There has been a lot of congestion in York over the last week or so. With many visitors coming for the Christmas markets and the “Winter Wonderland” the influx is potentially good news for the local economy.
But transport systems have capacity limits and these were reached at times with the Designer Centre car parks effectively full and Park and Ride services compromised.
Queues at the hospital car park have caused delays on bus services while even cyclists have found it difficult to find vacant City centre cycle racks.
Add in the arrival of General Election campaigners eager to be filmed with a backdrop of crowds of people and the new security barriers, which hinder movement in areas like St Helen’s Square, and things have turned decidedly awkward even for pedestrians.
So, what’s to be done?
We have criticised the Council before about its failure to utilise modern technology to ease travel woes. The real time parking space availability map was removed from their web site last year.
Many of the parking space availability signs which can be seen on arterial roads didn’t work for a long time.
A promised link through GPS to car navigation systems – which would help to direct vehicles to car parks where there were spaces – has not materialised.
As a result, vehicles still circle the City looking for spaces, which sometimes don’t exist, adding to congestion and pollution levels.
The York Council needs to raise its game.
On busy days, it should be tweeting updates on at least an hourly basis. Variable message signs on approach roads should be similarly updated. Local Radio has a part to play.
It would be relatively easy to add a CCTV link displaying the conditions at key locations to the Council web site. North Yorkshire already do this (albeit mainly to provide information on road conditions)
Modern problems need modern solutions.
Sadly at the moment there seems to be little sign of urgency at West Offices on the need to further improve traffic management in the City.