TAXI drivers in York have launched a petition against plans to reduce traffic lanes in Blossom Street, despite the exercise being described as pointless.

York Private Hire Association said it would only call off the petition if City of York Council gave a firm assurance that it would drop proposals to turn one lane of traffic over to a cycle path in Blossom Street.

Last week Coun Steve Galloway, head of city strategy, said there was no need for the petition because an ongoing public consultation showed residents were in favour of an alternative scheme which would not involve the loss of a car lane.

But taxi drivers said the council must be made aware of the level of feeling against the plan.

They also pointed to an incident on Friday night, when a fire engine attending an incident at The Windmill pub, blocked one lane of Blossom Street, causing long tailbacks. Jim Kerr, of the association, said: “We want to carry on with the petition to ensure our view is reinforced with the council because we feel so strongly about it.

“Because of Coun Galloway not giving a total assurance that it wouldn’t go ahead then we felt we had to go ahead with the petition.”

Speaking of the incident on Friday evening, Mr Kerr said the blockage on Blossom Street had seen cars queuing all the way to Tadcaster Road.

“This was the effect of one fire engine in a lane on Blossom Street,” he said.

The council is consulting York residents on three plans to improve facilities for cyclists heading into the city centre at the busy junction of Blossom Street, Nunnery Lane, Micklegate and Queen Street.

Two of the three plans would see a traffic lane lost to a cyclist-only lane ,and some in York fear a repeat of the queues at Clifton Green where a similar system was brought in last year.