Rat-run through the Groves could be closed under radical traffic plan

This is the favoured traffic plan drawn up by City of York Council

City of York Council is considering introducing radical new traffic measures in the Groves to improve the community and cut air pollution.

The cut-through from Monkgate to Clarence Street would be sealed off in both directions. The idea is to stop rat-running but still allow locals access.

It would see Penleys Grove Street closed at its junction with St John’s Crescent. The stretch of Penleys Grove Street between that junction and Brownlow Street would become two-way.


St John’s Cresent and St John Street would be turned one-way, in the direction of Lord Mayor’s Walk. Brownlow Street would be made one-way in the same direction.

Lowther Street would remain one-way but be closed at its junction with Brownlow Street.

Council modelling acknowledges that this would increase traffic on Clarence Street, Lord Mayor’s Walk, Haxby Road, Haley’s Terrace – and a 37% increase on Dodsworth Avenue.

But delays on the network would not change materially – and on balance it could be of overall long term benefit making walking and cycling safer and more attractive in the area.

Start in 2020

Penleys Grove Street would be closed at its junction with St John’s Crescent. Photograph © Google Street View
The proposal follows a regeneration project which has identified through traffic as a barrier dividing the community, contributing to poor air quality and road danger close to a primary school.

A report detailing the work, which would close local streets to through traffic for a trial period, is being taken to a public councillor decision session meeting on Thursday 24 October.

If given the green light, the trial would be introduced after roadworks planned on Lord Mayor’s Walk/Monkgate area are complete in spring 2020.

The changes would ensure local access to properties and local shops is still maintained – ‘although some trips to/from the Groves would become more convoluted’.

If approved, an experimental traffic regulation order (TRO) could be put in place over an 18 months period to determine whether or not to introduce this on a permanent basis.

Adverse effect of cars

Cllr Andy D’Agorne. Photograph: David Lindsay

Executive member for transport Cllr Andy D’Agorne said local residents were very concerned about the level of through traffic down narrow roads like Lowther Street, Penley’s Grove Street and Neville Street.

It was having “a significant adverse impact on the local community”. Cllr D’Agorne added:

  • Residents feel that there is a barrier dividing the community which threatens safety both in terms of risk of accidents and poor air quality.

    It also puts people off getting out and about and meeting up with neighbours – particularly families with children and older people with limited mobility.

    We don’t want to stop people from accessing their homes or local shops by car. It’s important that we all support local businesses and having access for all is key.

    Equally we also need to consider safety, particularly as this route is located next to Park Grove Primary School.

The meeting discussing the changes takes place on Thursday 24 October at West Offices from 2pm. You can read all the details here.

14 thoughts on “Rat-run through the Groves could be closed under radical traffic plan

  1. First of all I would say as resident of Groves I knew nothing about this until close neighbour told me about it then digging around found this page! Why not a stall or display outside Spar on Lowther St so everyone knows? So well done Yorkmix but also well done planners as I think this is definitely step in right direction. I think key thing now is to communicate vision for the groves and show how these traffic measures fit into broader picture.

  2. This is an excellent idea.
    The majority of vehicles that drive through Penleys Grove Street and Lowther Street are simply driving straight through to avoid using the main artery roads. The 20mph is not adhered to with many drivers travelling at 30-40mph. Drivers rarely give way to pedestrians, even when these are vulnerable road users such as children travelling to school. I have been subject to aggressive driving and verbal abuse when I have parked my car in the street because drivers expect to progress as quickly as possible despite the fact that it is a narrow street in a residential area.
    Since I have been in the Groves, Penleys Grove Street had to be closed on two occasions due to a sinkhole and road works. It was notable that traffic on other streets was not adversely affected and the general environment was much more pleasant and safe.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this more and here are more disadvantages for doing this.
    – There are a few local shops in the Groves that rely a lot of passing trade. So closing it off could potentially shut these shops and put people out of a job.
    – Parents who’s kids go to the school in the Groves and live on the North-West side, will now have to drive around the Groves (meaning they need to leave home much earlier to beat traffic), and if the parents then work on the North-West side, then need to drive around yet again (more time, more fuel and more pollution).
    – The Groves isn’t exactly known for its safety at night. Passing vehicles help ensure a safer area.
    – They say its to “cut air pollution”, and yet people will be driving 2-3 times more distance to get to where they need to be, waiting in unnecessary traffic. This is more pollution, not less.
    – They also say safety for the school, but I want to ask, how many accidents have there been outside that school? To my recollection, its zero.

  4. I have a lot of concerns about this, firstly Lowther Street split into two makes no sense unless I am reading the map wrongly. Once you reach the proposed closure of Brownlow St (diagonally) across Lowther St and traffic coming from Haxby Rd/Wiggimton Rd (hospital) coming down Lowther St would need to go down March Street then left onto Penley Grove Street then onto St Johns Street, this just makes no sense to me. Then the bottom half of Lothwer Street would only be used by residents living in Brownlow Street, and Dudley Street, virtally making the bottom half of Lowther Street redundant. I look forward to any comments.

    1. Hi Gary, there will be no access from the direction you describe via Penley’s Grove Street to St John’s Crescent. I live on Penley’s Grove Street, so it will make it impossible to reach the front of my house from what will become, in effect, South Groves. You are correct about the bottom half of Lowther Street. The biggest issue I can see is the increase in traffic (albeit local) down the very narrow St. John’s Street. It’s going to cost a lot local wing mirrors. Richard, YorkMix co-founder.

    2. Yes mis understood proposed street closure, so coming up Penley Grove Street you will need to back down St John Street, then either up or down Lord Mayors walk, thus making the bottom half Penley Grove redundant unless you live there, all sound rather odd to me

  5. It’s not the cars that are the problem it’s the larger vehicles that attempt to get access to some of the roads and then literally find they have nowhere to go. I have seen large trucks reversing out of side streets into Haxby Road. All that’s needed is either width restrictions or an automated bollard system like in Victoria Street

  6. A new road along the line of the old Foss islands railway linking Wigginton rd Haxby rd and Huntington rd would help take traffic away from the hospital and groves area

  7. The comments by Ben and Andy are both correct. York council has no idea how to control traffic, senseless traffic light times where there is a green light ahead but unfortunately everyone is stopped at the red before it.
    Exiting Bootham to Gillygate, for example, is just stupid, a green straight on arrow which does nothing until the lights change to allow the left turn into Gillygate, just give the green light. So many examples of this senseless traffic management.

    1. Traffic lights are like this all over Yor, a disgrace, adn the people in charge should be ashamed of themselves for this. They need to get off their backsides and sort this mess out. One set of lights that drive me mad nearly every day are the ones on the junction of New Lane (Huntington) and Malton Road, they appear to advantage to traffic coming along New Lane and as soon as one car is there the lights on Malton Raod turn to red, regardless of traffic volumes, come YCC get these sorted out. I live in hope.

  8. Such a bad idea traffic will clog up way past the hospital over the bridge and all they way down Crichton Avenue. It means people will have to take longer routes and sit in traffic for longer. Terrible. If we had good public transport that was better than a car journey it’d get used but we don’t. Don’t make it worse for no reason.

  9. yet another brainwave to cause more congestion in York! Traffic down Wigginton road- Crichton Avenue- burton stone lane, is appalling as it is, this was just add fuel to the fire! Crazy idea.. seriously considering moving out of York as it seems to be almost gridlock everyday.. roads need opening not closing! And you wonder why shoppers are staying out of York centre?

  10. That route must be awful for locals, but there’s a reason it’s popular. Travelling along Lord Mayor’s Walk can mean a 15min near-stationary wait sometimes, which is surely far worse over all for pollution levels. So I can’t truly believe that “delays on the network would not change materially” when it’s already past capacity…

    Yes, it would be better if we didn’t have to use cars to get between the far-flung destinations in York. Unfortunately, the businesses at Clifton Moor don’t seem inclined to move to the corner of my street. When the alternative for many journeys to destinations up there is over an hour on multiple buses…

  11. I swear that York Council are trying to cause as much traffic as possible. They need to be opening roads, not closing them. By closing them you force ALL traffic to take one route which just causes more and more congestion.
    The traffic on Wiggington Road, Crichton Avenue and Burton Stone Lane are all a nightmare at rush hour. By closing off the groves, traffic is just going back back up even further.
    That then has knock-on effets such as buses running even later, more pollution with cars stuck in traffic… so stop closing roads and let traffic flow.

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