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1,000 drivers a day breach new Lendal Bridge traffic rules
ABOUT 1,000 drivers a day breached new traffic rules during the first week of the Lendal Bridge trial restrictions, figures have revealed.
The statistics, provided by City of York Council transport officials to the Liberal Democrats, are the first official indication of how many cars, vans, lorries and motorbikes used the bridge between 10.30am and 5pm despite being banned after the six-month part-closure experiment began last Tuesday.
They also confirmed about 3,000 motorists used Coppergate during times when they were prevented from doing so between August 16 and September 1, after CCTV coverage and new restriction times came into force.
An amnesty on fines during the bridge trial’s first week was announced on Tuesday, despite the council not originally intending to do this.
Lib Dem leader Coun Keith Aspden said: “These figures are startlingly high and will lead to questions about whether the Lendal Bridge closure is enforceable in the long-term.
“During the first week, a huge number of drivers either ignored the rules or, due to inadequate signs, missed them. If this pattern continues, it means that as well as causing gridlock and hitting city-centre businesses, the council could be pocketing up to £420,000 a week in fines.”
Coun Aspden said his party now wanted to know who authorised the Lendal Bridge fines amnesty and obtain city-centre footfall figures since the closure started.
In their response to the Lib Dems, council officials said Coppergate fines were now being issued, but the authority assumed about 300 would be cancelled for reasons such as partial reading of number plates.
They said breach figures for the Lendal Bridge trial’s first week were not checked and verified because of the amnesty, but the council would have expected the number of fines issued to be less than 1,000 a day, and that police support in enforcing the restrictions during the closure’s second week would be monitored to see if it led to “lower numbers of contraventions”.
Labour's deputy leader, Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, said: "Coun Aspden needs to look at his own party's record in administration before making such comments, as the Lib Dems could not enforce Coppergate during their entire eight years of administration."
She said income from fines was ring-fenced for highways maintenance and transport, and said that on the day the trial began, Parliament Street had its second largest footfall for a Tuesday this year.
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