22nd May 2021
The results of the consultation on Harrogate Station Gateway are in. They support the most ambitious scheme - reducing Station Parade to one lane for motor vehicles ('the One Lane Option'), and fully pedestrianising James Street.
A report is being presented to a North Yorkshire County Council Executive Committee on 25th May, with recommendations to take forward the One Lane Option and pedestrianisation of James Street. Appendix B to the report contains the consultation results.
The results of the consultation on the Harrogate Station Gateway proposals are summarised in tables. This table shows responses on North Station Parade, One Arch, East Parade/Bower Road, and Station Square.
All the plans have well over 50% support.
Concerns centre on the impact on traffic flow by making Station Parade (north) one way, Appendix B says. Another concern is based on the perception that town centre trade relies on the ability to drive and park in the town centre - but Appendix B points out that this will still be possible.
This is a summary for James Street and Station Parade (south).
Full pedestrianisation of James Street has 45.5% support, and the One Lane Option for Station Parade 49.1% support.
Opposition to the One Lane Option is split between the Two Lane Option and neither. Paragraph 5.4 of the report says that 'neither' typically means those respondents do not want to see any changes on Station Parade.
The responses highlight the intelligent way the consultation was set up. There's an element of the philosophy employed in Seville: we're going to consult, and we're going to listen, but we're going to do something, not nothing.
Under 'Harrogate Highlight Themes' in Appendix B, the report analyses negative responses. Concerns include traffic flow and impact on local business.
The Station Gateway team developed a traffic flow worst-case scenario for 2023, assuming increased traffic levels, and looking at the busiest time of day (afternoon peak). The worst-case scenario could result in:
That is a worst-case scenario, not a prediction of what will happen. It does not take account of the benefits of modal shift and changed travel patterns post-Covid.
A concern of those against the scheme is that trade relies on driving and parking. The James Street plans would involve some loss of parking spaces - 45 out of a total of 915 on-street pay and display spaces.
Parking studies indicate that for most of the year there are 500 surplus parking spaces in Harrogate town centre, and at peak occupancy, 120 spaces are unused. The removal of 45 spaces would therefore have no impact on town centre trade.
Appendix B is excellent because it continues to make the case for the changes proposed by the Harrogate Station Gateway scheme.
'The [worst-case] scenarios do not take into account the anticipated benefits of increased modal shift as a result of this and other active travel schemes and changes to patterns of travel post COVID. Data shows that almost half of trips being made, in the busiest periods, both start and end within Harrogate; these trips are generally short (less than 2.6km/1.6mi), are primarily commuter trips and are mostly made by car. These trips have a significant potential to shift journeys to more sustainable modes, particularly walking and cycling. In terms of carbon and air quality concerns the minimal journey time increase and modal shift expectation is that carbon is neutral - subject to detailed air quality modelling as part of the next design phase.'
The report points out that the ability to drive and park in the town centre is retained under all options, but there are significant benefits to business performance from public realm improvements, as outlined in The Pedestrian Pound, the Business Case for Better Streets and Places.
The benefits include:
A decision on the report and how to proceed will be taken by the Executive Committe on 25th May.