Cycling in Yorkshire & Beyond

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Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme

A61 near Harrogate
A61 near Harrogate

An update on the Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme (HTIP) will be presented at a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Harrogate & Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee on Wednesday 12th October 2022.

The existence of HTIP emerged in January 2021, but the project had already been going on since October 2019, after the results of the Harrogate Congestion Study.

HTIP work includes:

  • a ‘multi-modal approach’ to junction operation on the A61 and A59. That means not increasing capacity for cars, but accommodating walking, cycling and buses
  • a Park & Ride site near Pannal

A Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Bilton was also part of the plans announced in January 2021, but there has been no recent mention of this.

NYCC included a Killinghall bypass in HTIP – a road capacity expansion scheme – despite this being roundly rejected by the Harrogate Congestion Study.

HTIP Update

A report by the Corporate Director will be presented to next Wednesday’s meeting. It says:

‘[B]uilding on the findings of the extensive Harrogate Congestion Study public engagement in 2019, officers commissioned the Harrogate Transport Improvements Programme (HTIP) study. The first stage of that study work completed in early 2021 and further details are provided in section 3. Officers have since then been working to commission a second stage of HTIP, but have encountered delays due to the need to ensure that overlap with two other significant projects is properly considered and co-ordinated.’

para 2.3 of the corporate director’s report

In other words, three years after HTIP work started, they have received one report and have commissioned another one. There is never a shortage of excuses for the delays.

Consultants are the winners here, in fees.

NYCC are capable of holding meetings and commissioning reports, but does anything actually ever get done? I mean actual changes on the ground to enable sustainable travel.

Recommendations of the First HTIP Report

The first report recommended developing a Major Scheme Business Case, and seeking funding from the DfT. The scheme would improve provision for all road users, but especially those on foot and on bikes. There would also be some bus priority.

West Harrogate Expansion

In the meantime, there are plans for housing development in the west of Harrogate, notably along Otley Road between Harlow Carr and Beckwithshaw.

Developers are likely to make proposals to expand capacity for motor vehicles at junctions on the A61 – exactly the opposite of what is proposed by HTIP, and incompatible with it.

Developers motivated by money get on with delivering damaging plans while the local authority dithers.

Bus Services Improvement Plan

The report also notes that NYCC’s bid for funding under the Bus Services Improvement Plan failed.

Next Steps

The report says work on the second HTIP report is under way, with data being collected. A multi-criteria assessment tool is being used to sift long-list options and produce a shorter list.

The outcome of the study is expected towards the end of this year.

That is all very well, but will it ever result in any on-the-ground improvements?

The York & North Yorkshire region has very ambitious goals under its Routemap to Carbon Negative. They include reducing vehicle miles travelled by 48% and increasing cycling by 900% – all by 2030.

YNY LEP Routemap to Carbon Negative transport ambitions
YNY LEP Routemap to Carbon Negative transport ambitions

Going round and round in circles writing reports won’t achieve that. It needs NYCC to actually DO something – and fast.

Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme

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