New traffic enforcement measures for Coppergate
From 12th August 2013, City of York Council will be introducing new enforcement measures on one of York’s busiest bus, cycle and taxi routes.
Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960’s, but only enforced infrequently. Results from an enforcement action day in August 2011, undertaken in partnership with North Yorkshire Police, saw over 600 motorists ignore ‘no access’ signage and illegitimately access Coppergate during restricted hours.
In a bid to reduce congestion and improve journey reliability for buses and taxis through the heart of York’s city centre, the council has introduced strict new controls which include extending the hours of access for authorised vehicles, slightly reducing the hours of access for loading and unloading and introducing automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR).
The responsibility of taking enforcement action will fall between North Yorkshire Police and for the first time City of York Council. Using these new powers, the council has introduced an automatic number plate recognition system - pioneered by local authorities up and down the country over the last 10 years including Oxford, Leeds and Plymouth.
New advance warning and camera enforcement signage are in place on all main routes leading onto Coppergate.
Even though there is minimal change to operational timings for loading and unloading, the changes will ensure that there is clearer distinction between peak and non peak commuting hours, which will consequently lead to less congestion and fewer vehicles parked on Coppergate during some of the busiest times of the day.
The new timings are:
- Between 7am and 7pm – buses, taxis and cyclists will be allowed access (previous timings were from 8am to 6pm)
- Between 10am and 4pm – other vehicles permitted for loading and unloading (previous timings were from 9am to 4pm)
- Between 7pm and 7am – open to all vehicles
Cllr. Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “Millions of journeys are made every year on York’s bus services, with the heaviest passenger loadings of the day taking place during the peak commuting hours. Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960’s, but only enforced infrequently, so by reducing both the volume of prohibited vehicles we will help buses, taxis and cyclists get through this extremely narrow road much more easily.
“This will improve public transport journey times and reliability and will address frequently raised concerns about the punctuality of the buses in the mornings. This is another measure towards ensuring that buses are an attractive alterative mode of transport.”
The council uses a system whereby taxi services and bus operators provide their vehicle registration details in order for them to be added to an authorised list and ensure they do not receive a FPN. Once enforcement cameras are in place, staff will manually review registration plates to reduce the numbers of taxis or buses receiving a FPN, who are perhaps not yet registered.
City of York Council is a member of the Bus Lane Adjudicator group, which ensures motorists can receive impartial and independent arbitration, if they wish to appeal against a FPN.
Frank Wood, Chair of the York Retail Forum, said: “This is a narrow road and an important bus route. It is also important to keep pedestrian areas clear and safe, to allow freedom of access for visitors. There are already regulations in force to restrict traffic and the method of enforcing these regulations needs to be effective and sustainable and I am happy to support the move towards ANPR cameras.”
Inspector Mark Henderson, of York City and East Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We have done numerous enforcement operations in Coppergate over the years and have issued hundreds of fixed penalty tickets (FPN). We have publicised these operations and warned the public but it has made no noticeable difference to the volume of illegal traffic. I think the council’s move to introduce electronic enforcement together with clear signage is a necessary one, to ease congestion and assist with prosecuting those who ignore the restrictions.”
John Carr, Chair of the Quality Bus Partnership, said: “York’s historic centre obviously cannot accommodate unrestricted access and these new measures designed to support the commercial life of the city by giving priority to cycling, shared transport and essential servicing will help bus operators to achieve the more reliable cross-city services everybody wants to see.”