Following on from our story yesterday, there has been some progress with getting cycle paths cleared of overgrowth
Workers were out on the SUSTRANS York – Riccall path today. They had cleared vegetation blockages from about 50% of the track by mid afternoon. They hadn’t reached the path near Riccall whichsuffers the worst obstructions
Meanwhile Highways England have tweeted (left) to say that the section of cycle path next to the A64 will be cleared later this month
The York Council responded today to say that the section of cycle track on Tadcaster Road next to the golf course had been cleared. Sadly, on checking today, we found that it hadn’t been touched.
Volunteers have been working recently to renovate a BMX track adjacent to the York-Selby cycle path. It is located near the former Escrick Sidings site about halfway between Bishopthorpe and Riccall. It is not ready for use yet but could be an attractive option for enthusiasts later in the summer.
Nearby a bulldozer and excavator were levelling the former sidings site itself earlier in the week.
Following land-fill with builders rubble, the site had been earmarked 20 years ago for use as a small nature area. Little work actually took place. The area regenerated naturally and a picnic area was briefly established (but it become overgrown).
The site had been sold to the builder by SUSTRANs who manage the adjacent cycle path.
It is unclear whether the excavation work is relying on an old planning permission as there is no record of any recent proposals, for use of the Sidings, on the Selby Council web site.
The York Greenwaysgroup have taken an interest in the site from time to time over the years
It would be good if the land owners could display notices explaining what is happening at the Sidings and to what timescales.
Sustrans, who manage the York – Selby cycle path, are consulting on the work that they they hope to undertake on the trees and bushes which are adjacent to the path.
Already some work has started on removing invasive and self seeded trees the roots of which have damaged the adjacent cycle path.
The consultation takes a deeper look at the future of the green corridor.
Invasive Himalayan balsam would be removed while an effort would be made to introduce tansy into the grassland sward to support the tansy beetle.
Near Bishopthorpe, some fruit trees may be planted.
We think that most cycle path users will welcome this initiative from Sustrans.
We only hope that repairs to the surface of the cycle path will start quickly now.
Too many sections of the route have been made hazardous by root damage.
No news yet on when the promised improvements, to the York Council maintained section of the cycle path between Tadcaster Road and the A64, will start. Improvements were promised as part of the plan to provide a new clubhouse and pitches for Bishopthorpe FC.
The clubhouses itself – although currently mired in mud – is making progress but no start date for the promised path upgrade has been given.
This section of track is also now subject to tree root damage.
UPDATE – Just as we published we got the following response from SUSTRANs
Yes, we are aware of the problem with this path either side of the York / Selby boundary and at time of heightened usage of all of our traffic-free routes around York due to the coronavirus lockdown.
We’ve done some initial estimating of cost for the whole section that needs resurfacing, which comes to £446,000 approx. – a sum that Sustrans on its own cannot afford as I’m pleased to see you recognise
However, Selby DC (copied in) also have this on their radar and have indicated a strong willingness to work with ourselves and City of York to find the necessary funding.
I’m in discussion with land management / estates colleagues within Sustrans to identify how much we may be able to contribute, and therefore how much is needed from LA partners / other funding sources.
The fact you’ve now raised this with relevant City of York councillor’s is very helpful. We’ll continue to bring all parties together to come up a with funding package that can deliver the necessary improvement as soon as possible.
We’ve suggested to SUSTRANs that they launch a crowd funding appeal to raise money for resurfacing parts of the York – Selby cycle path.
The path is very uneven in places as a result of tree root damage. At one location, the roots have now broken through the bitmac surfacing increasing the hazards for cyclists and walkers.
SUSTRANS describe themselves as the custodians of thenational cycle network. It is possible to make a donation towards their work via their web page but we think that a more focused campaign is needed if the York cycle path is to be properly funded.
The path has been heavily used during the health crisis with large number taking the opportunity to take some exercise in what is a relatively safe space. Many young children are getting their first taste of cycling on the track. It is the latter group for whom the surface represents a particular hazard.
SUSTRANs have yet to respond but we have had a prompt reply from Cllr John Galvin who represents that Bishopthorpe ward, in which part of the track is located. He has pledged his support for the appeal.
Any work would need to incorporate the use of root shields to ensure that any new surface continues to be useable for the foreseeable future.
Many of the problems occur in the section between Naburn and Riccall. We hope that the Government and local Councils will back the SUSTRANs charity if they launch a crowdfunding appeal.
Hopefully some donations will come from the hundreds of new users who are currently enjoying the facility.
NB. It appears that no application was made for support from the York Council’s £500,000 cycling budget which was delegated to be spent by local ward Councillors.