York footstreets to be extended as part of major changes to kickstart city’s recovery

Traffic could be permanently banned from Colliergate. Photograph: YorkMix
5 Jun 2020 @ 5.19 pm
| Business

York’s footstreets are to be extended to provide people with more space to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier.

City of York Council said the city centre pedestrian zone – already one of the largest in Europe – will be expanded from 15 June. That’s the date non-essential shops can reopen.

Pedestrian zones will be extended to include the following streets:

  • Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square)
  • King’s Square
  • Church Street
  • Colliergate
  • Blake Street
  • St Helen’s Square
  • Lendal.

The core footstreet rules will apply to the extension area. This means vehicles will be banned from accessing, or parking on, these streets, including deliveries, between 10.30am and 5pm.

During the footstreet times, barriers will be in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, and staffed to begin with. Emergency vehicles and the Dial-a-Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.

Evening hours

The council is exploring a further extension of the hours in to the evening, to coincide with the reopening of the hospitality sector.

And it may introduce incentivised short-stay parking in some of the city’s car parks to encourage the safe return of residents and visitors. 

Council leader Keith Aspden said: Planning for the city’s recovery and to build back a better York is our key priority.  

“We are moving at pace to introduce new measures before the 15 June to support social distancing and our local businesses. Business packs will be available this week to help support local retailers and businesses reopen safely this month.

“We are taking these decisive steps to become a more inclusive, safer, healthier and sustainable city.”

Next steps

Guidance on safely opening will be issued to businesses this week, with a toolkit to be made available next week.

Ahead of the 15 June, safety and guidance street signs/floor stickers and markings will in place across the city centre for pedestrians. Public toilets will also have reopened and the Council is working with partners to provide additional facilities.

The extension of footstreets forms part of the Council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, which has five interdependent strands that will be delivered over the next few months, including:

  • creating a people focused city centre including increasing the city centre foot streets and public spaces to create an attractive environment that people can visit with confidence with space to social distance
  • prioritising active travel (including cycling and walking) by investing in and improving park and cycle sites, increased cycle parking and new cycle routes
  • encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by considering incentivised short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks. A report will come to the June meeting of the Executive detailing the locations, the offers and times, and will include morning, afternoon and evening offers.
  • maintaining confidence in and responding to the short term reduction in capacity on public transport – by working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence
  • supporting secondary shopping areas, with more details to follow in the report to the June meeting of the executive.

The council is also exploring where it can create additional capacity for Blue Badge holders elsewhere in the city by the 15 June, and provide further support.  This will include shop-mobility type assistance and additional replacement disabled bays at Monk Bar Car Park.