Lendal Bridge Closure: Halfway Through the Six Month Trial

Filed in: General News, Mapping Software, Popular Posts, Techie Stuff

January 16, 2014

Lendal Bridge

In August 2013, I published a blog forecasting how the closure of Lendal Bridge between 10-30 and 17-00 daily could affect York residents.

Using the routing installed in our desktop GIS software; Prospex, my blog highlighted the effect on journey times from south of the river Ouse to York District General Hospital. I also examined how the traffic flow across the Clifton and Skeldergate bridges might alter.

Since the closures started City of York Council have been providing monthly updates on the key indicators they use for the assessment of the trial. These documents are available as downloads from the City of York Council website.

The city council intend that the closure of Lendal Bridge will lead to-

  • A more attractive city centre and a better experience for residents and visitors.
  • A step towards better bus services through improved bus reliability across the city.
  • Safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists and families.
  • Increased domestic and international visitors will boost the economy of York, which itself will mean the creation of jobs for the York community.

The council have only released data on bus timings, traffic flows and the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued to people crossing Lendal Bridge during the restricted hours.

The bus routes are summarised below. The timings are based on school day journeys during the restricted hours, the times are in minutes:

To City Nov 2012 Nov 2013

 % Change year on year

Rawcliffe Bar (2) 19.9 19.6

1.5% Faster

Askham Bar (3) 13.7 13.0

5.4% Faster

Designer Outlet (7) 16.0 16.6

 3.8% Slower

Grimston Bar (8) 17.8 18.5

 3.9% Slower

Monks Cross (9) 9.8 10.1

 3.1% Slower

 

From City Nov 2012 Nov 2013

% Change year on year

Rawcliffe Bar (2) 9.5 8.1

  1.7% Faster

Askham Bar (3) 20.2 20.6

2% Slower

Designer Outlet (7) 22.7 23.8

   4.8% Slower

Grimston Bar (8) 11.7 12.3

   5.1% Slower

Monks Cross (9) 11.0 11.0

No change

The majority of Park and Ride journeys have slowed down according to the figures published.

The accuracy of these figures is quite poor and the changes amount to no more than a few minutes faster or slower for any given journey.

Based on these figures the effect on journey times by Park and Ride bus has been negligible.

The traffic counts provide measures that are more detailed.

The Department for Transport’s traffic flows give the derived figures for the baseline data, as well as those gathered by automated traffic counters.

The figures are two-way hourly flows from school days. The red figures show an increase in the hourly two-way flow compared to the baseline:

Baseline

September

October

November

Average

A1237 Bridge

2243

2228

2164

2117

2170

Clifton Bridge

1247

1409

1436

1429

1425

Foss Islands Road

1517

1703

1672

1618

1664

Leeman Road

619

590

606

611

602

Tadcaster Road

1115

1128

1105

1106

1113

A19 Fulford Road

1353

1346

1370

1365

1360

A1079 Hull Road

1074

1071

1038

1007

1039

A59 Boroughbridge Road

1090

1055

1072

1008

1045

A19 Shipton Road

823

849

854

849

851

Malton Road

1067

1041

1051

1062

 1051

Expressing the changes as percentages shows:

Baseline

September

October

November

Average

A1237 Bridge

2243

-0.67%

-3.52%

-5.62%

-3.27%

Clifton Bridge

1247

12.99%

 15.16%

 14.60%

 14.25%

Foss Islands Road

1517

12.26%

 10.22%

6.66%

9.71%

Leeman Road

619

-4.68%

-2.10%

-1.29%

   -2.69%

Tadcaster Road

1115

1.17%

-0.90%

-0.81%

 -0.18%

A19 Fulford Road

1353

-0.52%

1.26%

0.89%

    0.54%

A1079 Hull Road

1074

-0.28%

-3.35%

-6.24%

-3.29%

A59 Boroughbridge Road

1090

-3.21%

-1.65%

-7.52%

-4.13%

A19 Shipton Road

823

3.16%

3.77%

3.16%

3.36%

Malton Road

1067

-2.44%

 -1.50%

-0.47%

-1.47%

As expected, there has been an increase of traffic flow for Clifton Bridge and Foss Islands Road during the hours of the closure.

The changes were not as extreme as predicted in the blog of August 2013.

As the increases in traffic flows on the alternative routes do not match the traffic that flowed across Lendal Bridge (published by City of York Council as 715 two way hourly rate) the following inferences can be made:-

  • Some journeys will not be made at all
    • Visiting motorists may stay away or find alternative transport to get into the city
  • Some journeys will cross Lendal Bridge incorrectly

Figures on increased bus usage or footfall in the city streets are not yet available. It is not possible yet to measure the effect of the closure on visitor numbers to the city centre or the take up of Park and Ride services on the city outskirts.

The figures on the Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) issued to people crossing Lendal Bridge are now available. All the following figures have been published by City of York Council from their website either as reports on the Lendal Bridge trial or as responses to freedom of information requests by third parties.

In 2012 the council issued 13,448 Penalty Charge Notices for offences related mostly to parking.

Since the start of the trial the notices issued are as follows:

PCNs Issued

23 – 29 September (6 days enforcement)

2,762

30 Sep – 6 October (5 days enforcement)

1,885

7 – 13 October (5 days enforcement)

2,487

14 – 20 October

3,640

21 – 27 October

3,879

28 Oct – 3 November

4,098

4 – 10 November

1,921

11 – 17 November

3,172

18 – 24 November

2,801

25 Nov – 2 December

2,553

TOTAL

29,198

These penalties carry a fixed charge of £60. Prompt payment decreases that to £30, late payment increases it to £90. The council have said that the successful appeal rate is about 10%. The possible revenues due to the council (before costs of collection) are quite high. If the appeal rate is 10% and most people pay early (70%), some pay on time (25%) and a few leave it too long (5%) the charges would amount to over £1,060,000. Over the course of the whole trial, the payments received could easily top £2,000,000.

Another interesting point, the council say that 70% of the tickets issued are to postcodes other than “YO”.  This indicates that over 20,000 visitors to York will be getting a PCN sent to them two weeks after their visit.

What conclusions would I draw from these interim results?

  • They have not met the aim of improving bus journey times.
  • The traffic flow changes were not as bad as predicted but are still significant in the Clifton Bridge and Foss Islands Road areas.
  • We do not yet know what footfall changes in the city centre have occurred.
  • We do not yet know if more people are using public transport.
  • 29,000 motorists have crossed Lendal Bridge incorrectly.
    • Why do they not see closure signs?
    • Why do they not believe the signs?
    • Did they know which bridge is Lendal Bridge?
    • Are they following a SatNav that does not indicate the closure?
  • Will this deter 20,000 visiting motorists from coming again?
  • The council could make over £2,000,000. from the exercise.

I was sceptical of the changes at the start. I am happy to admit that my prediction in the percentage of increase in traffic flows was too high. I am wondering however whether the overall effect on visiting motorists and tourists will be more damaging than the benefits of the traffic reduced to the Lendal area during the day. The trial is halfway through; I wonder what the final results will tell us?

Find out more

For more information on using our GIS mapping software, Prospex for drive time and routing analysis, please contact Beacon Dodsworth here.

Posted by Nathan Jackson, Developer, Beacon Dodsworth

1 Comment on Lendal Bridge Closure: Halfway Through the Six Month Trial

  • January 28, 2014 by Megan Taylor

    In December, on a Tuesday afternoon, I was on a Park and Ride bus back to the Designer Outlet. It was half full and the majority of the passengers were visitors to the city who, judging from their conversations, had enjoyed their visit to York. The bus journey took an hour as the increased traffic flow caused huge tailbacks from Fishergate to the the Outlet. After half an hour the passengers’ views began to change and,by the time we finally arrived, quite a majority were announcing their intention of never coming back if that is what the traffic was going to be like. This was on a bus journey leaving Clifford’s Tower at 5 pm. So much for enticing more visitors to the City!




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