Major Harrogate road set for traffic changes which will impact on cars and boost pedestrians

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It has been confirmed that another planned-for new cycle lane in Harrogate will no longer be happening in the immediate future.

Although North Yorkshire Council was awarded funding to deliver traffic changes on Victoria Avenue through the Government’s Active Travel England fund in November 2020, a newly-launched public consultation reveals that the previously-envisaged cycle lanes will not be included in this initial phase of the scheme.

Instead, a new letter to residents asks for their views on plans for a pedestrian improvement scheme on Victoria Avenue.

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In the letter, the council explains the reasons behind the decision, saying: “Unfortunately, budgetary constraints mean that the previously envisaged cycle lanes cannot be included in this initial phase of this Victoria Avenue scheme.

Harrogate cycle lanes setback - North Yorkshire Council said “Unfortunately, budgetary constraints mean that the previously envisaged cycle lanes cannot be included in this initial phase of this Victoria Avenue scheme. (Picture contributed)Harrogate cycle lanes setback - North Yorkshire Council said “Unfortunately, budgetary constraints mean that the previously envisaged cycle lanes cannot be included in this initial phase of this Victoria Avenue scheme. (Picture contributed)
Harrogate cycle lanes setback - North Yorkshire Council said “Unfortunately, budgetary constraints mean that the previously envisaged cycle lanes cannot be included in this initial phase of this Victoria Avenue scheme. (Picture contributed)

"Following advice from Active Travel England, we have, therefore, concentrated on improvements for pedestrians and improvements to the public realm.”

The revised scheme will now focus on a vision to increase ‘active travel’ in and around Harrogate town centre by proposing a number of measures to increase pedestrian safety, as well as improved bus provision.

Although improving the infrastructure for walking with new crossing signals and a new bus stop will be welcomed by some, the lack of cycling support is likely anger some local councillors who have previously criticised North Yorkshire Council for a perceived lack of commitment on the issue.

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Earlier this year, both the Lib Dems and the Green Party attacked:

A widely-criticised stretch of cycle route on Otley Road and the abandonment of the next phase.

The scrapping of a Low-Traffic Neighbourhood on Beech Grove.

A U-turn on creating a one-way system on Oatlands Drive.

The watering down of the £11.2m Harrogate Gateway project for the Station Parade area.

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The public is now being asked to send comments by May 5 on the Victoria Avenue pedestrian improvement scheme to [email protected] using ‘Victoria Avenue ATF 2 Consultation’ in the title of the email.

The plans include:

A new pedestrian signalisation at the junction Victoria Avenue and Station Parade.

A new bus stop outside West Park United Reformed Church.

A ‘left turn only’ for cars from Belford Road.