City of York Council is asking disabled people across York to let them know how city centre changes made in response to coronavirus have affected accessibility.
See more information about how to take part in the Blue Badge city centre consultation.
In June 2020 the council executive agreed to emergency measures to expand the number of pedestrianised footstreets, which now run for an extra 3 hours until 8.00pm, to allow more space for social distancing and for cafes and restaurants to take advantage of pavement trading.
The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery Transport and Place 1 Year Strategy, adopted by the Executive on 24 June 2020. This aims to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.
Replacement Blue Badge parking has been added at different locations around the edges of the city centre, with more added this week.
The council want to hear from all disabled people in York, whether they use a blue badge or not, and any other residents who feel the footstreets extension has affected their ability to access the city centre.
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader and executive member for transport, said:
“2020 was going to be the year we explored how to make sure everyone can access and enjoy our city centre. Yet coronavirus meant we had to first cancel the ‘My City Centre’ engagement exercise and then use emergency powers to protect residents jobs and allow York to reopen safely.
“The footstreets extensions have given vital room for social distancing, allowing people returning to the city and supporting all our local businesses.
“We didn’t have time to consult with everyone who would be affected, so knew there would be concerns that couldn’t be fully mitigated. We know there will be a range of things we need to do, so we want to hear from as many people as possible to understand all the challenges and seek to find ways to overcome them.
“Now is the right time to look at what is working, what needs to change and what we need to consider when we look at future arrangements to keep residents safe and protect jobs. So please join the conversation and help us make sure that everyone can enjoy our city.”
Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for economy and strategic planning, said:
“It is important that all residents and businesses are engaged in the plans for recovery.
“Our hard-earned reputation as a safe, welcoming city is attracting residents and visitors, protecting thousands of jobs in our retail, hospitality and cultural sectors.
“The rapid changes footstreets and replacement blue badge measures had proved helpful to keep some businesses running but it is recognised that for the longer term there needs to be a review .
“I look forward to hearing more from residents and working with businesses to boost a local economy which is accessible to and benefits all our residents.”
The council wants to hear from disabled people, blue badge holders, carers and anyone else who feels the footstreets changes have affected the ease with which they can access the city centre.
The results of the engagement will:
- provide ways to improve the existing alternative access arrangements
- give the council’s Executive a full understanding of the impact of the footstreets extension and provide options to increase accessibility to the city centre if the extension continues.
With public gatherings difficult during the current restrictions, the council is using a survey approach – available online and hard copy – as well as talking to disabled groups across the city to reach their members.
The council is also scheduling an online workshop in Mid-September to explore the challenges.
You can join the conversation in a number of ways. You can fill in a survey by Monday 28 September at www.york.gov.uk/OBCAccess, A hard copy of the survey along with a freepost return address will also be included in the September edition of the council’s Our City publication, distributed to York households from 7 September.
If you are interested in taking part in an online workshop to explore the challenges around accessibility and footstreets and ideas please email email@example.com.
Changes affecting blue badge parking
We have extended pedestrianised footstreets to include the following streets:
- Blake Street
- Church Street
- Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square)
- King’s Square
- St Helen’s Square
At the same time, we extended the footstreets time into the evening. This means vehicles are not allowed to access or park on footstreets, including deliveries, between 10.30am and 8pm, seven days a week.
We understood that this would impact on some businesses, disabled people and residents living in the city centre.
As there was no time to consult, the council drew on feedback from previous consultation and put some alternative arrangements in place.
- 40 temporary dedicated disabled parking bays at Monk Bar car park. This was chosen because previous consultations suggested blue badge holders preferred the open car parks to multi-storeys. The height restriction has also been removed
- a free taxi shuttle service, run by licensed York Hackney Carriages to drop off and collect from the edge of the footstreets at Barnitts on St Andrewgate. The taxi service will continue until at least the end of September. It will be reviewed based on its popularity and the availability of alternative parking. See more information about the taxi shuttle service
- temporary disabled parking bays on the edge of the footstreet areas at Duncombe Place, St Saviourgate, Dundas Street and Carmelite Street, available from Wednesday 2 September
- working with Shopmobility to ensure they reopened at the same time as the changes were introduced
Free Blue Badge parking is still available in every council car park, in resident parking zones, on double yellow lines and in the new bays along Piccadilly introduced in early 2020.