Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme Rumbles On
The Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme (HTIP) rumbles on with no results so far.
HTIP began in October 2019 following the Congestion Study, which showed a big appetite for improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure.
Consultants produced a report early in 2021 which recommended developing a Major Scheme Business Case and seeking funding from the DfT. Any scheme would improve walking and cycling facilities and give buses some priority.
By Autumn 2022, a second HTIP report was being written by the consultants. It was expected by the end of 2022.
North Yorkshire’s HTIP page says that this second phase of work was expected to take around 6 months, but it doesn’t say from when.
According to the North Yorkshire page:
‘The Harrogate transport improvement package 2 study is focussed mainly on walking and cycling provision, junction improvements, bus priority, and park and ride feasibility (this element looks at the wider Harrogate area) along the A61 Leeds Road. The study as a whole is likely to take around 6 months and it is likely that at the end of that process we will undertake further engagement, to understand the public appetite for a major scheme funding submission to the department for transport’.paragraph from north yorkshire’s htip page
New Information in Report Presented to Council Meeting
Now there’s new information in a report of the Corporate Director presented to a council meeting on 14th September 2023.
HTIP is being developed by North Yorkshire’s transport planning team.
The DfT expects Major Schemes to:
- have a focus on sustainability
- have high levels of public support and
- to have considered a wide range of options before selecting the optimum solution
The report says that developing a DfT-compliant business case would take a minimum of 6 years.
As an alternative to funding direct from the DfT, when the York & North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is formed, HTIP could be included in the MCA’s major schemes pipeline; the DfT’s assurance process would still apply.
HTIP is still at the “optioneering” stage, according to the report – God help us – but is focused on the A61 Leeds Road.
Local authority officers and engineers are reviewing options provided by consultants WSP in their second HTIP report. A final report is expected in ‘the Autumn’.
‘Measures include provision of sections of bus priority facilities, improved signals and crossing facilities for pedestrians, cycle infrastructure and also consideration of how junctions can be improved to enhance movement of all modes along the corridor’.para 4.4 of the corp0rate director’s report
One reason given for the delay to HTIP is that there are efforts to align the traffic modelling with that being done in relation to proposed large new housing developments in the West of Harrogate.
Once a preferred series of options has been chosen, there will be a public consultation.
Park & Ride
HTIP is considering Park & Ride throughout Harrogate and Knaresborough, not just limited to the A61.
The idea of a Killinghall Bypass was roundly rejected in the 2019 Congestion Survey, but North Yorkshire are still pursuing it.
The report says the council has given up on walking, cycling and passenger transport as ways of reducing traffic ‘because of the more rural nature of Killinghall’. That is nonsense – Killinghall is just a short distance away from Harrogate, with plenty of possible cycle routes if funding were put into them.
North Yorkshire think their bypass scheme offers value for money, but we may be saved yet:
‘…it is recommended that the scheme continues to form part of the Council’s large local major scheme list. However it should be noted that the DfT has made it clear that as we move into the new period for the LTP, they expect major schemes pipelines to comprise a range of types of schemes, with far fewer new road schemes than was previously the case’.para 6.5 of the c0rporate director’s report