Town centre traffic flow in Harrogate is to transformed with a new pedestrian crossing - at a cost of £100,000.
Work is to start on the crossing at the junction of Lower Station Parade, Station Parade and Cheltenham Parade on February 2, lasting six weeks.
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) says the work is a necessary step towards improving the town’s transport interchange, making the junction safer for high volumes of pedestrians.
“This work will improve safety and the flow of pedestrians into the town centre,” said County Coun Gareth Dadd, executive member for Highways.
“This junction has long proved difficult to navigate for people on foot and the new crossing will greatly improve ease of access to Harrogate’s centre and all its attractions.”
The new junction will “simplify” the existing layout, says NYCC, while ensuring there are no additional delays to traffic.
Something called a ‘pedestrian all red crossing’ will be created, meaning walkers will have priority over traffic and can cross in several directions from one central point while the lights are on red.
Consultations have been held on the project, NYCC says, and letters have been sent to residents and businesses affected this week.
Coun Dadd said: “As with all works of this nature, there will be some inconvenience during the construction phase, however every effort will be made to keep people informed and any disruption to a minimum.”
The project will be joint funded by the Department for Transport and NYCC’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
The existing junction is hard to use, says NYCC particularly for those with a mobility impairment. It has a “disjointed” layout, with pedestrians sometimes having to use four road crossings to get to where they want to go, and can become severely overcrowded.
To allow for the changes, all existing pelican crossings at Cheltenham Parade near Station Parade and Beulah Street will be removed, as well the pedestrian island on Lower Station Parade, signal controls will be introduced, and the guardrails will be removed.
Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for sustainable transport, Coun Rebecca Burnett, said this was a great opportunity.
“Pedestrians dodging in and out of the traffic is clearly dangerous for everyone but the scheme will address that problem,” she said.
“Local businesses have long called for the barriers to be removed and this new scheme will achieve that as well as improving safety.”