I am writing my first ever letter to a newspaper after attending the open meeting of North Yorkshire County Council to hear about the proposed solutions to better managing the traffic on the A59 Skipton Road.
The roughly mapped Harrogate Relief Road options offer one possible ‘intervention’ to improve traffic management on the A59 and in and around Harrogate. There are others which I believe are wiser.
Harrogate has already made great strides in achieving what other towns can only dream of: access to active travel by walking and cycling. Uniquely this is amid open and quality green space, accessible by all, in the town’s areas of highest population density and all socio-economic groups.
If you have not walked or cycled the safe, traffic-free and well maintained Nidderdale Greenway that extends to within only a couple of hundred metres of both Harrogate bus and train stations – you should.
The way to encourage us all to use our cars less is by developing this further: building fewer high speed bypasses, relief roads and ring roads, instead giving us safe active travel access to our schools, employment, shops and public transport hubs; slowing speeds during peak times on our A roads that cross pedestrian and cyclist routes; modelling our road crossings around people and increasing their number including wide underpasses linking multiple non-stopped routes to shops, schools, bus and train stations; building homes for the people who live and want to work in Harrogate, not for those who wish to live in Harrogate while commuting by car to work elsewhere; building homes for people who work in Harrogate who currently commute here as they cannot afford to reside here.