Fossgate is to be closed to traffic during pedestrian hours.
And the city centre pedestrianised zone is to be closed to vehicles until 8pm – in a bid to give people room for social distancing and provide space for cafes and restaurants to put out tables and chairs.
As well as encompassing Fossgate, the footstreets area is being extended to include:
- Goodramgate between Monk Bar and Deangate (except for access)
- College Street
- and Deangate.
It has already been widened to include Blake Street, Lendal, St Helen’s Square, King’s Square, Church Street, Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square), and Colliergate.
As of now the pedestrianised zone is closed to traffic between 10.30am and 5pm. But the council will extend these hours to 10.30am to 8pm, seven days a week.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, said Shambles Market traders will be exempt from the restrictions, as they close their businesses earlier than 8pm.
The council said it is working with York BID, Make It York and businesses across the city to make sure public squares and footstreets are safe, well-managed places.
Help the recovery
A temporary traffic regulation order has been signed off – banning motor vehicles and loading on the city centre pedestrianised streets until 8pm and extending this to Fossgate.
Signs will also be installed. The Blake Street and Goodramgate barriers will be staffed at first.
The new measures are set to come into force within the next few weeks, at a cost of £23,500.
Blue Badge holders are affected – but free Blue Badge parking has been provided in Monk Bar car park, from where a taxi service has been provided to take people into the city centre.
Cllr D’Agorne said he is keen to discuss the measures with Blue Badge holders and “make provisions that cater for their needs”.
Guildhall councillor Denise Craghill welcomed the changes to Fossgate, saying: “This will help the traders with recovery because it makes it so much easier for them to put tables and chairs out.”
She added that it provides more space for social distancing and said emergency vehicles will still have access.
Cllr D’Agorne added: “This action is crucial to help keep residents and visitors safe, in line with latest government guidance, and give you confidence to enjoy everything our wonderful city has to offer.”
Council leader Keith Aspden said: “Alongside free parking for the first two hours, and extra measures for blue badge holders, we’re giving all those people who are working from home throughout the day a chance to get out and enjoy the city centre safely after work.”