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New hope for ban on Fossgate traffic
10:52am Saturday 1st September 2012 in News
CAMPAIGNERS who have long called for a pedestrian zone in a York street are urging the council to press ahead with the move.
As reported in The Press, City of York Council is considering a huge facelift for the city centre, including possible pedestrianisation of Fossgate.
Local traders have welcomed the plans and are now urging councillors to approve the proposal as part of the £3.3 million Reinvigorate York scheme.
Tracey Dyson, of Spring Espresso, said the move could promote a more European-style café culture and she spoke of her hopes for a “social, friendly, safe environment”.
“These changes would not only benefit business owners but also local people and tourists too,” Tracey said.
“Fossgate is just on the periphery. If it was pedestrianised, hopefully it would encourage more people to come down here’”
Tina Hull, of The Hairy Fig delicatessen, said: “It’s just one of these streets that desperately needs doing. I think it would generate a lot of customers for us. People are always saying ‘we didn’t know you were down here’.”
Traders have in the past shown an interest in creating a continental, pedestrian plaza in the street, in the hope that it would encourage shoppers to venture into an overlooked area of the city centre.
The new changes could enable them to expand their businesses by installing outdoor seating.
A petition in 2007 was signed by nearly 800 traders, shoppers and residents calling for Fossgate to be closed to traffic during the day.
The ongoing saga is now gaining momentum and local traders have expressed their desire for the plans to come to fruition.
Jim Hardie, landlord of the Blue Bell pub in Fossgate, said: “I’ve been campaigning for this for 12 years now.”
Val Shallcross, of nearby Supersave said: “We’ve been campaigning for this for as long as I can remember – years, absolutely years.
“More streets in the centre should be pedestrianised, particularly small narrow streets like this. It’s just too dangerous.”
Other traders also expressed their safety fears over the street, describing it as a “rat run for cars”, and showed concern at the number of “near misses” involving cyclists and other vehicles.
The Footstreets Review, which was conducted earlier this month, highlighted Fossgate as one of the areas most in need of pedestrianisation in the city centre.
Suggested improvements to the Stonebow and Whip-ma-Whop-ma Gate junction at the north end of Fossgate could also help to improve pedestrian safety and vehicle congestion.
The possible pedestrianisation of Fossgate is just one of several schemes to be debated in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.