A TRANSPORT boss has defended the partial closure of a busy York road - as more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be reopened.

The petition claims the decision to make a section of Bishopthorpe Road one way - aimed at giving shoppers more room to socially distance - has caused knock-on delays and congestion on other roads such as Nunnery Lane, along which traffic is being diverted.

The Press reported last week that despite the lockdown, traffic was queuing in Nunnery Lane as far back as the Victoria Bar junction from the Micklegate Bar traffic lights.

The petition claims that when lockdown is completely lifted, roads will be gridlocked and vehicles left idling, worsening pollution levels.

But Cllr Andy D’Agorne, the Green Party executive member for transport on City of York Council, said the queues in Nunnery Lane had now eased greatly, following the completion of roadworks in Blossom Street.

He claimed the utility works in Blossom Street had been the "main cause of the queues" and said there were no queues on Saturday evening at 5pm "beyond the number that could get through on each green phase of the traffic lights".

He also said he witnessed an ambulance on blue lights at about 6pm successfully negotiating barriers blocking Bishopthorpe Road and travelling south along the road, in the opposite direction to the one way system, "so that might reassure residents about response times for emergency services".

Cllr D’Agorne added: “Some residents have commented on how much better it is in terms of traffic using Bishopthorpe Road south and Scarcroft Road, so inevitably some winners and losers.

“You need to remember that the primary reason for it is to allow for safe queuing and social distancing outside the small local shops.”

People signing the petition, entitled ‘Cancel the temporary one-way system on Bishopthorpe Road’, remain unconvinced. One commented: “It is causing heavy traffic on Nunnery Lane and as a local resident it is difficult to access my home,” while another claimed: “It’s a terrible idea. This will cause congestion, pollution and gridlock Nunnery Lane.”