Advertiser readers share their views on Harrogate Borough Council's vision for a less congested town centre

Congestion in Harrogate town centre
Congestion in Harrogate town centre

Following publication of Harrogate Borough Council's strategy for a radical new approach to traffic in the town centre, Advertiser readers have been sharing their views.

Jemima Parker, of Zero Carbon Harrogate, praised Harrogate Borough Council's (HBC) proactive stance to introduce and encourage sustainable transport for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

She said: "The proposal for a relief road has always been an irrelevance. With only seven per cent of traffic in Harrogate and Knaresborough being through traffic, it would not solve local traffic congestion and comes with a huge environmental cost.

"More local journeys made on foot, bike or on the bus would not only reduce congestion, but more importantly cut our communities’ carbon emissions, helping to provide a safe and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. There are also the added benefits of making our streets less polluted, quieter and safer for residents.

"We look forward to supporting the council in this forward thinking initiative."

Anna and David Gugan, of Harrogate, said traffic congestion requires a community solution.

They said: "Short distances are easy wins for sustainable alternatives of public transport, walking and cycling. There is, however, only so much the local authorities can do.

"Traffic congestion is a community problem which requires a community solution. We all have a part to play by thinking about the way we move around Harrogate and Knaresborough.

"If those of us that can choose to walk a bit further, get the bus or train, or even dust down the bicycle, the Nidd Gorge can stay gorgeous and congestion can be reduced."

Kirsty Hallett, of Harrogate, said we can all help by leaving cars at home for journeys around town whenever possible.

She said: "Priority bus routes, segregated cycle lanes and more pedestrian areas in the town centre would be a great way of reducing congestion. No-one likes sitting in a traffic jam, but most of us enjoy fresh air and a bike ride.

"We can all help by leaving the car at home for journeys around town whenever we can. Some of us also need to change our parking habits, because they are a danger to others. For example, many motorists park in the bike lanes along the Stray, forcing cyclists into the middle of the road. Until the roads are safer, the number of people willing to cycle will be limited.

"Please can we all do our bit to make the council’s ideas for sustainable transport a success, so that locals and visitors can enjoy travelling into a vibrant town centre."

Ron Savege, of Harrogate, had an idea for how to ease congestion.

He said: "Thinking of Harrogate’s traffic problems it struck me that Harrogate’s council could offer a scheme in which drivers could receive free parking on alternate days, say between nine o’ clock and three.

"This is likely to encourage some drivers, particularly among those with flexibility, perhaps retired non-business residents, to plan town visits, save money and free up the traffic. Just an idea to make the town shine again."

Malcolm Wright, of Harrogate, praised HBC for confronting the "anarchy of the private car".

He said: "Dodging parked and moving cars; standing bemused at divisive crossing lights before progressing to the next area, does not enhance 'the shopping experience' for which we should be aiming.

"Let’s not mince words: the overall traffic problems and declining state of parts of the town centre are, in no small measure, due to the increasing anarchy of the private car. Well done HBC for daring to confront this."

Victoria Wild, of Harrogate, said HBC's strategy is the only way to tackle town centre congestion.

"How much nicer a town it would be, how much more welcoming to visitors, and safer for adults and children alike if this forward looking plan goes ahead.

"As someone who rides a bike every day to get to work I’ve lost count of the times people have told me that they would love to get back on their bike but they’re just too scared.

"Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all those people felt they were now able to leave their car at home and make the journey to work or to the shops by bike, because they had a protected cycle lane or a designated traffic calmed route to get them there.

"Imagine 10 per cent of journeys now being done by bike, another 10 per cent being done by buses running faster and more efficiently because they’ve been given priority over cars, and a further 10 per cent of journeys now being taken on foot in a town which is now more pleasant to walk around, with less pollution on quieter streets.

"Imagine what even a 30 per cent reduction in car traffic would do to the journeys of all those people who still want or need to make the journey by car, increasing the traffic flow and shortening journey times."

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