Station Parade has become an 'utter nightmare’ of safety concerns and traffic jams as a result of the new £100,000 “scramble” crossing, according to business owners.
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) announced the new crossing in January this year in an attempt to improve traffic flow and safety for the high volume of pedestrians.
However, residents have complained furiously over the ‘confusing’ crossing with business owners on the road eventually voicing their concerns to NYCC’s Executive Member for Highways.
Dennis MacFarlane, managing director at Up & Running, organised the meeting with Coun Don Mackenzie to highlight his safety concerns whilst suggesting possible improvements.
He said: ““The crossing has been described as a ‘scramble crossing’ and that is exactly what happens. People scramble across it as quickly as possible before they are mowed down by oncoming traffic.
“I’m absolutely incensed. The road is an utter nightmare for pedestrians and, eventually, somebody will be killed. It’s a laughing stock and everybody in Harrogate knows it.”
"There wasn’t anything wrong with the crossing. If it wasn’t broke, why did it need fixing?
“The whole street is up in arms but the NYCC are not strong enough to stand up and say they have made a mistake and that is unacceptable.”
In October, an 83-year-old was hit by a car travelling on Station Parade, close to the entrance to the bus station, and died on November 6 as a result of the injuries he suffered.
Business owners have complained that the crossing doesn’t give enough time for pedestrians to cross whilst traffic is often backed up to the Royal Hall as a result.
Dianne Matthews, owner of Truffle’s Cafe on Station Parade, also attended the meeting and said she had witnessed older and vulnerable residents struggle to make it across the crossing.
She said: “You only have five seconds to cross and when the beeps finish you can see older people panic and start to rush across.
Coun Mackenzie has admitted the junction has caused a considerable amount of misunderstanding and an increase in congestion but believes pedestrians still have long enough to cross.
He said: “I want to reassure people that the beeping only lasts for five seconds but the lights will stay on red for the traffic for 10 seconds.
“The reason it stops early is if you let it go until the end people could set off on the last beep and then you would be holding the traffic up for even longer to cross the road.”
A number of improvements had been suggested by during the meeting and Coun Mackenzie confirmed they would be considered by NYCC.
He said: “We are going to look at possibly making Station Parade one way, so in other words have two lanes of traffic coming up from the bottom of Bower Road leading to East Station Parade.”