Frequently asked questions
Why have the roads through the Groves area been closed?
During a regeneration project in the area, the large volume of traffic travelling through the area was highlighted by local residents as a significant problem.
They told us they wanted better air quality, less and slower traffic and the chance to build on the existing sense of community - which is made difficult by lines of fast-moving traffic cutting through the area.
To help bring about these changes, following a number of consultations with local residents, it was agreed to create more closures in the area to reduce and slow traffic. These began in August 2020 with a consultation running alongside them.
Why are you making more changes in November 2020?
We asked for comments from residents and road users as soon as the trial began. We’ve listened to those comments and made some modifications to the trial layout.
These changes include improving access for emergency services, easier turning at road closures and minor changes to parking spaces.
As ever, we’d be glad to hear your views on these modifications at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are these changes?
In response to feedback received over the first month of the trial from residents and emergency services, in October 2020 we agreed to:
- Change the position of the road closure on St. John's Crescent. We’ve relocated it at the junction with Garden Street. Removable bollards will be installed for part of the closure to provide a secondary emergency access route to streets off Garden Street/St John Street. Access to St John’s Crescent will be via Penlys Grove Street:
- Remove 2.4m of on-street parking on both sides of St John Street near the junction with Garden Street to create more turning space at the junction;
- Change the position of the road closure at the junction between Neville Terrace, Park Grove and Brownlow Street, to stop some drivers bypassing the road closures via the alleyways between Neville Terrace, Eldon Terrace and Amber Street;
- Remove the parking bay adjacent to 25 Neville Terrace to allow larger vehicles, including emergency vehicles, to move more easily. Extend parking bay on Park Grove to maintain parking capacity.
- A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) to waive Pay & Display charges for six months at the parking areas near the shops on Lowther Street and next to the shop on Townend Street (between Abbot Street and Del Pyke).
How long will the experiment be for?
The maximum length of time the low-traffic experiment can run for is 18 months. During that period, it is possible to stop the experiment at any time, and to make the experiment permanent after 6 months without change.
Has a decision already been taken to make these changes permanent?
No. The decision on the future of the experiment will be made at an Executive Member for Transport meeting at a future date which will be confirmed in 2021.
Why wasn’t the area signed as ‘access only’ to remove the through traffic?
‘Access only’ restrictions can only be enforced by the police (outside London) and require considerable resources. This means that these restrictions are rarely effective without being supported by physical closures.
Could automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) be used?
Enforcement by ANPR can’t be used to enforce ‘access only’ restrictions. Local authorities outside London can only use ANPR to enforce bus lane restrictions.
Couldn’t rising bollards be used to give residents access?
Automatic bollards would be prohibitively expensive to use for an experimental scheme. Our past experience also shows that rising bollards tend to require a lot of maintenance to make sure that they operate reliably.
Rising bollards can be effective for small areas where their use is low, and so would not be suitable for a large area such as the Groves.
We are installing removable bollards as part of the closure at the junction of Garden Street/St John Street.
How is the trial working with the emergency services?
Before the scheme was put in place, information was sent out to all the emergency services advising them of the proposed experiment. Understanding that it can take time for regular users to become familiar with new routes, we sent the information to them again in the early stages of the trial.
The Fire Service undertook a review of the area once the measures were in place. They noted two issues (one of them pre-existing) that are being addressed through small changes to parking and closure point position. They also highlighted the restricted carriageway width generally available in the area due to high levels of on-street parking.
We understand that emergency services didn’t use The Groves as a through route when attending emergencies elsewhere in the city. We will continue to discuss any issues with them.
How will changes brought about by the Covid pandemic to traffic volume and travel patterns, be compared with pre-Covid traffic surveys?
It will be difficult to make a reliable comparison. We do not know how long the reduced Covid-era traffic flows will be for, or if they will return to pre-Covid levels as people adjust to different ways of working.
We are developing a monitoring plan with some independent experts and will share the findings once this work has been conducted.
Is the air quality being monitored?
There was no long term, reliable air quality survey data available for the Groves area before the experiment began. However it is reasonable to assume that a reduction in vehicles within the area will lead to an improvement in local air quality, although this is difficult to quantify.
The location of all diffusion tube monitors, along with annual mean results for the last 5 years (2015-2019), are shown on this interactive map. This shows monitoring data available around the Groves area, on Huntington Road, Monkgate, Lord Mayor’s Walk, Clarence Street and Haxby Road.
The latest published figures are for the 2019 calendar year. Annual mean data for 2020 is not yet available. Please note that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, any comparison of 2020 data (when this is published) with previous years should be undertaken with caution.
Monthly data for all diffusion tube monitoring locations is published in City of York Council's Annual Air Quality Status Reports (see Appendix B of the relevant report).
Diffusion tube reference numbers can be obtained from the interactive map and cross referenced with the table in Appendix B to obtain monthly raw data for any location of interest in the city.
Annual Status Reports for the last 5 years are available here. The latest report was published in June 2020 and covers the 2019 calendar year.
Won’t the traffic that used to travel through the Groves cause poorer air quality on the routes it diverts to?
We expect that some drivers will use other main roads close by. Other drivers may choose to use different routes well away from the area, some will change their destination choices and others might change mode of transport.
Whilst more traffic can be expected to produce more pollution, the surrounding environment influences how that pollution is dissipated. A narrow street with buildings close to the road such as most streets in the Groves, will hold the pollution for longer that a wide street where there are large planted open areas - like Lord Mayor’s Walk, for example.
How can traffic lights be used to regulate traffic around the Groves?
All traffic signals in York are connected to the York Travel and Control Centre. There, they are actively managed using information from CCTV cameras, sensors and other sources which show how traffic is moving around the city. Timings on traffic signals can be adjusted and other tools can be used to respond to congestion and incidents.
Whilst the amount of traffic in the city makes it impossible to remove congestion completely, we can actively manage the road network and prioritise the road space in line with council priorities.
How will the impact of the experiment be assessed?
Many traffic management experiments have a measurable benefit - increased vehicle capacity at a junction, for example.
With the Groves, the benefits we’re assessing are numerous. While some can be measured, others are more human and subjective which is why we’re working with local residents and are consulting on the trial. Any benefits will also be weighed in terms of how they are viewed and how they impact on the local environment and community.
Can I comment on the experiment?
Yes please. We are keen to hear all views about the measures. Please email any comments to email@example.com