John Pybus, proprietor of the Blue Bell pub in Fossgate, has started a petition urging York City Council to pedestrianize the popular street.
Proponents believe the move would help ensure cleaner air in the city center, improve access and boost businesses by allowing tables and chairs outside.
Under the health protection regulations introduced during the Covid outbreak in 2020, companies had the option to act outside. John said Fossgate has been transformed into a “beautiful street” with outdoor seating that residents and visitors enjoy in the summer months.
But he said concerns about access for people with disabilities have now prevented most companies from trading outside.
On the petition page, John said, “At a time when hospitality businesses are facing unprecedented financial threats, these businesses need external commercial space more than ever.”
“These businesses are part of our community and owned by local people. Therefore, we also share the concern for disabled residents and visitors to our companies. We believe that the best solution – and one that suits everyone’s needs – is to make Fossgate fully pedestrianised.”
“If there were no vehicles on the street, there would be more than enough space to accommodate sidewalk cafe licenses and the needs of our local disabled community. In addition, residents, staff and visitors to Fossgate would benefit from cleaner air to breathe and the greatly improved environment.
“City Council of York – please put this long history behind us and do the right thing. Make Fossgate pedestrianized for the benefit of all.”
Businesses on the street including Marzano, Cozy Time, Remedy, Diane’s Ice Cream, The Blue Bell, Rise, Kiosk, Everest Gurkha, Fossgate Social and The Hairy Fig are supporting the petition.
A spokesman for the kiosk cafe said it was “heavily reliant on outdoor seating” to bring in the extra money to operate.
They said: “We want York to be a fun, exciting and thriving city that champions small, independent businesses. We believe a pedestrianized street in Fossgate would keep that dream alive.”
“We don’t know if this petition can change the Council’s mind, but we live in hope.”
Councilor Pete Kilbane, deputy leader and executive member for business and transport, said councilors would now review their decisions in light of the petition.
Cllr Kilbane said: “In 2017 the council reversed traffic flow as part of a half a million pound investment in the road, which has significantly improved the environment for residents and businesses.”
“Pedestrianization was considered at the time, but there are significant challenges due to access to land outside Fossgate, the availability of Blue Badge parking and the ability to turn delivery vehicles around on the street.
“I have discussed this with local councilors and will continue to explore all options with residents and businesses. The petition will also be considered when we develop a city-wide transportation and movement plan later this year.”
The petition currently has more than 1,400 signatures.
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23779063.york-petition-calls-council-pedestrianise-fossgate/?ref=rss York: Petition calls on city council to pedestrianize Fossgate