attempt was made during the summer to recover the bins for maintenance. We hope the new Council will order that the bins be refurbished in the spring.
In the meantime – before we get the inevitable snow – the litter needs to be removed and the bins topped up where necessary.
A map of the location of salt bins in York can be accessed by clicking here
Empty and damaged salt bin on Dijon Avenue still not relocated away from former school entrance
Salt bin on Tennent Road empty
Kingsway West salt bin empty
Hinges broken on Askham Grove bin
Rubbish in salt bin in Kingsthorpe
Spindle Close – full of rubbish
Dumping on the Cornlands Road park has been reported
City of York Council’s winter maintenance team is inviting residents to find out more about how the council tackles winter weather during a special open event at the council’s depot on James Street.
On Saturday 31 October between 10am to 12pm, visitors will get the chance to have a close-up look of the fleet of gritters, snow ploughs and salt spreaders, as well as see the salt barn which is home to over 3,000 tonnes of salt
The open day will provide residents with the opportunity to prepare for the winter months ahead, where frontline teams will be on-hand to offer winter advice.
It also falls on the first ‘dry run’ weekend of the year, where crews will be carrying out gritting test runs in York ahead of the start of the winter season.
The announcement comes at a time when residents are still waiting to here about the future of their local salt bins.
The last Labour led Council chose to scrap many of these self help bins while others have been left out all year round.
Cllr Sue Hunter on a steep footpath on Front Street where acces to a salt bin is essential for safety
Many have been damaged while others are still full of rubbish.
The Liberal Democrats pledged at the recent election to improve the network of bins so an early announcement of changes was expected.
Throughout the gritting season, between November and March, crews are on-hand to work 24/7 to help keep York’s roads open. Last year, crews used 3,927 tonnes of salt over 72 separate ‘grit runs’ , travelling 43,054 km to treat 71,460km of highway.
Cllr Ian Gillies, Executive Member for Transport and Planning, said: “Our open day will enable residents to hear from the frontline team direct about how the council tackles winter weather to help to keep our roads open 24/7 over the gritting season. We encourage everyone to join us during the open event to help them prepare for the winter months ahead.”
. For more information about the winter services in York visit www.york.gov.uk/gritting .Or, follow @YorkGritter on Twitter for regular updates.
With the York Council seemingly preoccupied with internal political discussions, service standards continue to decline.
There is a lack of preparedness for winter. Salt bins have no lids and the contents are leeching onto the streets and adding to the problems with blocked gullies.
Some bus routes – including the number 26 which provides a lifeline service for elderly people living in the Windsor Garth and St Stephens Road areas – are still excluded from the de-icing schedules with little chance of a review before the worst of the winter weather hits the City.
Bus stop waiting areas over grown
Salt bins left without lids. This one is in Woodford Place
Perhaps the worst examples of neglect can be found on some of the City’s Council estates. Areas without an active residents association fare particularly badly with many communal areas, garage forecourts and verges all in a desperate condition
Cllr Andrew Waller with one of the salt bins that he has asked to be refurbished and refilled
Liberal Democrat councillors are urging Labour run City of York Council to be properly prepared for winter and not to gamble on continuing mild weather.
The warning comes amid growing concerns that York will not be able to cope with snowy and icy weather following cuts to the winter maintenance budget.
Since 2011 Labour has cut the council’s winter budget every year and last year took 30 miles of road off the priority gritting list and stopped funding two-thirds of salt bins. Whilst Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners worked with parish councils and residents groups to save some salt bins, many were still lost.
Council budget cuts meant that despite last year’s mild weather, York still overspent its winter budget by around £100,000 leading to fears how it will cope with bad weather this year.
Now Lib Dem councillors have written to the Labour Cabinet Member responsible calling on the council to make sure it is ‘ready for winter’ and to work with local residents to identify gaps in provision.
Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environmental Services, commented:
“Despite the recent mild weather I have spoken to many residents in recent weeks who are asking for salt bins to be replaced and roads to be put back on gritting routes as we approach winter. Residents have also raised concerns about salt bins which have been left to rot and are now without lids or full of rubbish.
“Last year the council was fortunate to have a particularly mild winter, but it must make sure it is ready for winter this year and able to cope if more seasonal weather comes in the next few months. It needs to work with local residents and community groups to identify and tackle gaps in provision. These frontline services need to be the priority rather than Labour’s vanity projects in the city-centre.
“While I am pleased to see that the snow warden service is restarting – now in its fourth season having been brought in by the previous Lib Dem administration – this team of volunteers needs proper support from the council, and officers who work hard to keep the city running need support from the top.”
Liberal Democrat councillors have sent the following letter to the Labour Cabinet Member responsible:
The form used to allocate “marks” can be seen here (same for the whole of the City)
What is immediately obvious from the “scores” is that some potentially very hazardous routes (including St Stephens Mews and the Grove Terrace snicket) fared badly because they were judged to be on the normal precautionary gritting routes.
In reality the gritting Lorries never get near enough to these areas to have any effect on the ice.
Meanwhile our story last month about the poor take up of snow warden posts seems to have shamed some residents into action.
Some Tory Councillors are reported as having volunteered.
This news came soon after a question was tabled at last weeks Council meeting asking whether the responsible Cabinet member (Cllr Levene) would be out and about clearing snow?
Maps showing the general location of snow wardens can be found by clicking here.
Advice on clearing the footpath in front of your own home can be found here
The Council have been out and about replacing some of the grit bins (Linnet Way, Cornlands Road) which they threaten to remove, so the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing.
The Council’s map of salt bin locations can be found here.