Traffic Speed on Wetherby Road

Speed sign on Wetheby Road which needs replacing

A meeting next week will consider a Council officials response to residents’ concerns about speeding traffic on Wetherby Road. The report follows the collection of a petition which asked for

  • the reinstatement and modernisation of both flashing speed warning signs on the road
  • the police to site their speed camera van in the built-up area on Wetherby Road on an occasional basis.

One of the flashing signs (on the odd numbered, Acomb Ward, side of the road) has been missing for over 2 years. It was faulty and the expectations were that it would be repaired and returned to its site.

Now officials say that speeds are lower on Wetherby Road and that, if a sign is too be provided, then it will have to be funded through the delegated budget held by Acomb Ward Councillors.  They go on to say that they approached the Councillors for the Acomb Ward (Cllrs Keith Myers and Stuart Barnes) in 2017 asking them to fund a replacement, but received no response. A new ward budget will be available from 1st April 2019 so the request could be renewed.

The report claims that vehicle speeds on the built-up section of Wetherby Road have reduced since the buffer 40 mph limit was introduced on the “rural” section 2 years ago.

Before and after speeds were recorded and are reproduced in a table (below).

Speed check results

As might be expected they show a small reduction in the speed of vehicles in the urban area (Eastbound), although speeds on the rural stretch actually increased.

The “after” figures were, however, taken in August 2017 before work on enlarging the ring road roundabout had been completed. One of the main reasons why residents collected the petition was a concern that the easier access across and from the A1237 would lead to increased speeds.

We think that the Acomb Ward Councillors should agree to fund a replacement speed sign.

new style speed signs

Elsewhere, at the same meeting, officials are recommending that the newer type of speed sign, which shows the actual speed of an approaching vehicle, should be trialled in the City. Unfortunately the sites identified, for the trial introduction of the signs, are all in eastern York. This type of sign is in common use elsewhere in Yorkshire and beyond.

The Council should agree to add Wetherby Road to the trial locations.

In additional they should support residents calls for the occasional “deterrent” siting of the camera van on the urban section of Wetherby Road

Freedom of Information: some excellent responses but others evasive

Let’s start with an example of good practice.

The York Council was asked, via the “What do they know” web site, for information on the numbers of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued for Fly tipping, Fly posting and graffiti.  Similar information for other offences was already posted by the Authority on its open data website.

A response was provided within a few days with the Council agreeing to add information for fly tipping and flyposting to the Open Data website. This means that information will be updated regularly. The question about flyposting was prompted by an epidemic of “Fair” posters which appeared on the west of the City.

We look forward to the open data website being updated shortly

The York Council says that it does not hold statistics on the number of prosecutions for graffiti which have been undertaken. It points to the police as a potential source of information claiming that the force could extract graffiti cases from the more general “criminal damage” heading.

We have had less luck with North Yorkshire Police.

We have been attempting for over a year now to get speed and casualty information from them in an attempt to understand how it drives the deployment of their speed camera vans.

We wanted to see trend information for sites regularly monitored by the vans. We expected that management information would demonstrate that the mean/average speeds recorded showed a downward trend, that the number of vehicles exceeding the prevailing limit would be falling and that accident levels on the monitored roads would also be showing a downward trend.

The most recent report from the police indicates that they don’t hold any of this information nor have they tried to correlate the stats provided by NYFR when they deploy their speed monitoring equipment on road around the county.

We find it astonishing that objective results figures of this sort are not being regularly monitored by those managing the, very expensive, camera van programme.

Nor can the York Council bask in any glory. In February, we asked which businesses had not paid their NNDR (Rates) bills in each of the last 3 years.

The request was turned down on the, entirely specious, grounds that it might influence the result of a by election which was taking place last February. Eventually the Information Commissioner ruled that the information had to be released and it duly was on 26th September.

It revealed that the Council were chasing £576,803.04 in arrears that had accumulated over the last 3 years.

The response did not reveal the names of the businesses involved.

We asked for that information on 1st October but, as yet, we have had no reply.

Traffic calming for Thoresby Road?

Scheme could cost £41,000!

With no recorded accidents over the last 3 years and mean traffic speeds only 21 mph, it is something of a surprise that Council officials are considering installing speed humps on Thoresby Road.

There have been some complaints about speeding in the past but, partly because of the narrow carriageway and also significant levels of on street parking, high speeds are the exception rather than the rule.

There is more concern from residents about vehicle speeds on the neighbouring St Stephens Road which is a through route and used as a short cut by some drivers.

The possibility of installing speed humps or repeater 20 mph speed limit warning signs will be considered at a meeting taking place next week

A new parking lay-by is planned for construction outside the Thoresby Road flats between The Reeves and St Stephens Road (low numbers).

Councillors are being recommended to defer any changes until the effects of the lay-by on driver behaviour is clearer.

Reporting poor driving – “Operation Spartan”

It is two years since the North Yorkshire Police launched “Operation Spartan”. It provided concerned residents with the opportunity to give the police details of poor driving practices across the county.

In York concerns about poor driving have concentrated on misuse of mopeds and well as the modified cars. Some roads like Bellhouse Way have seen problems for several months but when routinely reported to the police for enforcement action, the drivers have usually long since departed the scene.

Residents are being requested to submit details of instances of dangerous or anti-social driving they have witnessed to the Police using this “on line” form (click)

The police Facebook page is

Vehicle activated speed sign removed

Faulty speed sign on Wetherby Road last week

The faulty speed sign on Wetherby Road has been removed by the Council.

The road has a problem with speeding traffic. 20% of vehicles were activating the sign when last checked.

However some of the matrix lights are faulty and this involves replacing the whole assembly.

Concerns have been expressed that the Council may abandon these types of sign with some claiming that they have little effect.

We would dispute that.

Anyone standing near such a sign  will see numerous drivers applying the foot brake when a sign flashes: suggesting that they do have the effect of alerting many motorists to the dangers of exceeding the 30 mph limit.

We would like to see the Council use the site to trial an alternative type of sign. In other parts of the country Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) display the actual speed of approaching vehicles while some give a thumbs up to drivers who are below the limit. These seem to be more effective.

We think that occasional high profile visits from one of the North Yorkshire police cameras vans would provide additional reassurance for those local residents struggling to exit from their driveways where visibility is limited.

In the longer term, it is likely that cars will be equipped with technology which warns drivers of the prevailing speed limit.

Potentially vehicle speeds could actually be governed to the prevailing limit,.


York police rolling out mini speed camera vans

The number of camera vans operating in North Yorkshire has doubled.  Six new, smaller sized, vehicles are expected to concentrate on villages and “more built-up areas”

They’ll be added to the six transit-sized vans already in the force’s mobile “speedcam” fleet. Chief Constable Dave Jones says the new vans mean drivers are likely to be caught on camera “in areas they didn’t previously expect”

The announcement will reawaken the controversy about how effective the police policy is on controlling vehicle speeds.

The force says, “Our mobile safety camera vehicles aim to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and serious injuries on our roads”.

FOI requests asking for trend data on average speeds – and accident rates – on roads subject to regular speed camera visits were ignored last year.

So all we know is that around £1 million a year is being taken in fines and “speed awareness course” income. This effectively pays for the camera vans and is a powerful incentive to use them where non compliance is at its most likely (essentially on trunk roads)

North Yorkshire speed stats

In effect the only success measure that is published is the number of vehicles found to be exceeding the speed limit on a day. This data can be viewed by clicking here

The Police site also lists the roads which are currently liable to be monitored

In York the list currently is:


  • Tadcaster Road Dringhouses York
  • Strensall Road Huntington York
  • Church Lane, Wheldrake
  • Millfield Lane Poppleton York
  • A64 Eastbound Heslington York
  • A64 Westbound Heslington York
  • A64 Westbound Murton
  • A64 Westbound a Fulford
  • A64 Claxton
  • A19 Skelton
  • A64 Jack Daw Crag Overbridge-Westbound
  • A64 Jack Daw Crag Overbridge-Ebound
  • B1222 Cawood Junct of Kelfield-
  • B1217 Saxton
  • A59 Poppleton Road (Holgate)
  • A59 Boroughbridge Road (opposite shops)
  • A1036 Huntington South Moor

Wetherby Road speeding issues; Where now?

Wetherby Road VAS

Wetherby Road VAS

The minutes of last week’s transport meeting suggest that the Council will not trial the use of signs which display the actual speed that vehicles are travelling.

We think that this is a missed opportunity. The signs have  had some success when used elsewhere in the country.

On Wetherby Road the  Council will consider further whether to reduce the speed limit, between the A1237 and the start of the built up area, to 40 mph.

We doubt this will have much effect.

It was tried on Askham Lane with the intention of slowing traffic before it reached the 30 mph signs. On Askham Lane  vehicles entering the City also faced a mini roundabout and then speed cushions, but still some vehicles travel too fast for safety.

The simple fact is that most people driving in a rural unlit environment believe that the national speed limit is in operation.

The Council still plans to install cycle lanes on Wetherby Road. It is claimed that these will “focus” drivers attention on the road and make them more aware of speed.

We doubt that the lanes will have any effect on habitual speeders.

One suggested change, which could prove very dangerous, is a plan to remove the centre line from the road. Centre lines, and cats eyes, are an important point of reference for drivers particularly during periods of heavy rain or in foggy conditions.

We hope that this aspect  of the Councils plan – at least – will be quietly dropped.

The proposals are now subject to public consultation .

NB. We expect the Council now to replace the faulty speed warning sign which was located on the outward lane of the road



Where next with flashing speed signs?

The Council says it is reviewing the use of Vehicle Activated Signs.

These signs, which typically flash the prevailing speed limit to approaching vehicles, were introduced in York about 10 years ago.

Flashing speed signs  indicating those that are afulty

Flashing speed sign locations indicating those that are faulty

York locations where speed is a concern  Click to enlarge

York locations where speed is a concern Click to enlarge

They are now seen across the country with many now using a system which alerts drivers to their actual speed.

Sadly the Council has not maintained the signs in York and several have not been working for many months.

Those that are faulty include the sign on Wetherby Road on the outbound carriageway. This was a problem location with the blind bend making it potentially hazardous  for drivers reversing into their driveways.

A report to a meeting next week identifies £50,000 which will be used to repair the faulty signs. The signs have had some success as anyone, who watches vehicles approaching an illuminated sign, will often see brake lights being applied by speeding drivers.

List of street where layout changes are proposed. Click to enlarge

List of street where layout changes are proposed. Click to enlarge

We think that a trial, where the actual speed of the vehicle is displayed, should be implemented  in the City.

There is also now a “smart” sign available which records the actual speed of passing vehicles (but not the identity) which would give traffic engineers valuable information about behaviours but without the need to set up special equipment.

Another  concern is the suggestion that the signs may only be used where an accident has been reported in the previous three years.  

Whereas accident locations should get priority for signs and camera enforcement, we believe that sites where a significant proportion of vehicles exceed the 30 mph limit, would also justify maintenance of the signs.

The report proposes action to reduce speeding at 16 sites.  Most involve low cost lane marking changes. A complete list of detailed proposals for all locations can be viewed by clicking here

A list of sites to be reassessed – which includes Green Lane and Askham Lane – can be viewed by clicking here

There are three roads – including Moor Lane in Woodthorpe and two roads in Copmanthorpe – which have acknowledged speeding issues which have still to be addressed

Wetherby Road

At Wetherby Road officials propose the introduction of cycle lanes.

 They don’t claim that there are large numbers of cyclists using this section of the highway (a new off road route for cyclists linking Rufforth was opened recently) but they claim that lanes – and the removal of central markings – would prompt drivers to be more cautious.

We have our doubts about that.

As a minimum, we would like to see the area added to the rota of visits by the Police speed camera van.

The faulty speed warning sign also needs to be repaired quickly.

Wetherby Road proposed highway layout changes click to enlarge

Wetherby Road proposed highway layout changes click to enlarge

12 month gap in York Councils speed check data …… accident levels up

A report to a Council meeting taking place next week has admitted that there have been no vehicle speed checks undertaken in the City for over 12 months.
Serious  road traffic accident levels in York up during last three years

Serious road traffic accident levels in York up during last three years

The equipment is used to build up a picture of the speeds that traffic using specific roads has apparently been faulty.  The equipment is normally used by the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service although its maintenance (and replacement) rests with the Police Commissioners Office in Northallerton.

Roads awaiting speed monitoring equipment  Click to access

Roads awaiting visit from  speed monitoring equipment Click to access

Judging by published meeting minutes, the issue of the missing equipment does not appear to have been discussed by any committee of either the Police or Fire Authorities. It is mentioned only by the York Council in an annual speed management update.  Money taken from speeding fines was used to purchase new equipment in July although “teething problems” prevented it being used for three months.

There is a backlog of 45 sites where speed surveys are required. Some date back 2 years.

The Police have continued to use their camera vans to monitor “problem” locations but they rarely use them for “reassurance” visits roads like Green Lane and Wetherby Road.  20 mph speed limits

Residents remain concerned about vehicles speeds (in both locations vehicle activated warning signs are in operation – and they are triggered by about 25% of passing vehicles).

The Council promises that the results of all speed checks will in future be made available publicly on a “Traffic Bureau web site”.

An electronic form which would allow residents to report speeding concerns was promised over 5 years ago. Officials claim that its introduction is now imminent.

Wetherby Road traffic speeds – residents act

Speed signs Wetherby Road 2

Speed signs Wetherby Road

As we have reported before, residents are becoming irritated by the large proportion of drivers who are activating the 30 mph warning signs.

There have been no police checks on speeds for several years with the road excluded from the list of mobile camera sites.

A few weeks ago the Police launched their self help speed monitor but it is a time consuming and often ineffective way of controlling speeds.

There is a particular problem on Wetherby Road as residents need to reverse into their driveways and visibility is limited.

The Council has made provision in its budget to refresh the flashing Vehicle Activated Signs but when this will happen remains to be seen.

Meanwhile more basic signs have appeared on the road.

Wetherby Road VAS

Wetherby Road VAS