This is Gillygate pictured on a busy Monday.

Normally choked with traffic from Bootham to Clarence Street, today it was quiet and peaceful.

Residents were able to walk down the centre of the deserted road, and breathe air free of exhaust fumes.

This is only a temporary affair. Yorkshire Water has shut the road to undertake sewer repairs.


And all the businesses are open as usual, including the fine range of cafés, restaurants and bars on the street.

If all goes to plan, Gillygate could be reopened to traffic on Friday.

But seeing it like this gives York a glimpse of what life might be like if we permanently banned traffic from the city centre.

Gillygate has some of the worst air pollution in York, and has levels of nitrogen dioxide which breach the World Health Organisation guidelines.

After the city declared a climate emergency, perhaps it is time for the city to look again at removing the traffic gridlock.

After all, imagine the whole city centre like this – every day…