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Photo number:
Photo #191338

[Image created 23.2.23] Crichton Avenue - Wigginton Road - Foss Islands Path - Denning's Yard Access, York. (Street view satellite view On 17.2.23 planning permission was granted for the development of Denning's Yard (overview and links: #187856).

[UPDATE to assertion below: The CYC walking and cycling officer has now met me here four times. Therefore he has spent time in situ and seen some of variety of users, the number of users and how many people push due to the gradient, for example.]

I have not been able to obtain confirmation from CYC:
- it knows thousands of people use Foss Islands Path to/from Crichton Avenue each day [See 'NOTE 24.2.23' and NOTE 24.3.23 below];
- it recognises it must create a safe convenient straightforward way for these NMUs (non motorised users/active travellers) to cross Denning's Yard access during the clearing of the site, the construction phase and afterwards when the homes are occupied and the allotments in use;

[UPDATE: On 10.3.23 I received an email from the CYC planning officer. It said: "Please find attached the decision notice. I note your comments, but do not consider it necessary to meet on site." I was due at a meeting at the location within 20 minutes. I skim-read the attachment but could not find a mention of what was planned to enable the safe, not unduly delayed crossing of Denning's Yard access for NMUs. So, I rang the officer. He said "in terms of construction safety" CYC had not considered it justifiable to require the developers to contribute to/make any changes. He asked me why the junction had been redesigned [if it did not meet needs]. I said/hope I said it was the result of a so-called upgrade of existing light crossings [TSAR scheme]. It was not about a review of the NMU network. ] This means it is down to CYC engineers to design a solution (with no funding from the developers) to keep people crossing without undue delay and safely]

- it understands there are two desire lines across the access;
- it agrees the route meets no standards;
- it is aware the route fails many people and the numbers being excluded (making no journeys) or deterred (making fewer journeys);
- it needs to look at the area as a whole and address the problems with a large and ambitious scheme that will be comfortable and convenient for future growth.

Foss Islands Path was built in 1994. It wasn’t designed to accommodate the numbers of people or the designs of cycles that use it or who could use it. The users range from families on foot going to local nurseries and primary schools, through hire e-scooters to e-cargo cycles used by commercial companies.

At the end where it joins Crichton Avenue – over Denning’s Yard access – it is in the cutting where the rail line ran. However, the route to/from it crosses a rail line considerably far above that level.

The route is narrow, steep, has limited or no sight lines, width restrictions in the form of bollards, is slippery in wet weather, icy conditions or when there are leaves on it.

It does not meet current standards and will not accommodate future growth.

There are large residential developments currently under construction within easy cycling and, in most cases, walking, distances of this point.

There are plans in York to expand last mile deliveries by cargo cycle and scope to extend operations of the delivery companies currently operating with cargo cycles and for new ones to start.

Personal cargo cycle use, including of high value designs bought instead of a second car is on the up. York residents are following the national trend and getting an e-cargo cycle for transporting dependants, kit or pets, or for making utility trips such as to the supermarket or the allotment. The number of cargo cycles around the city has visibly increased in past couple of years. This growth has not happened in the north of the city due to the physical barriers that block the routes. When these barriers are removed the number of cargo cycles will increase on this side of the city, too and put further pressure on the Crichton Avenue-Denning’s Yard access-Foss Islands Path link.

At present many people can’t use the route, are deterred from using it (and so make fewer active travel journeys than they could or would like to), or will stop using it as they find it increasingly difficult or unpleasant to do so (see: #189802, #189800).

Yet this is a route that links wards in which around one third (Clifton, Heworth) and 50 per cent of households (Guildhall) do not have access to a motor vehicle. Two of the city's most deprived neighbourhoods are within, respectively, approx 100m and 500m of Denning's Yard access.

It is a route that links homes with health care including two hospitals, schools, two universities, a public pool, a theatre, supermarkets at Clifton Moor and James Street/Foss Islands Way retail parks, places of worship, a theatre… People also use it for leisure and for commuting.

And that’s another reason it has become difficult or unattractive for people to use: the variety of speeds of users. Students and commuters on e-scooters, commercial operators using e-cargo cycles can be are moving fast: up to 15.5mph. The entry to Foss Islands Path from Crichton Avenue is on a very steep incline. People on cycles and scooters heading towards Foss Islands over Denning’s Yard access have gravity on their side. Other users are pushing buggies, using wheeled walkers, carrying children or shopping. Many people - include young ones - push their cycles up this slope and continue pushing up Crichton Avenue to the highest point where it crosses the York Scarborough rail line. People getting off and pushing is a clear sign the route is not fit for purpose.

When clearing and construction starts at Denning’s Yard, there is no safe way for motor vehicles to enter the site. Unless addressed, this will be the case when the homes are built and occupied and the allotments in use.

There is no safe or convenient way to keep the thousands of NMU moving over the access road.

What’s needed is a 'drone eye view' (see: #191780) that looks at the problems in the context of a wider area: as per my diagram.

York's residents need and deserve an ambitious scheme that addresses all the current issues. We need a genuine solution that enables people to continue to make journeys actively. We need infrastructure that is practical and comfortable such that excluded users can return or and people who have never used it start to walk, cycle or wheelchair for some or more of their journeys. We need a scheme that delivers real choice now and in the future.

But the plan needs to be worked up now and to start before development begins.

It needs to be done now as it will use land included in the planning application.

It needs to be done now as it will change the line of the access road.

It needs to be done now because it requires working with Sustrans.

The map tries to show what I think is needed.

The solid green line is a new shared route between the highest point of Crichton Avenue road bridge (south side) and Foss Islands Path. It needs to be at least 6m and it needs to be much much less steep. Therefore it needs to be much longer and have much wider curves for even the longest of cycles (cargo cycles with a trailer, for example).

(Searching for 'spiral' found a couple of examples of where height is lost and gained over a much longer distance:
#91564, #102975, #110939.

There is an example in Acton, London that shows promise: #191923.

In the Netherlands, there is the Dafne Schippersbrug #183259

In Denmark, there's the Snake Bridge in Copenhagen

and in Belgium, there is the cycling through the trees path

My suggestion crosses Denning’s Yard access much further back from Wigginton Road. It runs into Foss Islands Path where the latter is already level (see: #189797,

This also benefits people using the current steep link between Wigginton Road and Foss Islands Path (see: #189801, #190044, #189799). The entrance to this link route would be improved by widening the mouth, making the incline shallower, massively widening it to be able to accommodate current and future use, providing a better surface and sight lines.

This also ties in with route 3 (hospital – Crichton Avenue) in the Core Walking Zones in the draft LCWIP (the indicative line marked in orange dots) on my map.

A further reason for this new alignment is to relieve the pressure on the crossing (currently pedestrian only) across Crichton Avenue at the junction with Wigginton Road #191270.

The solid yellow line follows the existing pedestrian route along Wigginton Road between the entrance to/exit from the link (see: #191294) with Foss Islands Path close to the new residential development – Cocoa Gardens (see: #191298). The existing path (see: #191291, #191292, #191293) is very narrow, damaged and traps users between railings and a fast, busy road with no protection from the noise, pollution or the vehicles (see: #191289, #191290).

It crosses Wigginton Road using the currently pedestrian-only crossing (see: #191284). It continues (see: #191271, #191286) to/from the junction with Crichton Avenue and the currently pedestrian-only crossing over it (see: #191272).

This new route would need the existing paths to be resurfaced and widened to accommodate the new and all additional users, and for the two crossings to be converted to toucans. This would create a more direct, more intuitive, more accessible and route without the changes in height (including gaining it, losing it, gaining it) that make it make the existing path difficult, impossible or unpleasant to use.

It would improve the surface. It would take pedestrians (mobility scooter and wheelchair users) away from the traffic by putting the cycle lane next to the road. It would considerably shorten the route for people travelling between Crichton Avenue and Cocoa Gardens, New Earswick, Haxby, and schools through Bootham Stray. It would take the pressure off the link route (see: #169930 that is too narrow to meet standards, has a steep short section and no sight lines (see: #187315).

The direct (currently not designed to include cyclists) route between Crichton Avenue and the entrance to/from the Wigginton Road Link to/from Foss Islands Path next to the Cocoa Gardens site is already used by some cyclists. I asked one why he uses it. He is the person I quote in the NOTE in #187304.

The turquoise dotted route is the existing path between the paid car park (see: #191279) on Wigginton Road/the bus stop (see: #191275) the allotments (see: #191280, #191281) and Crichton Avenue.

I believe it should be upgraded and improved (see: #191278) at the same time as my recommendations for the other side of Wigginton Road and the top are undertaken.

The turquoise route is a logical continuation of route 3 (hospital – Crichton Avenue) - the indicative line marked in orange dots) on my map.

Safety considerations: making the new route flatter and wider will enable clearing and/or spraying in winter. It will likely make it easier to keep clear of foliage in the growing season. I think it likely the 'spiral' artwork might have to be relocated or even removed. This would take away a seating option and reduce or remove anti social behaviour.

NOTE: 24.2.23

Reading the documents for the decision made on 3.11.20 (part of the TSAR programme) about changes to the junction Crichton Avenue-Wigginton Road-Denning’s Yard access (made before the application to develop Denning’s Yard was received in June 2021) which took effect in February-March 2021, I see CYC assumes most cyclists use the Denning’s Yard access rather than Wigginton Road:
“Safety Considerations
43. Input on this preliminary design was sought from City of York Council’s Road Safety Audit team who indicated the design may lead to slight delays to vehicles at busier times, but the safety benefits to pedestrians and users of the access road are considered to outweigh any potential issues. Minor design changes to the access road arm could be beneficial to pedestrians and cyclists using the Orbital Cycle Route. Overall this option is considered to have greater safety benefits.”
“The junction has significant constraints which means it scores poorly using the [Junction
Assessment Tool] JAT especially for cyclists on Wigginton Road. The presence of narrow carriageway and footway widths over the existing structure on Wigginton Road mean that changes are not possible without a major scheme. It should be considered that the majority of cyclist trips in this area by pass the use of the road junction by using the alternatives provided by the Orbital Route and other off road facilities.”

NOTE: 24.3.23

I sent a FOI to CYC on 24.2.23. I asked:

Please provide a list of CYC counts of non-motorised users passing between Crichton Avenue and Foss Islands Path (FIP) ie over Denning's Yard access between 1.1.95 (the FIP was built in 1995) and 24.2.23.

For each count please give details of:

- when it was done - date and time and how long for;

- the number of users counted;

- the breakdown of mode of travel;

- which CYC department undertook it;

- why the count was done.

I received a reply dated 23.3.23. It included a spreadsheet from... 23.04.2009.

The site was given as "Crichton Ave/Wigginton Rd". The covering letter said:
Please find attached a document that contains some of the information you have requested. Where this document does not contain the information you have requested, we do not hold this information.

NOTE: 14.4.23
On 12.3.23 I sent the questions below and received the replies included:

Subject: CGT15882 City of York council

Dear Ms Lack,
Please see below the response to your enquiry under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).
Q On what basis did CYC decide not to ask the developer of the Denning's Yard site for a contribution towards redesigning the entrance to the access road (the junction of Wigginton Road-Crichton Avenue-Denning's Yard Access)?
A It was not considered that the change in use of the site (from scrap yard with skip hire to 9 dwellings) would justify works to the junction beyond the works that were recently undertaken to upgrade it.
Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning conditions should be kept to a minimum, and only used where they satisfy the following tests:
relevant to planning;
relevant to the development to be permitted;
precise; and
reasonable in all other respects.
Officers consider that requiring further changes to the junction to be funded by the proposed development would not have met this test.

Q Who will pay for the measures required to modify the entrance to the access road (the junction of Wigginton Road-Crichton Avenue-Denning's Yard Access)?
A CYC does not hold this information

Q What changes to the layout or signalling does CYC consider (if anything) is needed at the entrance to the access road (the junction of Wigginton Road-Crichton Avenue-Denning's Yard Access)?
A CYC does not hold this information. This route has been identified as a core walking zone in the work undertaken to develop York’s Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (see Executive Member for Transport decision here, under Item 9: Further work is therefore likely to be undertaken as part of the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan to review the facilities in this area.

Q When and where will the plans for any changes be available to the public to see and comment on in time for modifications to be made?
A CYC does not hold this information. See latest update on York’s Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (see Executive Member for Transport decision here, under Item 9:

Q Which stakeholders and organisations will be actively invited to comment on the plans?
CYC does not hold this information. Further consultation will be undertaken as part of the development of the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan. See latest update on York’s Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (see Executive Member for Transport decision here, under Item 9:

Q What is the timing for any changes to the design and signalling of the entrance to the access road (the junction of Wigginton Road-Crichton Avenue-Denning's Yard Access)?
A CYC does not hold this information.

LCWIP update and overview (also the role of SYSTRA)

The report on the draft LCWIP by Andy Vose (Transport Policy Manager Highways & Transport) and James Gilchrist (Director of Environment, Transport & Planning) from the 14.3.23 Decision Session – Executive Member for Transport (then Cllr Andy D'Agorne) - explained: "The LCWIP will contribute towards all the council’s 10-year strategies, the Climate Change Strategy, the Health & Well-being Strategy and to a slightly lesser extent the Economic Strategy. The LCWIP will make a very large contribution towards delivering the current draft Local Transport Strategy (LTS) and the emerging Local Transport Plan which will stem from the draft LTS. Improvements to walking and cycling networks will encourage people to drive less for short journeys which will also contribute to the aims of the Air Quality Action Plan. The draft LTS suggests that a 20% reduction in car traffic in York could be achieved through a doubling of current walk and cycle rates. The LCWIP is obviously critical to achieving an increase of this level."
None of the routes in my map are in the cycling part of the LCWIP. The Core Walking Zones includes "3. Clarence St, Wigginton Rd as far as Crichton Ave and Foss Islands Path, lower Haxby Road and links to The Groves LTN: all to cover access to the hospital"

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