The Transport Talk column with Don Mackenzie
On 4 January North Yorkshire County Council announced the award of its phase three contract to provide superfast broadband to those premises in the county not yet connected to a high quality service.
Through the County Council-owned organisation, Superfast North Yorkshire, since 2012 a total of over 165,000 residential and commercial properties have received 25Mbps or higher broadband, which they would not otherwise have received, under roll-out of phases one and two.
The contract for phase three, awarded to BT, is worth £20.5million with the option to increase investment by a further £12.5m, and will ensure that a total of 14,239 additional properties will be connected up over the next three years, most of those by means of the best available technology of a fibre connection to the property.
Expected download speeds under phase 3 will be on average 281Mbps, with some properties receiving as much as 330Mbps, among the best anywhere in the country.
Parking Permit Review
Following an extensive, county-wide review of on-street parking permits in 2017, the NYCC Business and Environmental Services Director, in consultation with BES Executive Members, at a meeting on 15 December, approved proposals to simplify and standardise permit charges.
Permit types include: resident, visitor, business, trade, guest house, and scratch card. From April 2018 the cost of a Resident Permit will increase from £16 to £30 a year.
The parking permit scheme has been costing the taxpayer over £120,000 a year. For this reason, no new Residential Parking Schemes have been introduced recently unless they had third-party funding, to the disappointment of many residents in certain areas of Harrogate.
The new charges will bring the scheme into surplus and allow the introduction of new RPSs to be considered.
Bond End, Knaresborough
The unanimous recommendations from the Bond End Steering Group, made up of the two Knaresborough county councillors, the HBC Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, and a Knaresborough Town Councillor, for changes to the traffic management arrangements at this historic junction, were approved at a meeting last week between the County’s Assistant Corporate Director and executive members.
Following extensive monitoring of data, analysis of air quality readings from 50 receptors located close to the junction, and traffic modelling work, the option to replace all traffic lights with two mini-roundabouts was found to be the most effective in reducing nitrogen dioxide levels.
Work to alter the traffic arrangements is expected to start in March.
Further safety assessments will continue to take place on the most effective pedestrian crossings to be introduced alongside the new traffic control arrangements for vehicles.
An idling diesel engine is a major cause of NO2 emissions, which have led to Bond End being declared an Air Quality Management Area. These traffic management changes will not resolve the air quality problem completely on their own.
NYCC will continue to work with HBC to develop other measures like boosting sustainable transport alternatives and bringing about a reduction in the use of the junction by polluting vehicles.