A campaign to turn one of York’s most popular food and shopping streets car-free has received support from more than 1,600 people.
The ‘Free Fossgate’ crusade was launched by a number of the street’s business owners in August.
And the petition to pedestrianise Fossgate has received 1,628 signatures at the time of publication.
Today (Wednesday) the business owners officially handed over the petition to two ward councillors.
And John Brennan, who with wife Diane runs Diana’s Nitrogen Ice Cream Café on the street, revealed his amazing artwork – which must be the longest campaign poster ever unfurled in York:
Landlord of the Blue Bell on Fossgate, John Pybus, is spearheading the Free Fossgate campaign.
“Today we have a petition with over 1,600 signatures. And what we’re really hoping is that York council will listen to the local businesses and finally pedestrianise Fossgate.
“The reason that it’s so important to pedestrianise Fossgate is threefold. First of all, we want improved access for York residents and the visitors to the city, and especially improved access to our disabled residents.
“We also want cleaner air. We all know that York is in a huge valley and air quality is not any good.
“And when you’re living and working on the street, we really think it would be beneficial if we have no cars with a dirty exhaust coming up and down. And the third is cafe culture.”
He said turning Fossgate into a footstreet would make it much easier to bring back the al fresco Fossgate Festival, with its street food, family fun and live entertainment, which was a big hit in previous years.
Taking it forward
Two Guildhall ward councillors, Rachel Melly and Tony Clarke, came to receive the petition today.
Cllr Melly said: “I’m really pleased that local businesses, local residents take so much pride in their area and have worked really hard on this petition.
“There’s clearly a lot of feeling that Fossgate can be even better than it currently is.
“It can be even more accessible, even more enjoyable to live on, work on and visit. So I’m very happy to support the local businesses and local residents to try and find new, better arrangements for traffic on the street that works better for everyone.”
Cllr Clarke said they would “take the idea forward”. He added that the council had to take everyone’s needs into account, including those of Fossgate residents and disabled people.
Cllr Melly added that the idea of pedestrianising Fossgate fitted with the council’s wider transport strategy, including to reduce car journeys by 20%.
The petition will be presented to a City of York Council meeting in the near future.
And John said he wouldn’t be giving up until he saw Fossgate made car-free.
“This all started in 1985, the year of my birth, and I will continue it until my dying day,” he said.