Letter: Infrastructure - Let's get on and build a new road
I drive a taxi on a part time basis so feel qualified to comment on the road structure around Harrogate.
Recently, I collected a teenage girl in the afternoon from King Edward’s Drive and took her to work at one of the convenience stores on Knaresborough Road. The route was King Edward’s Drive, Skipton Road and then Knaresborough Road. The journey took half an hour and the metered fare was £15.
So, this girl had to work the first three hours of her 10 hour shift just to pay for her transport costs one way.
This sort of experience is repeated many thousands of times daily by residents, businesses and tourists who have to travel on Skipton Road, Knaresborough Road, York Place, Wetherby Road and Otley Road and does not, in my mind, represent a sustainable way forward.
We have yet to experience the full impact of the many thousands of new houses which already have planning permission, along with the many thousands of others in the pipeline.
In the letters you have published, some people blame the school run as the cause of the problem. Undoubtedly, the traffic congestion in the peak hours does decrease during the school holidays and it is true that the vast majority of schoolchildren in Harrogate live within reasonable walking distance of their school.
However, the school run, or lack of it, does not explain the stationary traffic throughout the day including weekends, on Wetherby Road from the Kestrel, across Woodlands junction, through the Empress roundabout, down Skipton Road as far as the New Park roundabout.
Others have argued that we should get out of our cars and walk/cycle. I applaud this idea whole-heartedly. I would also like England to win the World Cup and have world peace.
Still others have argued that the effect of any by-pass, particularly the inner blue and green routes, would have a detrimental effect on the greenway, wildlife and foliage in the area. I consider these effects have been greatly exaggerated and I recall much the same arguments were used to delay the construction of the Southern by-pass. But where would we be without it today and has there been a catastrophic effect on wildlife?
There has also been mention that the building of these roads would open up the Bilton triangle for house building. Shock, horror! But, what is wrong with that?
Harrogate needs more affordable housing and what better a location? Near to a railway line; flat, safe cycle paths/footpaths already built into the centre of town and into the countryside; easy access to shops, doctors surgeries, schools, libraries, swimming pool, etc; and close enough to bring economic benefits to Starbeck, Knaresborough and Harrogate.
Dragon Avenue, Harrogate