North Yorkshire Make Promises at Road Safety Meeting
North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) made road safety promises at a meeting at St Aidan’s School on Monday 21st March. This included a commitment to build a parallel crossing of Oatlands Drive to benefit Slingsby Walk.
Years of pressure from Harrogate District Cycle Action (HDCA) have resulted in promises of action that never translate into on-the-ground improvements. Will it be different now that the pressure is coming from parents and head teachers?
Monday’s meeting was organised by Oatlands Road Safety and Active Travel Campaign, together with Pannal Ash Safe Streets Zone. Among those present and demanding action were head teachers, who are hard to ignore when they get together and present a united front.
At the meeting NYCC committed to several measures.
School Street for Oatlands Junior School
There’s to be a trial School Street for Oatlands Junior. This means Beechwood Grove will be closed to traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. It will be introduced in September using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which can last up to 18 months.
HDCA has been asking for School Streets since the pandemic and has been fobbed off with a single pilot in Scarborough, which has been very slow to be implemented.
Crossings of Wetherby Road and Oatlands Drive
The NYCC press release mentions the proposed crossing of Wetherby Road which has already been announced. It is due to be finished by March 2024; all timetables given by NYCC for previous active travel projects have slipped by with no action.
The promise of a parallel crossing of Oatlands Drive is new, although again HDCA have been asking for this for years.
The campaigns have asked for 20mph as the speed limit in the Oatlands and Pannal Ash areas. This is being considered by NYCC.
Minor measures include the return of a 20mph vehicle-activated sign on Pannal Ash Road. While this is a good thing, it is only NYCC restoring the status quo. Why did they take it away in the first place?
The press release also says that the white lines on Hookstone Road will be repainted. That sounds like routine maintenance, not a step forward.
Comments by Campaigners
Hazel Peacock and Dr Jenny Marks, representing the two campaigns, said ‘We look forward to the delivery of the much-needed road safety and active travel improvements for south and west Harrogate. We will continue to engage with NYCC and Cllr Duncan until such changes are implemented.’
Will NYCC Deliver on Their Promises?
Time and again NYCC has made promises to deliver active travel schemes, but the promises never materialise. It’s always ‘jam tomorrow’.
Will they finally put this right? Let’s see, but don’t count on it.