Revealed: timetable for completing Otley Road cycle path work in Harrogate

North Yorkshire County Council says it remains committed to the creation of a “developing cycle network” in Harrogate despite disappointment over progress on the troubled Otley Road cycle path project.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 18th February 2022, 5:01 pm
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 5:02 pm
Part of the new cycling lane on Otley Road in Harrogate. (Picture Gerard Binks)
Part of the new cycling lane on Otley Road in Harrogate. (Picture Gerard Binks)

The council’s executive member for transport, Coun Don Mackenzie, told the Harrogate Advertiser the scheme was on track to be completed by 2024 at the latest and would bring benefits to motorists, as well as cyclists.

“We are already seeing improvements to junctions on Otley Road including smart traffic lights, extra traffic lanes, and new or improved pedestrian crossings, as well as the new off road cycle lane to link into the developing cycle network.

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“Ultimately, it will provide a cycle facility from the west of Harrogate to the town centre.”

The transport leader’s pledge comes after cycling campaigners and residents groups reached out to the county council to discuss their concerns following the completion of phase one of the new cycle path on Otley Road.

Initial reaction to the new stretch of cycle path running from Harlow Moor Road to Arthur’s Avenue has been unenthusiastic to say the least.

The fact half of the route will be shared between pedestrians and cyclists is raising questions over safety and whether it goes far enough to encourage cycling.

Harrogate District Cycle Action, whose website describes the path’s original design as “disappointing”, is still waiting for a ‘walk through’ of the new cycle path with the county council after next week's scheduled event was postponed by the council.

Fears may have grown that there may be no clear end date in sight for the saga of Otley Road cycle path which began in 2017 when North Yorkshire County Council won its initial funding bid from the Government.

But the county council itself says it has a clear timetable for the three phases of a scheme crucial to Harrogate’s hopes of building a more sustainable transport system in the midst of massive housing expansion and, it adds, the entire project should be completed within three years at the very latest.

Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for access and transport, told the Harrogate Advertiser: “I would hope that we can begin phase three as soon as possible after the completion of phase two, and certainly within months or one to two years at the very most.”

Timetable: Progress on new Otley Road cycle path

Phase 1: Beech Road to Harlow Moor Road.

Subject to adjustments, this phase is now complete;

Phase 2: Arthur’s Avenue/top of Cold Bath Road to Beech Grove.

Work will start in May/June 2022, says Coun Mackenzie;

Phase 3: Harlow Moor Road to Cardale Park.

The county council has commissioned a Transport Consultant (WSP) to work on an Otley Road Cycle Infrastructure Feasibility Study which will see the Otley Road cycle route extended from the on-going road changes westwards to Windmill Farm using funding contributions from developers.

No dates for delivery are yet confirmed.

Coun Mackenzie said: “The new cycleway will complement other schemes such as Beech Grove low traffic neighbourhood and future projects in the town centre, ultimately providing a cycle facility from the west of Harrogate to the town centre.”