York city centre to get a ‘mini makeover’

15 Feb 2013 @ 4.09 pm
| News
A traffic engineer holding one of the new lanterns that is to be installed on Stonegate. Photograph: City Of York Council

Issued by City of York Council

York’s city centre is set to get a ‘mini makeover’ from next week when new lighting, seating and bollards will be either restored, refurbished, removed or replaced as part of the Reinvigorate York initiative.

The scheme is supported by a £200K investment from the council’s Economic Infrastructure Fund and the initial phase of work is programmed to be carried out over the next few weeks.

New lanterns will be installed on Lendal Bridge, Petergate, Colliergate and Stonegate to rejuvenate existing lighting in the area appropriate to the historic environment.

Following a lighting design study, prepared by specialist lighting design consultants Sutton Vane Associates, existing lights are being replaced with new LED and metal halide lights.

These will improve performance and look ‘brighter’ than the existing lights (they give a white light which is nearer to natural sunlight than the existing yellow sodium lights). In turn, the natural light will provide clearer and more easily identifiable coverage for York’s CCTV camera network.

New lighting will also help to enhance the architectural interest of the city walls and important structures in the city centre and will be more sustainable than existing lighting by helping to reduce light pollution in the city and reducing carbon emissions.

In addition to this, following an independent Access and Mobility Audit, which was recently carried out for the council by the Centre for Accessible Environments, a number of measures were recommended to improve and make the city centre streets more accessible to all.

To address this the council is installing a range of new more upright seating which is particularly designed to aid and support older and disabled people and wheelchair users.

Around 40 new seats will be installed in key pedestrianised areas of the city centre to increase the number of seats available or replace existing poor quality seating.

Three different types of seating aim to provide more choice and include:

  • Standard 2 arm seats
  • Seats with 1 arm seats: allowing people who use wheelchairs to move more easily between the wheelchair and seat
  • Seats with 3 arm seats: allowing people who need extra leverage to lower themselves onto and get up off the seat

A number of people from Local Disabled Groups were invited to view and test examples of seating from different suppliers to help with selection.

As part of ongoing work to de-clutter the city centre, a number of bollards will be removed which are no longer required and existing bollards which need to remain will be replaced with 60 new fixed bollards and 20 removable bollards.

The bollards will be of a uniform design and will be fitted with reflector strips as appropriate to make sure that they are easily visible to drivers.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “Reinvigorate York will provide a lasting legacy, enhancing the public realm and supporting city centre retailers and attractions. These works are just a few of the projects currently taking place in the city centre to improve and enhance the quality of the city’s public spaces.

“Along with the council’s investment in the York Minster Revealed project, which ties into our Reinvigorate York initiative to redesign Exhibition Square and improve and enhance the quality of the city’s other public spaces like King’s Square, we are also supporting and investing in York Art Gallery and the refurbishment of St Leonard’s Place to transform this part of the city into a high quality cultural hub for York.”

Works are due to start on Monday 18 February and complete before the end of March – taking place between 6pm and 11pm (no noisy work will be carried out after 10pm).

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