“Give us room to ride!” – Protesters surround Piccadilly

That was the appeal of cyclists and disability activists who briefly cordoned off Piccadilly tonight in protest of the council’s street plans that will be discussed at a council decision-making session on Tuesday.

The ‘final design’ plans, first published last July, would see driveways widened and adorned with trees and shrubs in planters. There would also be loading docks for companies.

The process has already begun, for example, outside the new Hampton Hotel.

The board says the aim of the improvements – introduced as part of the larger Castle Gateway master plan – is to create a ‘smooth meander’ that will transform the street into a ‘vibrant urban neighbourhood’.

But while there is a 20 mph limit, the plans DO NOT include a segregated bike lane. The municipality says that, as it is closer to the city centre, the street is too narrow to allow a bike path.

York press:

Wide floors, planters and a loading dock outside the Hampton Hotel in Piccadilly

Cyclists say it’s only because the city is widening the sidewalks, and putting in loading docks and planters.

Disability activists are also furious at the reduction in the number of blue-badged parking spaces on the street.

York transport chief Cllr Andy D’Agorne stressed that no final decision on the scheme has yet been taken – and that next Tuesday’s meeting includes an option to ‘pause’ the process.

But speaking at tonight’s protest, Kate Ravilious of the York Cycle Campaign said: “We are angry that on one of the widest roads in York, the council says they cannot find space for a bike lane or for people with disabilities to park.”

She said many of the street’s traffic problems could easily be resolved if the council closed it to traffic.

Many of the 5,000 cars that use the street every day were just using it as a shortcut, and weren’t even reaching downtown, she said. cars would be kept out of the city center and forced around the inner ring road, she said.

“Two-thirds of traffic can be stopped.”

York press:

Protesters in Piccadilly tonight

Disability activist Flick Williams said blue badge holders were already effectively cut off from much of the city. They would be losing more spots to blue badges in the castle parking lot, she added – so the council should at least try to keep some on Piccadilly.

There would be some spaces once the street changes were completed, she admitted. “But they will be a lot less. It’s a hopeless situation.”

Cycle activist Andy Shrimpton said the board’s proposals made no sense.

They were creating a new cycle path from St George’s Field, across the inner ring road, behind the Castle Museum. and across the Foss on a new bridge, he said.

However, when the route reached Piccadilly, it would suddenly stop. “We should just join the traffic. Would you like to do this with your 12 year old?”

Cllr D’Agorne said four options will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Two of these will involve moving forward with the ‘preferred option’, possibly with some changes. A third would involve reviewing plans to allow more blue badge parking, while a fourth would mean pausing the plan to allow for more changes – including allowing the bike path to continue to George Street and then Walmgate.

“I will hear the representation at the meeting,” said Cllr D’Agorne.

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