Coronavirus: York closes road to improve social-distancing

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Bishopthorpe RoadImage source, Ian Capper
Image caption,
The street has a number of independent retailers

One lane on a busy shopping street in York has been closed to allow better social-distancing for residents and cyclists.

The city council said the southbound closure on Bishopthorpe Road applied to the main shopping area between Darnborough Street and Scarcroft Road.

It said it was trialling the idea ahead of any easing of lockdown restrictions.

Business leaders have already suggested some city streets should be one-way for pedestrians.

Council deputy leader Andy D'Agorne said the lockdown had reduced traffic but had resulted in an increased number of people walking and cycling.

He said that had created pinch points on some streets and the council was responding to concerns from small shops whose customers were having to queue while staying apart.

"There is limited width of pavement outside these small shops," he said.

"It is quite a busy road so there have been concerns about pedestrian safety. Because of the width of the road it has to be restricted to provide that extra pavement space.

"It is also a model for other places in the city, which might have similar problems, to see if this is the right approach."

'Friendly' queues

Simon Kneafsey, from M & K Butchers, said the closure was a bit late.

"The queues seem very friendly and we just feel that one-way traffic seems to be a bit extreme.

"We're a good five weeks into lockdown and yet now we are just imposing these measures."

Mr D'Agorne said he would have preferred to have made the change earlier and said it was only a trial to see if this was the right approach.

"The government has indicated we could be required to social distance for up to a year so we do need to know what the options are for the council," he added.

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