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.
The ‘foot streets’ area – which has now been extended to include Blake Street, Lendal, St Helen’s Square, Goodramgate, King’s Square, Church Street and Colliergate – is currently closed to traffic between 10.30am and 5pm. The council will now 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.
And that he is keen to discuss the measures with Blue Badge holders and “make provisions that cater for their needs”.
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 report says 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.
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.”
Barriers in Blake Street and Goodramgate will be staffed at first.
The new measures are set to come into force within the next few weeks.
Council leader Keith Aspden“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.”