Traders in one of York’s most famous streets have suggested radical traffic changes, to help with its revitalisation.
Micklegate has been one-way since June, while the Bar is restored, with traffic heading out of the city redirected.
Thousands of motorists have had to use alternative routes but some traders say the street has been more pleasant in the past few months, with less air pollution, less congestion and more space.
They are calling for the one-way system to become permanent and they have asked to meet transport officials from City of York Council to discuss the idea.
‘I would love this’
The suggested change would mean traffic would no longer be allowed through the central arch of Micklegate Bar.
The street would be one-way, with traffic allowed to come from Blossom Street in to Micklegate, but banned from heading up Micklegate from the city centre.
Archaeologists are known to favour the idea because of the likely reduced harm to the bar itself. Restrictions have been made previously at Monk Bar and Walmgate Bar, protecting one archway in each case.
Shelagh Garside, who runs the Curtain Up shop and who chairs Micklegate Traders Association, said today: “I would love this to be one-way.
“It’s a different atmosphere now. When it was two-way, because the road itself is quite narrow, it can be quite tight, and if there is a wagon parked it can cause total chaos.
“You can be sat with a queue of traffic pumping out fumes, which cannot be good for the buildings or our health.”
Micklegate has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with the arrival of several new businesses, including the highly-regarded restaurants Rattle Owl and Skosh.
The annual Micklegate Soapbox Challenge has also reenergised the business community and helped bring new people to what was historically York’s great street.
The street was also exempted from the city council’s ban on A-boards within the inner ring-road, to help businesses continue to reinvent Micklegate.
Shelagh said she had spoken to other traders, who had also welcomed the idea.
Ben Hudson of Hudson Moody estate agents told her: “I do feel the street has been a better environment in which to work, and the quieter atmosphere is better suited to the café culture we are trying to establish here.
“I would very much welcome a one-way system, and perhaps wider pavements in due course.”
She said staff at Plaskitt & Plaskitt and the BrewDog pub had also been supportive, and some traders felt people may be more likely to head down the street when walking the Walls, if they saw it was more welcoming to pedestrians.
Cllr Ian Gillies, City of York Council’s executive member for transport and planning, said: “I am happy to meet the traders and talk about it learn from the closure of Micklegate Bar, and to discuss what the options are for the future.”