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

Weed killer trial failing

The York Council decided some 6 months ago to trial the reduced use of weed killer in some parts of the City. Councillors volunteered their wards for the trial which involved 2 treatments of weed killer a year instead of three. In parts of Fisergare, no weed treatment would take place.

Some verges weren’t cut this year

Weeds are controlled by the Council on hartdsurfaceds including gutters and paths. The aim is to ensure that surfaces are safe to walk on and to avoid blockages to drains.

The trial idea arose out of a proposal to stop the use of weed killers altogether in the wake of concerns about the safety of glyphosate which was an active ingredient in many weed killers until recently.

Those who thought that labour would be available to strim vulnerable areas and improve sweeping standards were quickly disabused of their views as the Council found it impossible to recruit staff to even cut grass verges, many of which became badly overgrown.

Several cycle paths have also been obstructed this summer.

The Council is now discussing when to start the third weed spray. Councillors are being asked how well the trial has been going. Most have been underwhelmed.

One area that has fared poorly is Leeman Road. Gutters are choked with weeds while paved areas (which could have been adapted to accommodate wildflowers) are also blighted.

One Councillor has responded by saying, “Most of the associated actions aimed at reducing the need for spraying such as better physical cleaning of traffic islands, gullies etc continue to be ignored, huge areas of the city remain abandoned with weeds blowing in the wind to complete the cycle of stupidity.It’s pitiful”.

Mixed news for cyclists in York

Obstructions cleared

Overgrowth has been cleared from the York – Selby cycle path near London Bridge. The path had become overgrown over the last few weeks and was reduced to a single file. The improvement followed the intervention of local Councillor Paula Widdowson..

There are hopes that there will be further improvements to this section of the track with work starting in the autumn

Cycle path now clear of obstructions

Active Travel England & York

Media announcement in January 2022.

There was much excitement earlier in the year when the government announced that “Active Travel England” (ATE) would be located in York. An immediate search for suitable premises was launched with the promise that the decision would bring around 100 jobs to the City.

Since then things have gone ominously quiet, even though – as we reported yesterday – there is plenty of vacant office space in the City.

Active Travel England has been actively recruiting with a £110,000 a year Chief Executive being appointed.

Government programme funding has also been allocated,

There are now rumours that Active Travel England will not be coming to York this summer.

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