Cycling in Yorkshire & Beyond

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Harrogate Cycle Action Suggest Quick Wins

Harrogate cycle network plan by zones
Harrogate cycle network plan by zones

Harrogate Cycle Action have suggested a number of Quick Wins to improve Harrogate’s cycle network.

The Quick Wins are part of work done by the cycle campaign on a cycle network for Harrogate, looking at the town’s cycle routes zone by zone.

The cycle network plan is based on North Yorkshire Council’s cycle network map. The plan identifies the improvements needed to bring each route up to minimum Cycle Infrastructure Design standards.

The cycle campaign has worked with the council with a view to agreeing high-level designs and priorities, but this work has rather ground to a halt without producing any results. The council has failed to make any progress in the whole of 2023.

Some improvements identified by the cycle network plan are major projects requiring significant time and funding – for example, cycle tracks along main roads.

Others, though, could be implemented relatively quickly and cheaply. These are the Quick Wins.

Definition of a Quick Win

Harrogate Cycle Action’s proposed definition of a Quick Win is a scheme that:

  • can be implemented in less than 6 months and
  • costs less than £75,000

Examples of Quick Wins

1) Parking Restrictions

'Car' Park Avenue, Harrogate
‘Car’ Park Avenue, Harrogate

Park Avenue could be part of a good cycle route from south Harrogate via the cricket ground, then on by Beech Grove to the town centre.

Park Avenue is used as a rat run by some drivers at morning and evening peaks, but only to a limited extent. This is likely to get worse as more houses are built in west and south Harrogate.

Parking on both sides of the road narrows the usable carriageway, and means that cyclists have to have more ‘negotiations’ with drivers. Often drivers drive straight at people on bikes to try to bully them out of the way.

Restricting parking to the west side, where the houses are, would widen the usable carriageway and improve the situation.

It would also prevent people parking their vehicles on the footway. This practice narrows the space pedestrians can use, and damages the paving.

The other suggestions for Park Avenue are:

  • sign the whole route as a Quietway to town, and
  • put in a modal filter on Park Avenue near the junction with Philippa’s Drive, to prevent drivers using it as a through route

2) Alleyways

Alleyway from Leadhall Drive to Norfolk Road
Alleyway from Leadhall Drive to Norfolk Road

The alleyway that links Leadhall Drive to Norfolk Road is an essential part of Harrogate’s cycle network, but cycling through it is banned.

There are several other alleyways like it.

Ideally, there would be proper cycle provision on main roads. Cycle tracks on Leadhall Lane and Leeds Road would make the use of the alleyway from Leadhall Drive to Norfolk Road unnecessary.

Unfortunately, we have a council that will never deliver major cycle schemes.

In those circumstances the alleyways are important, and should be opened up to cycling where possible.

3) Contraflow Cycling

Mornington Crescent and Regent Parade
Mornington Crescent and Regent Parade

There is a potential cycle route from Dragon Road to York Place using Mornington Crescent, Regent Parade and Park Parade. This avoids the very busy A59 Skipton Road and A6040 York Place/Knaresborough Road.

The problem with the quiet route is that sections of it are one way. Contraflow cycling needs to be permitted to make it viable.

There’s also an awkward junction where Park Parade crosses North Park Road. This junction needs to be reconfigured.

Park Parade
Park Parade

Response from the Area Highways Team

The cycle campaign has worked with North Yorkshire Council on the cycle network improvements, including the Quick Wins.

The council is happy to discuss these matters in principle, but when it comes to actually making meaningful improvements on the ground it is a different matter.

Delivery falls to the Area Highways team, and they are too busy and not interested.

They are committed to creating 20mph zones in south and west Harrogate (using money pinched from the Otley Road Cycleway budget).

There will be some benefit for cycling on residential roads if they deliver on their promises, but it will not amount to a joined-up cycle route.

As regards the Quick Wins, two typical responses are:

  • point-blank refusal, for example to put in any modal filters. This makes it impossible to deliver really good Quietway-type routes
  • putting changes off to an unspecified future date. Given the council’s track record, this is no different in practical terms from point-blank refusal

This is how putting off to an unspecified future date is done:

‘Can be reviewed when resources allow, implementation subject to sourcing funding’.

north yorkshire council area highways team

It is hard to be optimistic that any of these relatively small items, the Quick Wins, will be achieved, because the council lacks the capacity and the can-do attitude.

I’ll add further examples of Quick Wins in another post.

Harrogate Cycle Action Suggest Quick Wins

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