Wetherby Road traffic speed petition handed to Council

Cllr Andrew Waller has today handed a petition to the City of York Council asking them to address speeding concerns on Wetherby Road.

The move comes only a few days before work at the nearby roundabout junction with the A1237 is due to reach its final stages. Residents are concerned that the easier access to and from the roundabout will result in higher speeds in the built-up area.

About twelve months ago a flashing speed warning sign was removed form the road. The petition calls for it to be reinstated and the Police mobile camera van to pay occasional visits to the street.

When the flashing sign was working around 39% of passing vehicles trigger it, suggesting that there was already a speeding issue on the road.

Some residents have suggested that any new sign should display the actual speed of the passing vehicle. This type of sign has proved to be effective in neighbouring counties in reinforcing the speeding message to motorist.

The petition will now be considered by the Council prior to a report and recommendations for action being published.

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,.


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

Tadcaster Road speed limit sign – Council explanation

VAS & car

The York Council has claimed that the new vehicle activated speed sign on Tadcaster Road will flash on whenever a vehicle approaches it WHATEVER SPEED IT IS DOING.

The matrix sign has apparently been installed by the Fire and Rescue Service and, although identical in appearance to the type of sign fitted by the Council on streets like Moor Lane, it is triggered by any approaching vehicle.

From observations it would seem also to be sensitive to vehicles travelling away from the sign on the other side of the road.

While the intention is to remind drivers of the speed limit on the road (30 mph in the case of Tadcaster Road), it does seem likely to cause confusion in some driver’s minds.

Many will expect such signs to be triggered only by those travelling in excess of the speed limit (as happens on Moor Lane).

The sign is likely to be in place for about 2 weeks.

New speed warning sign on Tadcaster Road on the blink

A new vehicle activated speed warning sign has been installed on Tadcaster Road near its junction with Mayfield Grove.

New VAS on Tadcaster Road

New VAS on Tadcaster Road

Several dozen of the signs have been in use in York for the last 5 years. They are triggered when an approaching vehicle is detected to be over the 30 mph speed limit.

They are a warning to drivers. No details are retained by a camera.

However the new device on Tadcaster Road was today flashing a 30 mph warning message to virtually all approaching vehicles irrespective of their speed.

Those apparently exceeding the speed limit included service buses.

Local LibDem Councillor Ann Reid has raised concerns about Tadcaster Road which does have a poor speed and accident record. The Council is right to try to address these issues.

However, the new VAS was installed without any consultation and needs to be properly calibrated if it is to have any credibility.

NB. Over the last 5 months the Police camera van has caught over 200 motorists on Tadcaster Road breaking the speed limit.