'Pilot intervention' at major Harrogate junction to cut traffic jams may be on cards

One of Harrogate’s worst junctions for traffic may be set for a radical shake-up as the authorities finally attempt to get to grips with the town’s appalling congestion.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 2:35 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 2:36 pm
Traffic congestion - Possible changes on the traffic system at Cheltenham Crescent at Kings Road Junction to help Parliament Street and Ripon Road may be on the way. (Picture Gerard Binks)

In the first of a series of pilot ‘interventions’, it is believed North Yorkshire County Council is looking at altering traffic flows in the Parliament Street/Ripon Road/Kings Road/Cheltenham Parade area.

Part of North Yorkshire County Council’s response to the conclusions outlined in its epic Harrogate Congestion Study, it is expected the trial scheme may involve restrictions on movement by cars on at least one road in an area often log-jammed at rush hour.

Coun Don Mackenzie, the county council’s executive member for highways, said: “Last October’s report recommended the use of pilot interventions at certain key junctions.

“We plan to introduce the first one next month at one of the town’s busiest junctions, which is nearing full capacity, especially at peak times.”

Should the pilot go ahead, motorists can expect real change. If the movement of vehicles westwards from Kings Road were to be stopped at its junction with Cheltenham Parade, it would allow much longer green time for A61 traffic southbound.

Such a potentially dramatic intervention may only be the tip of the congestion iceberg when it comes to traffic problems in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The report on the public’s response to the two-years-in-the-making Harrogate Congestion Study Engagement was unanimously approved by the North Yorshire County Council executive on October 15, and included a number of recommendations on the way forward.

Amongst these was a commitment to complete a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Harrogate and to prepare some bid-ready routes for key travel corridors.

The subject of town centre parking and the question of both parking fees and whether to retain an element of free parking within the town centre are also expected to come up in the next few months.

But it is not expected existing disc zones around Harrogate town centre, which provide free parking, will be recommended for change at this time.