Footpath obstructions information request – still no reply after over 2 months

Last year cycling campaigners asked for the path over the river Ouse on the A1237 near Poppleton to be widened to encourage more cyclists.

The request was eventually turned down with the York Council claiming that the bridge was structurally unable to accommodate the change.

The focus then turned to the existing – quite narrow – path which is shared by both cyclists and pedestrians. It was pointed out that both over and under-growth reduced the path, in places, to a single file. There was a quick win available if the Council moved quickly cut back the vegetation.

In July the Council said that it wouldn’t do so immediately, but that the work would be done as part of its routine maintenance programmes.

We’ve heard that one before! Cyclical maintenance regimes are a thing of the past, so we submitted a Freedom of Information request which asked where residents could view these maintenance schedules. Armed with that information taxpayers would at least know when to expect the maintenance teams to arrive.

But no reply has been received despite that request being well beyond the legal date by which a response should have been sent.

Meanwhile, the position of pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge has not improved. There is still a lot of overgrowth.

In addition, the access path surfaces are beginning to subside with several potentially hazardous cracks having appeared on the section near the Park and Ride site

Public services facing uphill struggle to maintain standards

Litter a problem on some streets

The amount of litter on the streets has increased dramatically in the wake of new bin emptying arrangements. In some areas, collection of recycling was suspended on Monday because of the funeral Bank Holiday.

Some residents hadn’t read the publicity and left insecure recycling boxes out for collection. In other cases green bins, the emptying of which was also suspended on Monday and Tuesday, are also still on the streets.

Walker Drive potholes

In effect, that means that the majority of waste (recycling plus green bin) will not be collected until October.

Elsewhere the Council’s highways maintenance arragements continue to be inadequate. Roads like Walker Drive have a large number of potholes. They will increasein size and depth when frosty weather arrives.

The potholes pose a hazard particularly for two wheeled transport users.

Put simply, the Council is not investing enough in its resurfacing programmes. It may already be in breach of its obligations under the Highways Act.

In turn this could lead to complaints to the Ombudsman.

Council maintained hedges have not been cut

Ironically, the Council has started using Twitter to ask hedge and tree owners to cut back any branches whihc are obstructing roads, paths and street lights.

It is ironic because the Council’s own programme of hedge cutting has once again proved to be inadequate in recent weeks.

Freedom of Information request made two months ago, and which asked for copies of maintenance schedules to be published, has so far not been answered.

The Council appears unwilling to use the powers available to it under the 1980 Highway Act to require obstructions to be removed.

Until recently the Council would remind individual hedge owners that they needed to keep the public highway free of overgrowth. If work wasn’t carried out, then the council would cut the hedge and recharge the owner for the work.

The current Council is, howver, not using fully the powers that it has to keep our highways safe

1980 Highways Act

More problems with hedges obstructing footpaths

York Press 1/9/22

According to The Press (left), the North Yorkshire County Council is warning hedge owners to keep them cut back from paths and highway infrastructure.

They are right to do so.

Highways Act 1980

The York Council should follow their example and use its powers under the Highway Act to get obstructions removed.

Foxwood

In some cases the Council’s own maintenance process has failed although it was good to see some communal hedges in Foxwood being cut back earlier today (right)

But there are still too many places where hedges and trees are obstructing street lights.

Thorn branches extending onto footpaths in several locations will present a particular hazard as darker nights roll in.

Every year the same problem areas have to be reported suggesting that routine maintenance schedules simply aren’t being adhered to.

So we hope that the York Council will get on top of the issue quickly now

£1.5 million playing fields unused during school holidays

It looks like officials are not encouraging the casual use of the expensive new pitches which have been provided near Sim Balk Lane. They were intended as a replacement for facilities lost at Lowfields through building works.

No casual use of sports field

A couple of youngsters were kicking in today but the goalposts have been taped up to prevent use.

It is a real shame that more couldn’t have been done during the school holidays on what is a hugely expensive development. The last estimate was over £1.7 ,million with over a £1 million coming from taxpayers

The final bills aren’t in yet with long outstanding work on the cycle path access still to start. This is now expected to begin in September…

In the meantime, this part of the York – Tadcaster cycle path is badly overgrown. Graffiti is a continuing major issue at London Bridge.

Good news as York – Tadcaster cycle path now clear of obstructions

We reported overgrowth that was obstructing the York to Tadcaster cycle track on a couple of occasions over the last couple of months. It is a recurring problem each year and is a particular problem near the Pike Hills golf course. That particular section became impassible for wheelchair users a couple of weeks ago.

National Highway Yorkshire have now removed the blockages. Sight lines have also been cut back.

Hopefully the problem locations will be put on a routine cutting schedule next summer.

Access to Hob Moor better this summer – less overgrowth

Perhaps because of the attention given to the barriers following a false start when modifying the Hob Moor cycle by pass, lanes, the rest of the infrastructure is in better condition this summer.

Last year the two of the Hob Moor access points were obstructed by vegetation. This year, the disabled “RADAR” access gates are largely free of obstructions.

We have taken the opportunity to cut back bramble branches and also to lubricate the locks (which are in good condition).

A coat of paint wouldn’t go amiss while other infrastructure on the path such as direction signage remains in poor condition.

It seems that the path still hasn’t been added to the weed treatment schedule. The section behind Windsor Garth (below) remains overgrown with nettles and other weeds.

Path missed off weed treatment programme?

The absence of cattle from the moor – they recently returned to the North Lane pasture – resulted in the Council mowing the moor. . This may be bad news for some wildlife including ground nesting birds.

It is a real shame that the extended cattle grids , which are aimed at preventing cows from escaping though the cycle lane – weren’t provided before the pedal catcher plinths were removed.

The Council hopes that by retaining the shoulder pads that motorcyclists will be discouraged from entering and damaging the moors eco system.

So far, we have heard no complaints about motorcyclists disturbing the peace of neighbouring residents.

Parts of Hob Moor have been mown.

Path now inaccessible for wheelchair users; difficult for cyclists.

UPDATE 1st August: We understand that the obstructions are due to be dealt with this week.

We were promised a month ago by Highways Yorkshire that obstructions on the path that links York to Tadcaster – along the side of the A64 – would be cleared.

Unfortunately the overgrowth has since got worse and the path near the golf club (A1037) is now inaccessible for wheelchair users. it is difficult for cyclists.

Basically this happens every summer with routine maintenance virtually non existent.

It is a shame because the path is more likely to be used during periods of good weather at this time of year.

Brambles an increased risk for wheelchair users

It’s the time of year when brambles can grow very quickly They represent a particular hazard on cycle and footpaths. Branches often extend across paths at eye height. This is a particular risk for wheelers who may be moving at speed and not notice a branch against a dark background.

Although we urge residents to report issues to the Council, we recognise that their response can be slow. We recently reported overgrowth on the A1237 path between Poppleton and Rawcliffe and have been told that it will be attended to but only during routine maintenance work. The summer may be over by then

So the more cyclists and walkers who keep a set of secateurs in their pocket and do a bit of DIY pruning as they find hazards the better.

The branch was obstructing a path near Rufforth. A hazardous height for wheelers. We’ve trimmed it back from the path
Probably the worst example of hazardous overgrowth in west York. This one is on the cycle path underpass at the A59/A1237 junction.
We’ve reported this fly tipping on Askham Lane