A survey on planned changes to the junction at Bootham Bar, Gillygate and Lord Mayor’s Walk closes on Wednesday.
There are two options – both would see traffic lights upgraded but one proposal would add a pedestrian crossing, take out a lane of traffic and cause “significant traffic increases” according to the designers.
But York Civic Trust traffic experts say the impact would not be as bad as town planners warn. They say drivers will find another route – adding that they may use the outer ring road instead.
The council says option B would be better for walkers and cyclists but would cut car space at the junction by 30 per cent.
But a spokesperson for the Civic Trust said their own research suggests problems will be minor, adding: “Our findings confirm that the capacity of the junction would be reduced, but only by around 15 per cent, because vehicles would be using it more efficiently.
“We predict that up to a sixth of drivers would take routes which avoid the junction and the city centre, in many cases using the outer ring road.”
They add that residents living in the area are understandably worried about increases in pollution – adding: “Our assessment suggests that the main reductions in traffic would be on Bootham and St Leonard’s Place, with little change on Gillygate.”
York Civic Trust said said: “We strongly support the principle of this second option, which offers the potential for much needed improvements to public realm in this historically important location.
“The council, in its consultation on upgrading the outer ring road last year made clear that one of its objectives was to “encourage traffic out of the city centre.
“We agree that this would be a major benefit of the ring road upgrade, and argue that it is sensible, in any redesign of city centre junctions, to allow for, enable and encourage such diversion.
“The council’s second option for this junction would achieve this.
“We suggest that the design of this enhancement could be further enhanced for both cyclists and pedestrians.
“For cyclists we would like to see advanced stop lines, as at Micklegate Bar, so that cyclists can enter this awkward junction ahead of vehicles, and potentially a new route into the junction from High Petergate.
“For pedestrians we suggest that the length of St Leonard’s Place between Exhibition Square and Bootham Bar might be repaved, to emphasise that this historic location is a place to be in, rather than simply to pass through.”
Take part in the consultation here.