Transport - Cycling will soon be only way to travel

Grass verges on cycle paths are worth keeping, says Chris DickenGrass verges on cycle paths are worth keeping, says Chris Dicken
Grass verges on cycle paths are worth keeping, says Chris Dicken
A few weeks ago the Advertiser reported that the RHS and Harrogate Borough Council were to “Green up” Otley Road from Harlow Carr to Beckwithshaw by planting 22,000 daffodil bulbs to greet visitors in the spring.

How ironic then that NYCC are seeking to “Grey down” the rest of Otley Road by removing grass verges to lay down the asphalt for their shared cycle path.

We have already seen grass verges “downsized” on Harlow Moor Road and whilst some who support these cycle paths may not think grass verges are worth keeping, for those who live on these roads, they certainly are.

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Additionally, NYCC have also indicated that phase one of the Otley Road cycle path will result in some 24 new signposts and signs on a further 13 existing posts - in a mere 550m of road length.

Heaven knows how many more will be needed if it’s ever completed from Beech Grove to Cardale Park.

Whilst National Planning Guidance recommends a lessening of street furniture and more greenery, here we are in the floral town of Harrogate seeing exactly the opposite being done.

If NYCC (and HBC) were really serious regarding “sustainable” transport they would be introducing measures to improve public transport and discourage motorists making short journeys.

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Just constructing a badly designed cycle path won’t actually make any difference to the congestion and pollution on Otley Road, but the residents meanwhile will have had their environment downgraded.

Last week the Advertiser noted again that there was opposition from local residents – yes, because we were never consulted about this, nor given the opportunity to be involved with its planning – and Coun Mackenzie said despite the local opposition it will go ahead; obviously there is no regard for the local community from our politicians.

The proposed Knaresborough to Harrogate cycleway was described in the Advertiser as “safe and segregated” for cyclists, unfortunately Otley Road will not be so for pedestrians who seem to be disregarded and treated as second class citizens.

It will be interesting to see how many people actually benefit from this project.

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Both HBC and NYCC now talk about encouraging more walking and cycling, but I have yet to see a single proposal to improve the infrastructure for pedestrians, never mind actually spending any money on them.

It appears that the only way you’ll be able to travel in the future is on your bike.

Chris Dicken

Otley Road, Harrogate