Last chance to have your say on cycling and walking upgrades for three Harrogate streets
Today is the last chance for Harrogate residents to have their say on plans to overhaul three streets with greater priority for cyclists and pedestrians.
North Yorkshire County Council is behind the schemes for Victoria Avenue, Oatlands Drive and the A59 near Knaresborough which are being backed by the government's active travel fund and have been out for consultation since February.
The plans are designed to get more people walking and cycling as the district emerges from the pandemic but have proved controversial in part with a proposal to make traffic on Oatlands Drive one-way being scrapped after a backlash from residents living in the area.
And while new proposals for a 20mph limit, junction upgrades and restrictions on cars using the nearby St Hilda’s Road and St Winifred’s Drive have now been put forward, there are still concerns from some locals who say the changes will turn streets into “rat runs” and make the area “more dangerous" for pedestrians and cyclists.
Under the plans for Victoria Avenue, it was revealed last month that the street could get the county's first 'Cyclops' junction which would work by separating cyclists from general traffic with the aim of improving safety for all road users.
The UK's first was built in Manchester last year and the proposal for Harrogate could link up with the town's £7.9m Gateway project which includes major road changes and public space improvements in the Station Parade area.
Other proposals for the Victoria Avenue include new cycle lanes, a zebra crossing and a 'floating’ bus stop which would see a stop being repositioned from the curb side to between bike lanes and the road.
The final scheme for the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough also includes new cycle lanes, as well as a 40mph limit between Badger Mount and Maple Close, junction upgrades and improvements to a crossing near Harrogate Golf Club.
Designs for all three schemes were revealed at the end of March as part of a second stage of the consultation which will now end at midnight.
The feedback from residents will be used to develop the draft designs further before a final decision on which schemes will progress is made.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access at North Yorkshire County Council, previously said: "We thank all those residents who took part in the first round of consultation on the outline proposals for these four schemes.
“We have listened to that and are trying to reach a broad consensus about the measures we put in place, given that these directly affect people’s movements and their property.
"We think we can come up with something that addresses most of the concerns raised, but that still provides significant benefits for people who are cycling and walking.
"We encourage residents to take part in this latest consultation. Your views are important to us and they will help shape the final designs of these four schemes.”
The county council received just over £1m from the government's active travel fund for the schemes and must spend the money before April 2022.
To have your say go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/social-distancing-measures
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter