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Everything’s going a bit back to front on Fossgate.

The flow of traffic on the street is being reversed in order to make it more welcoming to residents and shoppers.

In an experimental move, the street will become also become a ‘pedestrian priority zone’. Between 8am and 6pm only pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists who need access to Fossgate properties will be allowed to travel along it.

Road space will also be allocated for street cafes during certain hours. This all comes into play from Sunday (September 17).

Priority over cars

These traffic heavy scenes should be a thing of the past soon

Reversing the flow of traffic effectively means that Merchantgate would effectively become a T-junction.

Cars will soon be able to turn left onto Walmgate/Foss Bridge/Fossgate, as well as right onto Walmgate and out of the city.

So what exactly is a pedestrian priority zone? “A pedestrian priority zone is one where the traffic is controlled in such a way as to increase the confidence of pedestrians that they have priority over cars,” a council spokesman told YorkMix. He added:

The pedestrian priority zone in this case has been created by reversing the one-way direction of the street, therefore making it less attractive as a throughfare for vehicles.

The intention being that from 8am-6pm the road should only be accessed by vehicles that require access to properties/land adjacent to Fossgate, a pedal cycle or at a time when emergency vehicles or works are required to Fossgate.

Could be made permanent

A sign of things to come

The experimental traffic order could last for as long as 18 months. If any objections are made during the experimental period they will be considered before a decision is made on whether to make the scheme permanent.

Councillors can halt it at any time if they feel it isn’t working.

Cllr Ian Gillies, executive member for transport and planning, said: “Fossgate is fast becoming one of York’s most loved streets with a vibrant mix of cafes, bars, restaurants and independent shops making it a great place for people to shop and relax.

“These changes come after an ongoing discussion with residents and businesses to help make the area more appealing.”

The changes follow on from a consultation with businesses and residents on the street and after approval at a decision session on 22 June.

If the trial is considered a success and made permanent more detailed design work will be carried out to replace the temporary measures and to improve the quality of the street.

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