Another behind closed doors decision by York Council
With almost breath taking arrogance, the York Council has issued a statement saying that the closure of the southbound lane at Bishopthorpe Road shops will continue for another 2 months.
There has been no debate about other options and a large petition – which asked for the road to be reopened – has been ignored.
No report on the success or otherwise of what the Council describes as a “trial” has been published.
One of the earliest criticisms of the scheme was that the Council had failed to identify how the success or otherwise of the project would actually be judged. It simply referred, rather loftily, to social distancing and government policy.
In reality, the array of bollards has made little difference to social distancing while the contraflow bike lane has introduced another, unwelcome, hazard for cyclists. There has been no consideration of opening up parallel routes (Darborough Street/Cherry Street & St Benedict’s Road) which would at least have provided a much shorter diversion
Nor has the opportunity been taken, during a relatively quiet period, to test an off peak pedestrianisation of the shops area between 10:30am and 4:00pm. Such a scheme would also have aligned with the governments policies while also providing much more room for social distancing. The impacts both economic and on transportation would have provided some real food for thought.
Too late now though, as imminent road works in the Nunnery Lane area are set to cause even bigger traffic congestion problems with the bus services one likely early victim. Works on the nearby South Bank flood alleviation scheme (subject to a planning committee decision next week) will further add to transport woes in the area.
Not content with increasing pollution levels on Scarcroft Road the new diversion via the City centre will add over a mile to some journeys.
The Council says that residents can Email them with their views. The address is Bishrd@york.gov.uk
We doubt that many will bother. Rather the pressure for the Council to adopt an open and inclusive approach to decision making will mount. The Council leadership needs to move out of its bunker mentality and start to re-engage with the local community.
We saw in 2015 what happened when a particularly stubborn administration tried to force the Lendal Bridge closure on an unwilling population.
The same will happen again unless polices and attitudes change and change quickly.