Decision Session – Executive Member for Transport

03 November 2020


Report of the Corporate Director – Economy and Place


Ward Committee scheme FS-19-05 / HR-19-06:

Green Dykes Lane – Proposed Puffin Pedestrian Crossing


1.           This report presents the outcome of the feasibility study, likely cost, and impact of providing a pedestrian puffin crossing on Green Dykes Lane, near its junction with Thief Lane.


2.            The Executive Member is asked to approve Option 1 detailed below and the design shown in Annex A. 

Reason: to provide a safe and formal crossing point on Green Dykes Lane, which is in close proximity to the University of York and a local primary school.


3.           Over the years, City of York Council have received several requests for formal crossing facilities or a school crossing patrol (or both) to be provided on Green Dykes Lane, in the vicinity of the Thief Lane junction, to cater mostly for children being taken to St Lawrence’s CE Primary School by their parents.  Several changes have been made at the Green Dykes Lane / Thief Lane / University Road junction over the years.

4.           Prior to 2002 alterations were made to the Green Dykes Lane kerb-line to build it out and reduce the crossing distance. Red anti-skid surfacing was also applied across the crossing to highlight its presence.

5.           Between 2012 and 2014 an extended Keep Clear area was put in on the downhill side of Green Dykes Lane to stop queuing traffic which had backed up from the Hull Road junction from blocking the left and right turning traffic emerging from the western side of Thief Lane.

6.           The junction has been investigated as a potential site for a school crossing patrol but was deemed to be too difficult to patrol as there are too many traffic movements for the patroller to take into consideration, so they would have to be located further down Green Dykes Lane away from the crossing desire line.

7.           In November 2018 local ward members (Hull Road and Fishergate) commissioned a crossing assessment for the junction.  Surveys were then undertaken and these are outlined in the ‘Traffic Surveys’ section.

Feasibility Assessment

8.           As part of the feasibility study the following key pieces of work have been undertaken

·        Developing an outline design

·        Detailed traffic and pedestrian surveys

·        A Statutory undertakers utility search (to assess the extent and likely cost of protecting or diverting underground services affected by the scheme)

·        Undertaking a Road Safety Audit, to assess the road safety implications of the proposals

·        Producing a cost estimate for delivering the project

·        Initial consultation with local Ward Councillors (to gauge support and identify concerns)

Outline Design

9.           The outline design developed from the feasibility study is shown on the plan in Annex A. This provides a puffin pedestrian crossing situated near numbers 22 and 27 Green Dykes Lane. This location offered the only suitable area to install a crossing facility taking into consideration the existence of significant utility apparatus in the verges and footways, access driveways to properties, and the location of mature trees. It is also as close to the natural desire line for pedestrians to cross as is feasible. The existing tactile crossing points on the north side of Thief Lane will be removed to further facilitate the use of this proposed crossing point. Unfortunately the zig-zag markings, which are a requirement for formal crossings to keep sight-lines clear, will remove on-street parking between the Kexby Avenue and Thief Lane junctions.

10.       The carriageway surface across the proposed crossing and over the junction of Thief Lane, will be resurfaced and relined, thereby providing a new improved surface with enhanced skid resistance to make the area safer.  

Traffic Surveys

11.       In order to assess the traffic and pedestrian movements at and near the junction the following surveys were commissioned:

·        Full classified vehicle count over a 12 hour period (7am to 7pm)

·        Classified pedestrian count including crossing time and delay (7am to 7pm)

·        Traffic speed surveys on Green Dykes Lane and University Road (24 hour per day over a 7 day period)

12.       The assessment of the junction followed the methodology adopted at the 11th August 2016 Executive Member decision session. The report can be found as Agenda Item 25.

13.       The most appropriate type of crossing facility is determined using the PV2 value where P represents the pedestrian flow and V the vehicle flow. Both the P and V values are amended to take into consideration the types of vehicle and types of pedestrian with higher scores given to larger vehicles and to more vulnerable groups of pedestrians.

14.       Other factors are also taken into consideration when calculating the final adjusted PV2 values for each junction arm.  These include:

·        Casualty history over the previous 3 year period

·        Road width

·        Average crossing delay

·        85th percentile speed of traffic

·        Proximity to major pedestrian trip generators (schools, shops etc)

15.       The results show that the adjusted PV2 value for two of the four arms of the junction were sufficiently high enough to justify the provision of formal crossing facilities.   A summary of some of the key findings are shown below.

Junction Arm

Total Pedestrians Crossing (12hrs)

Proportion of Vulnerable Pedestrians

Total Vehicles (12hrs)

Proportion of large vehicles

Adjusted Average of three highest PV2 hourly values

Green Dykes Lane






Thief Lane (East)






Thief Lane (West)






University Road






16.       Whilst the highest flows of pedestrians were across the two Thief Lane arms of the junction the proportion of those crossing who fall into the vulnerable groups (children, elderly and disabled) were much higher for the Green Dykes Lane arm.  When multiplied by the square of the number of vehicles Green Dykes Lane had the highest adjusted PV2 score with the western side of Thief Lane slightly lower.

Utility Search

17.       The utility search results and discussions with their representatives led to subsequent trial-hole excavations in the verges/footways to determine and verify the positions and depths of services. The existence of very significant fibre-optic BT apparatus meant the crossing could only be positioned between the existing BT manhole chambers in the verge (adjacent to 29 Green Dykes Lane) and the vehicular crossing next to 27 Green Dykes Lane. Any option that involved relocating this apparatus could cost over £100k.


Road Safety Assessment


18.       A Stage 1 Road Safety Audit has been undertaken on the outline design. This has highlighted a number of items, which can be addressed during the detailed design of the scheme.

19.       The most significant concern was that traffic queuing back from the crossing through the junction could make it difficult for users, and that consideration should be given to considering an alternative design such as full signalisation of the junction.

20.       The designer considers that any potential signal controlled junction in this location would be subject to the same challenges, but with increased difficulties providing visibility to signal heads and sight lines etc, and the significant costs in the region of over £200k.




Ward Councillor consultation


21.       Ward Councillors in the Hull Road and Fishergate wards were consulted. Responses were received from the following councillors, and their comments are below:

·        Cllr Michael Pavlovic (on behalf of the 3 Hull Road Ward Members) – the councillors of Hull Road and Fishergate Wards have called for a crossing on Green Dykes Lane for several years. It has seen a number of road traffic accidents involving vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and it is vital for the safety of the community that this crossing is approved and delivered quickly. There is a primary school nearby which the children of Newland Park estate attend and they have difficulty in crossing the road safely. Some years ago the road had a school crossing patrol. We fully support this scheme and have allocated sufficient funding for it

·        Cllr Dave Taylor (on behalf of the 2 Fishergate Ward Members) - both the Councillors of Fishergate Ward have long since supported the public desire for a crossing on Green Dykes Lane primarily due to the proximity of St Lawrence's Primary School on Heslington Road.


External consultation


22.       Letters were delivered to a number of local residents near the proposed location of the puffin crossing. Three responses have been received thus far as below.

23.       One response has requested the pedestrian crossing assessment that informed the proposal to install a puffin crossing. This was issued to the resident.

24.       One response has indicated their firm support for the proposal, but has also raised some concerns:

·        Noise pollution

·        Impact of zigzag markings restricting ability to park outside property, receive deliveries etc

·        Alternative solutions proposed

25.       One response is in agreement with the need to address pedestrian safety at this junction, but has suggested alternative solutions (traffic lights, zebra crossing etc)

Officer Responses

26.       Noise Concerns - Audible signals (bleepers) are an important indicator for pedestrians to understand when the green man is illuminated.  They are particularly useful for blind and partially sighted users and form a requirement at all compliant crossings to assist these vulnerable users.  City of York Council receives frequent requests from My Sight York and other residents for the inclusion of audibles at signal installations.  Audible signals can, however, disrupt the lives of residents who live close to a crossing. To mitigate this, while still providing the benefit to users, we propose that:

·        Audible signals will only sound between 08:00 – 20:00 inclusive.

·        During site set up the sound level will be adjusted appropriately and baffles fitted to the units to reduce the volume further.


27.       Zig Zag markings impacting on loading/delivery etc - The installation of zig zag markings is a necessary element of the design, and ensures that vehicles do not park unnecessarily in this area, as it is such a busy route for children travelling to the local school, University students, and being on one of the busiest bus routes in York. This also allows approaching vehicles to see more clearly the crossing facility, and any waiting pedestrians. Most of the local residents in this vicinity have existing vehicular crossings that enable the safe access and egress of vehicles visiting these properties.

28.       Potential Alternative Locations - The area has been surveyed and studied in detail, and it has been concluded that the proposed crossing could not be installed in any other area of Green Dykes Lane. This is due to the existence of substantial utility apparatus in the adjacent verges, the location of driveway accesses and the position of mature trees.

29.       Pedestrians currently cross the roads at various points depending on their destination. This is mainly due to there being no formal crossing facilities. Informal dropped crossing points are provided on each arm with buff-coloured tactile paving. The existing informal crossing point on the northern section of Green Dykes Lane (with its junction of Thief Lane) will be removed as part of these proposals, and measures provided to direct pedestrians to the proposed safer and formal Puffin crossing facility.

30.       Alternative solutions - An option to fully signalise the junction has previously been considered. Advice from the Council’s Traffic Signals team concluded that such a proposal would not work effectively and would significantly increase delays for users. The site’s geometry and physical constraints would make provision of a signalised junction difficult and expensive, and is therefore not considered feasible.  

31.       The proposed crossing would be located approximately 20m from the junction and follows Department for Transport guidance outlined in LTN 2/95. It would not be possible to locate any type of crossing closer to the junction of Thief Lane due to the existence of significant utility apparatus and chambers in the verges.



32.       The options available to the Executive Member are:


·        Option 1 – approve the scheme as shown in Annex A. This course of action is recommended because the scheme cannot be accommodated elsewhere due to the existence of utility apparatus and chambers, and physical features such as driveways and trees etc.


·        Option 2 – approve the scheme as shown in Annex A, but with minor amendments. These amendments would be subject to a subsequent Technical Review by officers to ensure there were no significant drawbacks. If the Review found them to be acceptable, then those measures would be included in the scheme for implementation.


·        Option 3 – do nothing. This is not recommended because there currently is no formal crossing facility in this area, which is a major route to the University of York and a local school, with a large number of pedestrians needing to cross safely, who are currently unable to do so.  The proposal to install a puffin crossing is also fully supported by local ward members.



Option 1

33.       The advantages of Option 1 are that it provides a formal crossing facility that will be safer than the existing informal crossing for residents, especially parents and children on the way to and from school and for students walking between the University and their accommodation or the shops and other facilities on Hull Road.  Improved safety will encourage more parents to walk their children to the nearby primary school which will have knock-on effects by reducing traffic around the school entrance at school start and finish times and improved air-quality as a result. The crossing will also concentrate crossing movements to one location rather than users crossing at various locations up Green Dykes Lane.

34.       The disadvantage of this option is that it removes parking from Green Dykes Lane in the vicinity of the crossing and will potentially displace it into nearby side-streets.

Option 2

35.       The advantage of Option 2 is that this gives the Executive Member some flexibility to ask for alternative measures to be investigated, although these may not necessarily be feasible.

36.       The disadvantage of this option will be further delays to the crossing being provided whilst the alternatives are investigated.

Option 3

37.       The advantage of Option 3 is that no further expenditure is required and parking on Green Dykes Lane remains unaffected

38.       The disadvantage of this option is that it doesn’t provide any improvements to the current crossing facilities and may discourage parents from taking their children to school on foot.  This in turn will increase traffic levels around the school entrance at school start and finish time and will reduce air-quality.

Council Plan


39.       The proposal contributes towards the following priorities in the 2019-23 Council plan:


·        A greener and cleaner city – making walking more attractive will potentially help reduce car trips and improve air quality

·        Getting around sustainably – walking is the most sustainable mode

·        Good health and wellbeing – improvements to the crossing and associated increases in walking will help improve the physical and mental well-being of users

·        A better start for children and young people – children will be one of the main beneficiaries of the improved crossing

·        An open and effective council – improvements to the crossing have been requested by residents





40.       The proposals in this report have the following implications:

·        Financial - It is estimated that the cost of implementing the recommended option (i) is £80k including the changes made following the safety audit. It is proposed to fund the scheme using an allocation in the Ward Committee budget from Hull Road and Fishergate wards (£46k), and to allocate £34k from the Pedestrian Crossing Block within the Transport Capital Programme.


·        Human Resources (HR) - There are no Human Resources implications

·        Equalities - Green Dykes Lane is a busy route and acts as a barrier to some residents, school pupils and students who currently struggle to cross the road. Provision of a formal crossing, including tactile paving and near side indicators, will make it easier to cross the road.    

·        Legal - The City of York Council, as Highways Authority, has powers under the Highways Act 1980 and associated Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to implement the measures proposed.

·        Crime and Disorder - There are no crime and disorder implications.

·        Information Technology (IT) - There are no IT implications

·        Property - There are no property implications.

·        Other - There are no other known implications.

Risk Management

41.       In compliance with the Council’s risk management strategy, the following risks associated with the recommendations in this report have been identified and described in the following points, and set out in the table below:

·        Health and safety – the risk associated with this is in connection with the road safety implications of the final layout, and has been assessed at 2.

·        Authority reputation – this risk is in connection with local media coverage and public perception of the Council not undertaking a project that has been consulted upon and is assessed at 6.

Risk Category




Health and safety




Organisation/ Reputation






42.       These produce a risk score of 8, which being in the 6-10 category means that the risks have been assessed as being “Low”. This level of risk requires regular monitoring.


Contact Details




Chief Officer Responsible for the report:




Shaun Harrison,

Transport Projects

Tel 01904 553471




James Gilchrist

Assistant Director of Transport, Highways and Environment


Report Approved









Specialist Implications Officer(s) 

There are no specialist implications.





Wards Affected:  Hull Road & Fishergate














Annex A: Drawing no TP/1900038/GA/01/A