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

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

Resurfaced lane near Rufforth better for cyclists

The Council have completed repairs on Bradley Lane. The road links Rufforth and Askham Richard and is popular with leisure cyclists.

There is less good news closer to York. The cycle/footpath underpass at the A59/A1237 junction is obstructed by a thorn bush.

Adjacent drainage channels are also overgrown with weeds.

The issues were reprted sevral weeks ago and should by now have been cleared by the Council.

£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.

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.

Active travel plans mired in poor prioritisation

Predictably, last week, work on several cycling improvements were shelved. Preliminary studies found some schemes (which, in truth, always looked to be a triumph of optimism over hard facts) to be either impractical or unaffordable.

Among them was the – worthy – proposal to widen the path across the river and railway on the A1237 near Poppleton.

The path is currently a shared use facility for much of its length although cyclists are advised to dismount when crossing the bridge itself. There is room for two cyclists to pass but HGVs can come intimidatingly close to users of the path.

Rawcliffe LibDem Councillors launched a petition in favour of change

Councillors in Rawcliffe argued for the project to continue in some way and the executive Councillor for Transport asked for a feasibility study to be undertaken on a stand alone bridge.

This seems to be an unlikely way forward.

The widened path at Scarborough Bridge in the City centre took 6 years to get off the drawing board and cost over £4.4 million. ….and that was for a joint use path which only crossed one river.

A route from the A 59 to Shipton Road, incorporating a stand alone bridge, could cost around £10 million. That is far beyond the transport budgets which are likely to be available in the near future.

Clearly there is scope for better signage on the route, but the most immediate improvement would be a relatively inexpensive one.

The path is currently obstructed by thorn bushes and nettles at several points.

It would seem to be sensible to prioritise cutting back the undergrowth to maximize the width of the existing path.

Indeed many will feel that this should be done routinely by the Council at vulnerable locations like these.

Dry weather brings different issues

No weather for ducks as village pond set to dry up.

The weather means that more paths are becoming overgrown. There has been a longstanding issue on the Rufforth – Knapton cycle path near the tip where there has been an obstruction for several months. That has now been cut back by volunteers today.

Elsewhere on the path nearer Rufforth, the section which is maintained by the York Council, has been overgrown by brambles. These branches can be particularly hazardous for cyclists as they extend at eye height. We reported them to the Council. for attention.

We believe that the York Council must put into place and inspection and basic maintenance regime on all its cycle network.

A different kinds of problem on Knapton Lane (below) where tree detritus is now blocking the drainage gulleys

Detritus blocking gully’s on some roads

Better news on Wetherby Road where the resurfacing work has been completed. Only refreshed white lines now outstanding

NB. A small amount of rainfall is expected over the weekend

Mixed picture on public service standards

It looks like the York Council have finally found a tin of white paint. After two years of complaining about faded road and cycle path markings, some pr0gress has been made.

Some cycle path markings have been renewed

On the other hand., more and more paths are becoming obstructed by overgrowth