We ran our first My Future York stall on Bishopthorpe Road last weekend (24th September, 2-4pm). We had sustained conversations with eleven people/families and more fleeting interactions with 15 or so more. Here are 10 ideas for 2026, they are a mixture of the most common and the most striking and unusual:
1) Bishopthorpe Road to be pedestrianized or become a shared space (so cars have to give priority to pedestrians). We were standing on the Bishopthorpe Road pavement and battling to speak over traffic noise so maybe this idea coming forward repeatedly wasn’t surprising, but it is an idea that had also already surfaced through the written Days in My Life.
2) Safer cycling again a popular idea. Specific ideas were proposed such as designated cycling paths and – when spaces were shared – cyclists needing to give way to pedestrians.
3) Reduce Air Pollution One contributor thought a way forward to reduce air pollution would be for the council to invest in electric car recharging stations. Others were worried this wouldn’t address congestion and emphasized public transport and cycling.
4) Ban all stag and hen dos from 2017. The question of anti-social behaviour on weekend evenings came up repeatedly last week (as it has in the written stories). Some blamed drink. Others didn’t blame drink as such but said there needed to be more regulation of behaviour. Stories were told of seeing men peeing in broad daylight; having to explain rude slogans on t-shirts to 8 year olds and a man exposing himself to a woman and her daughter. ideas including some kind of PG rating on t-shirts etc until after 8pm. One idea was more police in town on a weekend. One radical idea was to ban all stag and hen dos. Another was how to create a cultural change so you could get as drunk as you like but certain types of behaviour would start to feel unacceptable.
5) Allotments. That all new city centre / York Central housing developments should have allotments built in.
6) Swimming was a popular topic. A swimming pool back in town was hoped for, as was outside swimming, perhaps as we were near the site of the old outdoor pool in Rowntrees Park. Feels like a York Lido Society needs to be formed…
7) Bring back the Arts Centre. The Arts Barge was celebrated but the old Arts Centre near Ouse Bridge mourned.
8) Nuture the city centre. Monk’s Cross and Clifton Moor were generally seen as mistakes that failed to look after the city centre and ensure the city centre as a living place for local people rather than just a place for visitors.
9) More places for 12-18 year olds to hang out – possibly a community centre in Rowntrees Park (which in our imaginary 2026 no long closes at dusk) and which might show films and have on various courses and events.
10) ‘More for us that live here’ / Recognize that lots of things happen in York because we have tourists. This is the dilemma that runs through a lot of discussion of the city centre. That the city centre – because of the out of town shopping centre and/or anti-social behaviour – is becoming a place of less appeal to locals, especially with local areas such as Bishopthorpe Road developing into their own micro-centre. Yet at the same time many we spoke to recognized that much of the cultural infrastructure – whether arts or restaurants – is enabled by the fact York has visitors. An issue worth further debate…
We’ll be on Acomb Front Street this afternoon between 2-4pm. Let’s see how this list compares…
If you’re interested we can also share a transcript of the unprocessed data. Just get in touch.