Magnet for tourists or just a cash cow?

Published in Letters by

A few weeks ago someone wrote to The Press about the incredible cost of a pork pie on one of York’s many festival markets and I, being a huge pork pie fan, concurred and asked if York was not branding itself ‘‘rip-off city of the North’’.

In the last few days we have had a plethora of letters complaining about the ill-received illumination event in Museum Gardens, with some stating that it was badly organised and not worth the money.

Now I read of a fireworks fiasco on the Knavesmire, with many disgruntled customers leaving early because of the problems.

I have to ask if York really does wish to be a centre for tourism or just a greedy, short-term ‘‘get rich quick’’ cash cow to fill the depleted coffers. We have letter writers confirming that since the litter bins were taken away, the city has become dirty and litter-strewn.

In the past few weeks when the air was still and foggy, we had the foul smells from Harewood Whin drifting over York and I heard several tourists saying how it was making them feel ill.

At the Park & Ride at Rawcliffe Bar, tourists and residents were chatting about the evil scents from the nearby sewage works. This is hardly welcoming on the main bus route to railway museum.

Buses themselves are expensive and unreliable.

I have experienced several buses not turning up when scheduled and the parking charges are outrageous compared with other nearby cities and towns. Narrow cycle lanes in and out of the city are placed on major through routes rather than dedicated off-road tracks, so who can blame the cyclists for scaring tourist drivers by bobbing and weaving.

Even so, the tourists keep flocking in, but I believe this is in spite of rather than because of the city’s philosophy.

The tourist trade needs a co-ordinated, joined-up approach. It’s no good putting on a show to attract the crowds and then finding the infrastructure is incapable of coping.

The council, the organisers and the tourist bodies can only say “sorry” so many times before they find the visitors dwindling. Ratepayers pay a premium to attract tourists and right now we are not getting value for money.

Bob Redwood, Main Street, Askham Bryan, York.

Comments (3)

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10:45am Fri 9 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

The choice of cycle route - on or offroad - is generally determined by a cyclists journey origin and destination.
A commuter is interested in the fastest journey time, while cycling for leisure and recreation will often lead to off road choices being made.
Both are equally important and useful.
So far as on road cycle routes are concerned, these are often signposted on quiet routes that follow journey desire lines. Where busier roads are utilised, advisory cycle lanes are often installed where practicable.
The choice of cycle route - on or offroad - is generally determined by a cyclists journey origin and destination. A commuter is interested in the fastest journey time, while cycling for leisure and recreation will often lead to off road choices being made. Both are equally important and useful. So far as on road cycle routes are concerned, these are often signposted on quiet routes that follow journey desire lines. Where busier roads are utilised, advisory cycle lanes are often installed where practicable. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Fri 9 Nov 12

far2bizzy says...

pedalling paul wrote:
The choice of cycle route - on or offroad - is generally determined by a cyclists journey origin and destination.
A commuter is interested in the fastest journey time, while cycling for leisure and recreation will often lead to off road choices being made.
Both are equally important and useful.
So far as on road cycle routes are concerned, these are often signposted on quiet routes that follow journey desire lines. Where busier roads are utilised, advisory cycle lanes are often installed where practicable.
Please note Mr Redwood's use of the word ‘narrow’. The Department of Transport says – “The desirable width
of a one-way cycle lane (mandatory or advisory) is 2.0m, with a minimum being 1.5m”. Many, indeed probably most, of York’s cycle lanes do not come up to the minimum standard.

The difficulty with cycle lanes is that they create an implied area of space on the road – not only for the cyclist but also for the motorist and have the effect of overriding the motorists inclination to give sufficient room when overtaking. Where the cycle lanes are of sufficient width this is fine. However where, as in York, the lanes are too narrow then they will, by their very nature, encourage motorists to overtake too closely, which, I would suggest, is contrary to their intended purpose.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: The choice of cycle route - on or offroad - is generally determined by a cyclists journey origin and destination. A commuter is interested in the fastest journey time, while cycling for leisure and recreation will often lead to off road choices being made. Both are equally important and useful. So far as on road cycle routes are concerned, these are often signposted on quiet routes that follow journey desire lines. Where busier roads are utilised, advisory cycle lanes are often installed where practicable.[/p][/quote]Please note Mr Redwood's use of the word ‘narrow’. The Department of Transport says – “The desirable width of a one-way cycle lane (mandatory or advisory) is 2.0m, with a minimum being 1.5m”. Many, indeed probably most, of York’s cycle lanes do not come up to the minimum standard. The difficulty with cycle lanes is that they create an implied area of space on the road – not only for the cyclist but also for the motorist and have the effect of overriding the motorists inclination to give sufficient room when overtaking. Where the cycle lanes are of sufficient width this is fine. However where, as in York, the lanes are too narrow then they will, by their very nature, encourage motorists to overtake too closely, which, I would suggest, is contrary to their intended purpose. far2bizzy
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Despairing Yorkie says...

"and the parking charges are outrageous compared with other nearby cities and towns"

You do realise, don't you Mr Redwood, that the income from car parking fees means that less income has to be raised from council tax? York has chosen to raise more money from fees and charges rather than in council tax. You can debate whether this is the correct policy but be clear - what you are debating is whether all council taxpayers should pay more to reduce parking charges levied on non-council taxpayers.

" Ratepayers pay a premium to attract tourists"
No they don't. York has one of the lowest council tax levels in the country, although you wouldn't know it from the level of whining on this site. Again, you can debate if that is a sensible long term policy for the council to persue. In the mentime, if you want to subsidise lower parking charges by paying more council tax simply move to anyone of the local govt areas around York. By the way, as private householder you haven't been a "ratepayer" to the council since Mrs Thatcher abolished domestic rates in the 1980s. Use of this phrase, like the phrase "road tax", is usually a reliable indicator of the ratio of informed thought to parrotted received opinions in the letter.
"and the parking charges are outrageous compared with other nearby cities and towns" You do realise, don't you Mr Redwood, that the income from car parking fees means that less income has to be raised from council tax? York has chosen to raise more money from fees and charges rather than in council tax. You can debate whether this is the correct policy but be clear - what you are debating is whether all council taxpayers should pay more to reduce parking charges levied on non-council taxpayers. " Ratepayers pay a premium to attract tourists" No they don't. York has one of the lowest council tax levels in the country, although you wouldn't know it from the level of whining on this site. Again, you can debate if that is a sensible long term policy for the council to persue. In the mentime, if you want to subsidise lower parking charges by paying more council tax simply move to anyone of the local govt areas around York. By the way, as private householder you haven't been a "ratepayer" to the council since Mrs Thatcher abolished domestic rates in the 1980s. Use of this phrase, like the phrase "road tax", is usually a reliable indicator of the ratio of informed thought to parrotted received opinions in the letter. Despairing Yorkie
  • Score: 0

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