Harrogate Borough Council's three-stage plan for sustainable transport

Harrogate Borough Council’s blurprint for the future has been broken up into three key proposals with short, medium and longer term plans.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 7:11 pm
The plans have been put together by Harrogate Borough Council in response to the North Yorkshire County Council Congestion Survey.

Part 1: Short-term ideas to 2025* Area - Pot Bank Roundabout, Pannal Station Road/A61 junction, Leeds Road M&S junction, Crag Lane/Otley Road junction: Improved traffic signal technology and optimisationl; Extend existing bus services to serve new development and Cardale Park; Bus priority work; Implementation of Park & Ride on the Leeds Road corridor with complementary Cardale Park peak shuttles; Expand cycling provision to connect with the Otley Road cycleway.

* Area - Wetherby Road/Skipton Road: Traffic signal improvements; Rationalisation of some of the junctions onto the corridor; The practice of a right turning vehicle moving across a lane of traffic in order to nudge into the opposite lane causes delays in both directions and whilst not wishing to see a draconian roll out of this intervention, there are locations where this could be undertaken; Any closed roads could become cycle routes and a home-zone approach adopted; Park and Ride; Improvements to the quality of the cycle routes between Bilton and Harrogate Rail Station and between Bilton and Starbeck.

* Area - Knaresborough Road: Time savings of several minutes per journey can be achieved through bus priority between Knaresborough and Harrogate; Signal optimisation; Similarly to the Skipton Road/Wetherby Road corridor if signals can be improved as a result of the suggested study work this could be undertaken fairly cheaply; Harrogate to Knaresborough Cycle Route expanded.

Part 2: Medium term to 2035

Roads, drivers behaviour, junctions and electric cars:

* Potential significant parking policy changes to deter private vehicle use;

* Improvements to junctions between Harrogate and the A1(M) and within Knaresborough;

* Further work to improve Woodlands junction, potentially though a more radical intervention;

* Completion of a Harrogate and Knaresborough wide high quality cycle infrastructure network;

* Potential for small electric vehicle park and ride;

* Encourage more visitors or daily commuters to swap their car for a small electric vehicle and drive into town that way;

* Routes such as to the rear of the showground could be investigated to give journey time savings and verges could become designated lanes for these vehicles;

* Consideration of automated vehicle impact and measures to ensure any benefits from these, should they become commonplace, are captured locally;

* Implementation of potential schemes to improve major congestion hotspots such as Starbeck Level Crossing, situated on Knaresborough Road, pictured above.Improving railways:

* Further improvements to rail services through the next franchise renewal (lobbying work for this to be undertaken in the short term to be in line with the renewal period. Significantly improved connections to rail stations to support access to High Speed 2 and, potentially, Northern Powerhouse Rail services including Harrogate Line journey time improvements;

* Achieve direct pan-northern rail services, particularly connecting to Manchester.

Part 3: Ideas for long term post-2035

These are more radical interventions to prioritise sustainable transport to further bolster the short and medium term actions:

* Potential implementation of new highway infrastructure if the short and medium term actions have not achieved the required reduction in congestion levels.

* Adaption for future travel needs depending on how trends develop.

Harrogate Borough Council has based is conclusions on the work undertaken by WSP Transport Planning team on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. It says that the statistics in that report prove the following:

* Average trip length within the study area of not more than 2.6km at either am or pm peak.

* A total of 2. 37% of traffic travels wholly within the Harrogate and Knaresborough area.

* The percentage of through traffic is 7% across am and pm peaks.

* Harrogate Borough Council argues, that the short local average trip length and low levels of through traffic suggest that there are a significant number of trips that could, either in their entirety or through the ‘first/last mile’ component of those journeys, be converted to a more sustainable mode of travel (walking cycling, public transport and to a lesser ideal, shared vehicular travel.