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Footstreets to be extended to aid social distancing and kickstart York’s economic recovery

Published Friday, 5 June 2020

York's footstreets are set to be extended from 15 June.

City of York Council is extending York’s footstreets from 15 June to increase pedestrian zones within the city centre and support local businesses by providing residents more space to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier.

The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.

York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, with many areas within York’s city centre already designated as pedestrian footstreets.

In line with the Government relaxing the restrictions for retailers this month, pedestrian zones will be extended to include the following streets:

  • Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square)
  • King’s Square
  • Church Street
  • Colliergate
  • Blake Street
  • St Helen’s Square
  • Lendal

The core footstreet rules will apply to the extension area, including no vehicles being allowed to access, or park on, these streets, including deliveries between 10.30am and 5pm.

During the footstreet times, barriers (staffed for an initial period) will be in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, but emergency vehicles and the Dial-a-Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.

The council is exploring a further extension of the hours in to the evening, to coincide with the reopening of the hospitality sector, alongside encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by considering incentivized short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks. 

Blue Badge holders can, as has always been the case, park for free in any council car park and can take advantage of using disabled bay spaces in Council car parks too. For more information on council car parks visit www.york.gov.uk/parking

Blue Badges:

The council is also exploring where it can create additional capacity for Blue Badge holders elsewhere in the city by the 15 June, and provide further support.  This will include shop-mobility type assistance and additional replacement disabled bays at Monk Bar Car Park. Guides will be available to direct people to other car parks and provide on the day information about car parking availability. 

Dial and Ride offers a service for people with difficulty walking or using public transport. Specially adapted buses offer a door-to-door service from your home to the city centre or out of town retail parks and supermarkets.  To contact Dial and Ride, please call 01904 551441.

Shopmobility is a registered charity that provides electric scooters, wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs for hire to enable people to enjoy the shops and attractions in York.  To contact Shopmobility, please call 01904 679 222 or email info@shopmobilityyork.org.uk.

We will continue to work with those who have additional access requirements to make sure all residents are still able to access the city centre.

Any residents who are vulnerable or are medically shielding can continue to access support through our community hubs, which continue to:

  • support the most vulnerable residents with delivering foods
  • deploy York's pool of volunteers
  • support people with collecting and delivering their prescriptions
  • support community pharmacies with deliveries, working with Move the Masses

Anyone needing help because they are directly affected by coronavirus and have no other source of help or who are struggling financially, should email covid19help@york.gov.uk or call 01904 551550. The helpline is open seven days a week.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

Planning for the city’s recovery and to build back a better York is our key priority.  We are moving at pace to introduce new measures before the 15 June to support social distancing and our local businesses. Business packs will be available this week to help support local retailers and businesses reopen safely this month. We are taking these decisive steps to become a more inclusive, safer, healthier and sustainable city.

“Over the last few months, we have seen a fantastic response from our communities to slow the spread of the virus. It is important that we continue these efforts by adopting a public-health approach to guide our recovery, so we can continue to make safer choices and to support each other.

“Residents will be able to give feedback about the recovery plans by participating in the city-wide consultation “Our Big Conversation”, which will help produce a long-term vision for the city. This will be launched in the next couple of weeks, so please look out for the detail to follow.”

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport, said: 

“Extending our footstreets is an important step to improve access to the city centre in a safe and easy fashion, as well as making the most of the most of the opportunities to support our businesses in these difficult times.

“This action is crucial to help keep residents and visitors safe, in line with latest government guidance.”

Next Steps:

Guidance on safely opening will be issued to businesses this week, with a toolkit to be made available next week. Ahead of the 15 June, safety and guidance street signs/floor stickers and markings will in place across the city centre for pedestrians. Public toilets will also have reopened and the Council is working with partners to provide additional facilities.

The extension of footstreets forms part of the Council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, which has five interdependent strands that will be delivered over the next few months, including:

  • creating a people focussed city centre including increasing the city centre foot streets and public spaces to create an attractive environment that people can visit with confidence with space to social distance
  • prioritising active travel (including cycling and walking) by investing in and improving park and cycle sites, increased cycle parking and new cycle routes
  • encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by considering incentivised short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks. A report will come to the June meeting of the Executive detailing the locations, the offers and times, and will include morning, afternoon and evening offers.
  • maintaining confidence in and responding to the short term reduction in capacity on public transport - by working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence
  • supporting secondary shopping areas, with more details to follow in the report to the June meeting of the Executive.

The council will deliver these measures at pace to accelerate the recovery of the economy, allowing doors to open safely in June whilst protecting residents’ safety.

Extending footstreets is the first action to support the reopening of the city this month, but the council is continuing to work with stakeholders and partners to improve, evolve and refine these proposals.

Residents will be able to give feedback about the plan by participating in the city-wide consultation “Our Big Conversation” helping to produce a long-term vision for the city. This will be launched in the next couple of weeks.

Residents can stay up-to-date with the latest proposals and Our Big Conversation by signing up to the weekly resident newsletter: www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates