Road closure scheme in York set to become permanent
A controversial low traffic neighbourhood north of York city centre is set to be made permanent by the council.
Roads were closed in The Groves in September 2020 after residents complained about rat-running through the residential area.
Traffic has “significantly reduced” in the area, air quality has improved, cycling has increased, and more community activities have taken place, a report to City of York Council’s executive states.
But traffic has increased on surrounding roads, including Lord Mayor’s Walk, Clarence Street, Haxby Road, Monkgate, Huntington Road, Haley’s Terrace and Dodsworth Avenue.
People who used to travel through The Groves have had their journey times increased by up to eight minutes and some bus services have been hit, though the emergency services have not raised any major concerns about access with the council.
Ann Stacey, chair of The Groves’ Residents’ Association, welcomed the news.
She said: “The difference in the quality of life for residents since the trial began has been very obvious: we are seeing less traffic, less noise and less pollution, and people are more able to stop and chat when they meet in the streets which is good for everyone’s health and wellbeing.
“The majority of objections have been from people who use the roads as a shortcut. Most people who live in the area are appreciating the improved quality of life.”
But Conservative group leader Paul Doughty said it was obvious that the scheme reduced traffic within the Groves.
He said: “What else do they expect when they shut the through roads? By their own admission, and using their words not mine, their decision has ‘impact on the traffic flow on surrounding streets, as is the case here’.
“It’s not exactly rocket science – they are simply moving traffic congestion to remaining routes – and intend wasting another up to £80,000 of council taxpayers cash to do it.”
Cllr Doughty said the impact on surrounding roads would hit businesses.
He added: “Have they not seen all the empty city centre retail premises? The city centre needs help, not more reasons to go out of town or stay away.”
The council’s executive is being asked to approve the scheme being made permanent next week, subject to some changes. These include upgrades to junctions, cycling improvements, as well further monitoring of the impacts on surrounding residential streets.
The council’s deputy leader and executive member for transport, Andy D’Agorne, said: “While such trials often impact on the traffic flow in surrounding streets, as is the case here, the significant improvements brought about by these restrictions have directly addressed the concerns expressed by the local residents and also given us valuable insight which will be used in the development of the future transport plans for the city.”