Anger boils over on first day of Groves traffic closure

A woman moves a planter to allow the car to go through. Photographs: YorkMix
2 Sep 2020 @ 7.39 pm
| News

Some drivers responded with fury to the road closures in the Groves today – moving barriers and shouting abuse at residents.

The through-route was closed off in order to reduce traffic congestion and air quality in the area, following consultation with residents. But many motorists were caught out by the changes.

And some reacted with anger.

The new barriers

“I’ve never seen so much anger over something so relatively small,” one Groves resident, who didn’t want to be named, told YorkMix

“My kids were woken up by drivers shouting at the council workers putting in the planters.

“One of my neighbours, who was on a video call asked them to keep it down, and was met with a volley of abuse.”

He said there was nearly an accident “because a white van did a U-turn and pulled out from St John’s Crescent on to Penley’s Grove Street and nearly hit someone”.

Ambulance driver perplexed

Residents put flowers in the planters

Planters had been installed as barriers. One woman was seen to move them so a car could pass through.

Later, children and young people in the area were were putting flowers in the planters – only for another driver to start shouting at Cllr Andy D’Agorne, the transport lead on City of York Council.

Meanwhile an ambulance came down Lowther Street but found its way blocked to Helmsley House, and the driver got out and was heard asking who was responsible for the changes.

No through road

The ambulance then found the diverted route and arrived at Helmsley House.

“Most residents are bemused by the sheer fury of the drivers,” a Groves householder told us.

“I’m sure its been made worse by lockdown. They are so stressed, it’s nuts.”

Some more reactions

Photograph: YorkMix

One Groves resident on Facebook reported “an ambulance, on an emergency call, having to stop, move the barriers and then drive through in order to respond to a serious situation.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get a video for the bit where he called it a ‘f***ing stupid idea’, but he wasn’t wrong.”

Another resident wrote: “I’m really quite angry that at the last minute they’ve decided to open the Eldon Street bollards.

“It is not mentioned in any of the previous consultation documents. This last minute change is likely to cause traffic to use Eldon Street as a short cut to bypass traffic jams on Haxby Road, creating increased traffic through this area of the Groves.

“There were some great ideas put forward by residents that would have genuinely improved air quality and helped green the Groves area. These seem to have been largely ignored by the council.”