A RISING bollard in York will stay in place despite council transport bosses admitting the system is expensive, slows vehicles down and does not work “consistently well”.
The Stonebow bollard, which has been out of action for several weeks following a major malfunction, was introduced by City of York Council 14 years ago to reduce the number of cars using the area as an illegal “rat run”, but has been dogged by problems. It is not set to be removed, but other bollards are unlikely to be installed elsewhere in York.
Documents obtained by The Press under the Freedom of Information Act, detailing council discussions about the controversial Lendal Bridge trial, revealed a similar system was ruled out when new traffic restrictions were introduced on the bridge.
Asked why a bollard was not used to manage traffic, head of sustainable transport Ruth Stephenson said: “They don’t work consistently well. The one at Stonebow lets more vehicles through than are permitted because the automatic number-plate recognition is not always accurate enough to be left to manage it automatically.
“They are expensive to run and operate as there are ongoing maintenance costs and random damage costs, usually from vehicles tailgating. In addition, there is a delay while the bollard has to rise and lower, which was not considered appropriate at Lendal Bridge.”
Ms Stephenson said she was also concerned about the “knock-on effect” on York’s bus network if a Lendal Bridge bollard jammed in the “up” position. Stonebow is another key bus route, but the bollard’s operating times – 8am until 6pm – do not correspond with new Coppergate traffic restrictions introduced last year.
Darren Capes, the council’s transport systems manager, said: “Although the use of rising bollards at less-busy, limited-access sites such as York Designer Outlet and Victoria Bar have proved successful, their use on busy sections of highway such as Stonebow is not something the council is looking to expand at the moment.
“Rising bollards are complex mechanical systems and suffer from reliability problems when used extensively. They are also slow to operate, which can cause delays, and prone to failing to detect vehicles which should be allowed through.”
He said the Stonebow bollard will be used again once a “major component failure” is repaired, but restrictions remained even when it was not working.