The Transport Talk column with Don MacKenzie

Meeting Andy and Chris of Harrogate Bus Company on Clean Air Day in front of an electric bus.
Meeting Andy and Chris of Harrogate Bus Company on Clean Air Day in front of an electric bus.

There have been continued demands for an additional controlled pedestrian crossing on Station Parade between Victoria Avenue and York Place.

Whilst it would no doubt be handy for shoppers at Waitrose to have such a crossing immediately outside the supermarket, this location is not on a natural pedestrian route. Such routes are served by nearby controlled crossings at the Victoria Avenue and York Place junctions.

Road accident data for this section of Station Parade over the last six years shows seven collisions, four of which occurred at York Place and two at Victoria Avenue.

Only one occurred on Station Parade between the two junctions, and that involved a car and a cyclist, whilst both were turning right into Robert Street.

There have been no recorded accidents involving pedestrians on this section of Station Parade over the last six years.

Speed checks will take place and findings will be made public in due course.

More resurfacing schemes in Harrogate

During this month, resurfacing of a number of important access roads has taken place: schemes for Harlow Moor Road, Montpellier Parade, and Spring Lane in Pannal have been completed, and the Wetherby Road scheme has begun and is due to be completed on 5 July with work being carried out during evening hours only. Resurfacing of Station Parade is programmed to take place between 15 and 26 July, during evening hours only, 7pm to midnight.

The County Council is working with Transdev and other bus operators to ensure that disruption to services at the bus station is minimised.

Harrogate Congestion Study – 10,000 responses and counting

On Friday, June 21 the number of responses to the Congestion Study questionnaire exceeded 10,000.

All seven exhibitions which formed part of the Harrogate Congestion Study Engagement have now taken place.

Over 1,000 members of the public attended the events, three of which took place at the Cairn Hotel in Harrogate, two at the Best Western Hotel in Knaresborough, and one each at community locations in Killinghall and Pannal villages.

Additionally, County Council officers attended three council meetings: Killinghall Parish, Pannal and Burnbridge Parish and Knaresborough Town Council.

The public engagement concludes on 8 July. The responses will be collated, analysed and will form the basis of a report to NYCC’s Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee on 29 August, and to the Skipton and Ripon ACC on 6 September.

Members of those committees will be asked to give their views.

A decision on the way forward in overcoming the effects of congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough will be taken by the NYCC Executive at the end of this year.

Calls to introduce free parking in Harrogate Town Centre

Business groups have been lobbying for free parking to be introduced in Harrogate town centre.

On-street parking is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council, whilst multi-storey and surface level car parks are owned and managed by Harrogate Borough Council. I recognise the challenges faced by town centre retail businesses, but I do not think that the offer of free parking will resolve them.

Nor is the encouragement of travel by car the way forward as we seek to overcome increasing levels of congestion in our towns. Parking charges are first and foremost a means of managing traffic in town centres, encouraging regular turnover of premium parking spaces.

They also serve as an incentive to use public transport, and provide surplus funding to be used to support rail and road travel, cycling and walking alternatives, and measures to improve air quality.

Clean Air Day

Clean Air Day 2019 was celebrated on 20 June. I was pleased to visit Harrogate Bus Station and thank Transdev for the huge contribution the bus company makes to better air quality thanks to its fleet of electric buses.