Not easy on foot: Fishergate to Bishopthorpe Road via Castle Gateway

By Susan Major

In Step 2 My Castle Gateway process we’re seeking to address key challenges that arise from our Draft Brief. The aim is to understand the issues better so we can refine the brief and openly address disagreements and tensions. Below is a blog by Susan Major who took part in our Public Space Challenges event on 12th September. We realised at the event that we needed to understand better what makes public spaces work and how public spaces are connected so all of us decide to note our everyday experience of these issues. Thanks to Susan for kicking this process off!

I came back from a trip to the University and got off the bus at Fishergate, to walk round to Bishopthorpe Road, passing the Castle Gateway area.

Firstly there was a car taking over most of the pavement outside the Masons Arms. This happens from time to time, sometime big white vans park on the pavement outside the shops further down, when they’re doing work, leaving the road clear but blocking the pavement for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Cars blocking the pavement

Another general bugbear of ours in York is the placing of traffic signs for motorists, which regularly block pavements.

Diverted traffic on a pavement

If I were interested in entering Piccadilly the desire line is at the end of Piccadilly, where the central railings finish, and we’ve often taken our lives into our hands doing this, as have others. The official access is further south to the crossing where the inner ring road joins or west to the Skeldergate crossing. By my calculation the distance between these two is a third of a mile. We’ve seen many tourists scratching their heads how to cross near Skeldergate Bridge, or dicing with the traffic.

My third picture shows the view from the south side of the dual carriageway looking at the side of the Castle Museum and the garden, with a banner which entices visitors. Once again if we were attracted into this space we would have to find a safe crossing a long way away.

Back of the Castle Museum – but how do you get there?

And then lastly we pass the roundabout, with good views of Clifford’s Tower, the space around it and the historic buildings. Lots of cluttery unattractive direction signs for motorists, nothing as far as I can see for pedestrians and no way across here. It would be great to doctor the image to take away the traffic infrastructure.

The various – and confusing – layers of traffic signage as you approach Cliifford’s Tower

I’m also sending a photo I took of Clifford Tower recently, when I was delighted to see people relaxing around the green space on a sunny day.

Crossing towards Clifford’s Tower


If you’d like to share your experience of being in the Castle Gateway area today, an example of a public space that really works or your vision of public space in the Castle Gateway area in the future let us know. The detail of everyday life really matters!

Leave a Comment