York Central – where next?

Following the recent decision by the Secretary of State not to call in the planning decision for York Central , City of York Council says it will “now continue to maintain momentum across the York Central site with the decision to release the next tranche of funding for the project”.

“The Council will now engage with its construction partner in finalising the design work for the enabling infrastructure; this includes the access road bridge and spine road through the site, a pedestrian bridge on Water End and a rail link to the NRM”.

There is no mention of addressing the “elephant in the room”. That is the major outstanding issue. – cycle/pedestrian movement from Leeman Road to the riverside and the City centre

The early plan showed a shared cycle track still using the (appalling) Marble Arch tunnel (which still has no waterproof membrane). Vehicle movements would be traffic light controlled, with public transport one of the main victims

This simply won’t do.

The Council needs to find an alternative route possibly via a new tunnel built to modern standards which provides access to the green spaces next to the river while also providing a traffic free cycle link to the City centre and beyond.

Te Council must address this issue in its imminent submission of a Reserved Matters planning application to open up the site.

The planning application will be funded partly by Homes England and partly from the York Central Capital budget agreed by Council in November 2018.

A report to the Councils Executive next week also sets out what opportunities can be taken, moving forward, to maximise the benefits of the York Central site; including a greater proportion of affordable homes, higher sustainable build standards, inclusion of York Central in the Clean Air Zone and an option to build a new bus lane ahead of schedule.

A report, published today, sets out the key benefits already secured, including:

·         extensive pedestrian and cycle route provision into and through the site

·         20% of homes available at affordable rates,

·         the highest sustainable design standards , and

·         around £15m developer contributions to improve transport infrastructure to encourage more bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

The report outlines that the council, while waiting for government decisions on planning and funding, will work with the York Central partnership to explore other measures to amplify these benefits.

For housing, this could mean a greater proportion of affordable homes, higher sustainable build standards and community self-build in early phases of the development.

To improve the environmental impact, the council could require sustainable energy generation on site, include York Central in the bus Clean Air Zone, increase the number of electric charging points and build a new bus lane ahead of schedule to increase more journeys by sustainable transport.

The report highlights the delays to the programme due to the referral of the planning decision to the Secretary of State, and the decision over an application for £77.1m to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. The report asks the council to allocate £750,000 to fund early contractor involvement to finalise a planning application for the bridge and spine road which will allow access to the site from Water End.


The York Central Partnership (YCP) members, Homes England, Network Rail, The Railway Museum and City of York Council, have been working collaboratively for the past four years to develop proposals and assemble a £155m funding package for infrastructure works to unlock the brownfield land. City of York’s Council has played a key role in providing significant funding streams to help deliver the project and fund the enabling access and infrastructure works.

York Central

The approved outline planning application includes proposals to build 2,500 homes, 20 per cent of which will be affordable, and a commercial quarter creating up to 6,500 jobs adding a £1.16 billion boost to the economy.

The Executive meeting takes place on 18th July. The York Central report can be found by clicking here.

Up a gear for cyclists in York?

There may be some new hope that cyclists will get a better deal from the new administration which is taking over at West Offices this week.

Both the LibDems and the Green Party promised better road surfaces in the City.

Potholes represent a particular hazard for cyclists.

There is talk of an emergency budget in June which would present an opportunity to rejig transport priorities.

We hope so.

In the slightly longer term, the Council needs to take a fresh look at its off road cycle network.

One notorious section in Acomb comes to a dead end in the middle of Front Street with no one apparently able to decide how to safely continue the route towards the Askham Lane and Foxwood areas.

In other areas stop gap measures, introduced 20 years ago, are still in place. These include the makeshift metal channels which were installed on the approaches to several railway bridges. They are supposed to make it easier for cyclists to push their machines up steep access stairways.

Bridge over Holgate sidings. Cycle access from Barbara Grove is steep. There is scope to construct a much gentler gradient.

In reality, it is often easier to carry the bike or – more likely – just take a longer and possibly more hazardous route using the ordinary road network

Traffic signals to be upgraded at Monks Cross junction

New traffic signals will be installed at the pedestrian crossing/road junction in Monks Cross this month, ahead of the new York Stadium and Leisure Complex opening later this year.

Outdated traffic signals at the junction of Kathryn Avenue and Jockey Lane at Monks Cross are set to be replaced by City of York Council.

Works will start on Monday 29 April and are estimated to take around four weeks to complete. The hours of working will be 7.30am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday and 9am – 3pm on Saturdays.

The new technology being installed will help to ease congestion in the area and enable the new systems to link direct to the council’s Traffic and Control Centre, so that Network Monitoring Officers can manage the flow of traffic better in busy periods.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum.

During the works it is anticipated that all bus services will operate as normal, however there will be delays when travelling through the junction. 

Temporary crossing points will be available at all times during the works to ensure that all pedestrian crossings that are currently available are maintained.  Traffic marshals will be on site between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week to assist with pedestrians crossing the road.

Residents are urged to plan ahead, allow more time for journeys on these routes and to consider alternatives and to use public transport where possible.

Bus services will be operating as normal for the majority of the works but passengers are requested to visit www.itravelyork.info/ for more information.

For information regarding the scheme during the works visit: www.york.gov.uk/KathrynAve

Huge York central development gets planning approval

A major development behind York railway station got the go ahead from the Planning Committee last night.

York Central site

It will provide hundreds of new homes and jobs over the next decade or so.

The site has been derelict, and mostly unused, for over 20 years. The progress made in bringing forward the site will probably be recorded by history as the major achievement of the current Council coalition administration.

The development is not without controversy.

The transport plans in particular lack the quality and imagination that many had hoped for. The developers will need to refine access arrangements from the City centre to Leeman Road particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Bus services must include a frequent park and ride link to off site parking spaces at Poppleton Bar.

Some courage will be needed if the site is to be declared an “ultra low emission zone”. Such a step would be an acknowledgement that the declaration of a “climate crisis” by the Council a few days ago was more than just rhetoric.

But overall the decision is a good one for the City, not least because it will reduce the pressure to build on green fields.

Hopefully we will see some development on site before the end of the year.

Lowfields residents update newsletter. Parking plan criticised as inadequate

The Lowfield Residents Group have criticised the Councils plan to provide only 2 alternative off street spaces to replace a parking lay-by on Tudor Road.  They are circulating a newsletter to affected residents (see below)

The existing 4 space lay-by will be lost when the Council, starts work on providing a new access road into the Lowfield site.

Part of the garden of an adjacent flat block (108 Tudor Road) is being used to provide 4 spaces but residents point out that Tudor Road, along with the adjacent Gale Lane, has on street parking restrictions.

This means that the Tudor Road bays are heavily used.  Occasionally drivers park on the garage forecourt opposite causing an obstruction.

More parking spaces are required.

At the other end of Tudor Road (low numbered) a communal housing experiment will see only 12 parking spaces provided for 19 properties. Some of the properties have 4 bedrooms. The occupants of similar properties elsewhere often have 2 or 3 cars.

All in all, we don’t think that the Council has got its transport and parking policies for the development right yet.

Ironically The Press is today running a story saying that life expectancy in the Westfield Ward is the lowest of any in the City.

We’ve pointed out to the Council that its relentless attack on open space and sports provision in the area is partly to blame.

Loss of the football pitch at Lowfields  is a major factor as is the threat to the bowling green on Front Street, the erosion of the Hob Moor playing field and the loss of the Kingsway all weather games area.

The playing field associated with Our Lady’s school has, of course, already been built on.

East Coast rail investment announcement doesn’t go far enough

The government have today announced funding for some improvement to the existing main line rail services in the region. The government claims that the work will see improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions across the East Coast route. New Intercity Express trains will be provided and  the Government claims northern commuters will benefit from “more seats and faster, more frequent journeys between Doncaster, Leeds and Newcastle”.

Local Councillor Andrew Waller said, “A reliable and properly funded East Coast Main Line is pivotal to our region’s growth and any investment to the line is welcome.  However, the Government’s approach to tackle these problems in a piecemeal way is not a strategic approach to solving the current capacity problem.  This is only a small step in addressing the imbalance of investment, which is currently focussed on London and the South East of England.  (more…)

Road works to start at Crockey Hill. Delays expected in new year.

A scheme to reduce congestion to the south of the city moves a step closer next week as preparatory works begin on site.

The works – which will not interrupt traffic – have to happen before the main construction to widen the A19 junction with Wheldrake Lane, at Crockey Hill can take place in the new year.

The works include removing invasive weed species (such as Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed), ten trees and diverting a gas pipeline which runs close to the junction.

While the council has designed the junction improvements to minimise the amount of trees affected, it will provide a more diverse wildlife habit by planting 37 trees of different species in the new year.

An extra southbound lane will be built on approach to, and through the junction in a bid to ease rush-hour congestion heading south out of York, particularly at the A64 Fulford Interchange.

There will be no disruption to traffic during the preparatory works, and residents will be given plenty of notice before the mains construction works begin in mid-January 2018.

This scheme is funded from the DfT’s Local Pinch Point Fund. (more…)

Cutting edge traffic light tech gets the green light in York

Beacons on traffic lights will be ‘talking’ to cars in York as intelligent transport technology is used to reduce congestion in the city.

City of York Council has won £2.85m funding for its revolutionary Smarter Travel Evolution Programme (STEP) from the local road network strand of the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund.

STEP takes advantage of York’s unparalleled ultra fast fibre optic connectivity and the cutting edge transport research the government is already funding in the city.

Detectors located on traffic lights, bollards and other street furniture will track vehicle movements by anonymous signatures collected from people using mobile data services. This will then be processed using the most sophisticated real-time traffic data and analysis in the country. The system will also be able to talk to the new generation of connected and ‘driverless’ vehicles.

Starting in April 2018, tnational productivity fundhe two year life of STEP will transform the way the council manages the city’s roads, from changes to how traffic lights react to traffic flows through to designing junctions and road improvements.

This will also allow the council to better understand and model the potential impact of changes and demands on the network such as new homes and employment sites are created.

STEP will also provide ready-made technology to communicate with the connected and autonomous vehicles which are predicted to revolutionise transport with this data. (more…)

Air quality in York shows further improvement

A six-year trend in air pollution reduction means that two of York’s three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) could be withdrawn in the next two years.

Falling concentrations of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is mainly from traffic, means that it is no longer having a health impact on people in those areas.

City of York Council’s annual air quality status report is being presented to the executive member for environment on 7 August for a decision-making session.

The report shows that the Salisbury Terrace AQMA has had nitrogen dioxide concentrations consistently below the level where it affects health for the last four years, so the AQMA for this area is recommended to be revoked.

The Fulford Road AQMA has been showing that, while average levels of pollutants are continuing to fall across the whole area, one location continues to show higher than permitted levels. Should another year of monitoring levels indicate a continued decline, that AQMA may be recommended to be reduced or revoked in 12 months time.

In the meantime, increased concentrations of NOmonitored on Coppergate could mean that, depending on monitoring data submitted early in 2018, the boundary of the city centre AQMA boundary may need to be amended. However changes in traffic restrictions and buses on this route may be responsible for the change in concentrations.

York’s Low Emission Strategy continues to deliver the air quality improvement measures in York’s third Air Quality Action Plan including:

  • 14% of York’s taxis have converted from diesel to ultra low emission electric hybrids since York’s unique taxi incentives and

    Electric buses have been introduced in York

  • new taxi licensing policy specifying minimum emission standards for new or replacement taxis
  • encouraging residents to walk, cycle and use public transport to beat congestion and pollution through the Local Transport Plan and i-Travel York
  • introducing electric buses on two Park&Ride routes with a third to be delivered via the new Park & Ride contract
  • retrofitting the world’s first electric double-decker sightseeing bus with plans to convert a further five diesel buses to full electric drive
  • City of York Council has been awarded £816,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) after becoming the only Yorkshire location out of eight in the country to achieve ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status. The money will be used to fund a city-wide network of charging hubs
  • implementing a ‘pay as you go’ fast charge public electric vehicle recharging network in addition to 11 publicly accessible rapid chargers across the city. 1,500 charges – including those made by electric buses – are made each month and are rising on a monthly basis.
  • Low Emission Planning guidance requires electric vehicle recharge infrastructure, Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs), and emissions mitigation plans on new building developments.

Idle-Free Zone, Turn Engine Off Sign

We are also currently considering the following air quality improvement measures:

  • reducing emissions from buses by developing a bespoke Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
  • introducing anti-idling measures via signage and a new anti-idling enforcement policy.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said: “While our sustained work on combating air pollution has made a significant contribution to improving air quality in York, it’s important to recognise that much still needs to be done.

“Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts – especially in children and older people – including contributing to the onset of heart disease and cancer and we will continue to work with partners to further improve the air we all breathe in the city.”

The full report can be read at http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=870&MId=10031&Ver=4

Hyper electric vehicle charging points could be installed next year

Scarborough Bridge cycle/footpath redesign: consultation starts

To help provide better accessibility, connectivity & more capacity, the council is consulting with residents, commuters and visitors on the construction of a new shared use bridge over the River Ouse.

The idea of such a link was first floated over 10 years ago so any progress is likely to be welcomed in the City

The new bridge will replace the current crossing adjacent to Scarborough Bridge, providing a much wider and accessible facility. The current narrow crossing is used by over 2,600 pedestrians and 600 cyclists on average each day. This is despite it having steep steps and being inaccessible for people with mobility issues.

The new bridge will be suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs and those with mobility issues. It will include ramps, as well as stepped access so that a wider range of users are catered for. Furthermore, the new bridge will be accessible during flood events, which the current footbridge is not.

Executive member for transport and planning, Cllr Ian Gillies, said: “This is a great opportunity for York to improve a key  route linking several important sites across the city. I hope residents and visitors will be forthcoming with their views about the new bridge so that we can ensure that it is suitable for the many people that I am sure will be using it in the future.”

This new bridge will provide a traffic-free, scenic and direct link for residents, commuters and tourists, on foot or bike, between York station, the city centre and residential suburbs located on the opposite side of the river.

This will also improve the connectivity of the National Cycle Network (routes 65 and 658) as well as providing an improved traffic-free route to the York Central site to the west of the station.

People will be able to view the plans and discuss this proposal with the project manager at an exhibition in the York Train Station foyer from 1pm – 6pm on Wednesday 12 July, and 8am – 1pm on Thursday 13 July.

Have your say by sending your comments to scarboroughbridge@york.gov.uk or post to: Scarborough Bridge Consultation, City of York Council, Transport Projects, Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York YO10 3DS.

The council, in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme and Network Rail are undertaking the consultation. All feedback will be carefully considered and included in a report to the executive member for transport and planning for a decision on how to proceed later in the summer.

For more information visit www.york.gov.uk/scarboroughbridge