York’s £30K social distancing signs and free parking offer ‘confusing’

Signs outlining social distancing advice in York need improving, and the new free parking offer is confusing for visitors, councillors have been told.

Phil Pinder, chair of York Retail Forum, said there are not enough signs to guide people around the city centre.

And that posters saying the city walls have reopened one way are not obvious enough – leading visitors to clash when walking in the wrong direction.

A City of York Council spokesperson confirmed the Let’s Be York Campaign cost £25,400 – from the EU’s Reopening the High Streets Fund – with a further £6,000 spent on printing the signs.

They said the money was spent on designing posters for public toilets, car parks and public health messaging, business guidance packs, hospitality packs, Blue Badge direct mail, social media posts, videos and animations.

Need to do better

A Shambles one-way sign. Photograph: YorkMix

Speaking at a council meeting, Mr Pinder said measures to boost business are welcome – but highlighted problems.

He said: “There are some real concerns of the signage that has been created and there’s a real lack of it to be honest.

“Hearing that it cost over £30,000 to design is a real worry for me and it seems to be a bit of a waste of money if you’re not actually going to put any signs down after you’ve designed them.

“We need to do better on the signage and make the city feel safer for everyone.”

The one-way system on Shambles to help with social distancing was scrapped by the council – after someone removed ‘no entry’ signs installed at the Pavement entrance.

Another look

He added that the free parking offer – which offers two free hours in July and one hour in August after 10am at some council car parks for users of the Ringo Parking App – is too confusing.

And Cllr Claire Douglas said: “The parking offer – we think that residents and visitors are finding that hard to understand.

“I think we really need to go back and have a bit of a look at that.”

Andy Kerr, head of regeneration at the council, said the parking offer only applies to some car parks because the local authority does not want to encourage more car journeys within the inner ring road.

And that the signs are constantly under review.

He said: “We implemented a circulation management plan and some of that has involved some one-way walking streets in the very narrowest parts of the city.

“But then lots of signage around observing social distancing and some areas we we’ve trialled keep left signs as well.

“We’re reviewing what’s working, we’re continuing to upgrade, adapt and amend it where it isn’t working, but we’ve produced a huge number of signs which are consistent and they’re free to use for all partners and businesses.”

He said it offers “gentle” rather than “big scary” instructions.