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Harrogate's £4m road improvements

11th March 2014

Cyclists dismount - less of this in Harrogate?

The Harrogate Advertiser reports that £4m is being spent on road improvements in Harrogate.

The figure of £4m includes £1.2m for resurfacing work in advance of the Tour de France, and £2.16m for engineering, signalling and sustainable travel.

The Advertiser quotes Allan McVeigh, North Yorkshire County Council's integrated transport manager, as follows: 'This is to improve congestion. But also to encourage people to do more walking and cycling. We can't engineer our way out of the problems in Harrogate at peak times. It's also about encouraging people to get out of their cars. We are also asking people to think about how they travel and, where they can, to walk or cycle.' 

It looks as though most of the money is going on road resurfacing and road improvements. The measures for walking and cycling are:

  • an improved pedestrian crossing near the station
  • crossing facilities at York Place, Oatlands Drive, East Parade, and Park View
  • the Yorkshire Showground greenway cycle and pedestrian route from Hornbeam Park to the Showground (work already under way)
  • cycle storage facilities in Harrogate town centre

It is welcome that North Yorkshire's transport manager recognises that there is a congestion problem, and realises that more walking and cycling are the solution. However, it's not enough just to ask people to walk and cycle more. These measures are welcome, but they are way short of what would be required to make a big change to the way people travel in Harrogate.

Cycling in Harrogate does not feel safe. There is a lot of traffic, many drivers are impatient and inconsiderate, and every time you ride a bike in the town, you feel as though you're taking your life in your hands. We need proper, safe, separate cycle routes, which can be used by everyone including children, women, and older people. The measures announced will not transform Harrogate, but maybe it's a start, albeit timid.

The Advertiser quotes Lib Dem councillor Helen Flynn: 'The solution is to take traffic off the roads. 70-75% of traffic in Harrogate is local so when people talk about bypasses that is not going to solve the issue. Taking traffic off the roads means using more bikes and buses...'