More Quick Wins for Harrogate’s Cycle Network
I recently wrote about Quick Wins suggested by Harrogate Cycle Action – small improvements to Harrogate’s cycle network that could be implemented quickly and cheaply.
Now here are a few more (continuing the numbering from the previous post).
4) Correct the Misaligned Kerbs where Slingsby Walk Crosses Oatlands Drive
The problem is shown in the photo at the top of the page.
If you’re on a bike, you can only cross to the point where there’s a dropped kerb, which is off to the side of the path itself.
Often there are pedestrians coming in the opposite direction. They may well be standing where the dropped kerb is, and wondering why on earth you insist on cycling directly at them.
This was raised with North Yorkshire Council in July 2023 (not for the first time). The answer, so far as there was one, was that this matter has to wait until a parallel crossing of Oatlands Drive is built.
The commitment to build a parallel crossing of Oatlands Drive was made on 21st March 2023, and the council said it would build the crossing by 31st March 2024.
You would think that a bit more than a year would be enough time to install a crossing, but this is North Yorkshire. They still have to do a Stray Land consultation and a consultation about the crossing itself, and they haven’t started either.
A crossing of Wetherby Road has been promised since December 2022, and the situation appears to be the same.
No consultations have been started, and the deadline for construction (31st March 2024) is looking very much in doubt.
Given the council’s inability to deliver the crossings, would it really be too much trouble to correct the misaligned kerbs in the meantime?
5) Incorrect END OF ROUTE Signs
North Yorkshire Council have put up a number of incorrect END OF ROUTE signs around Harrogate, for example on Otley Road as shown in the image above.
CYCLISTS REJOIN MAIN CARRIAGEWAY is sufficient on its own.
You might think it doesn’t really matter, it’s only a sign after all.
Yes, but it reflects an attitude, the attitude of North Yorkshire highways officers that it’s only cycling so it doesn’t matter. The attitude that it’s fine to build 100m of cycle path then give up. The attitude that ‘we did this bit, but that bit was too hard to so you’re on your own’.
That is not how you build a cycle network. That is not how you enable more people to cycle. That is not how it is done.
6) 20mph Signs for Hookstone Wood Road
Harrogate Cycle Action suggested that Hookstone Wood Road should be made 20mph. It is a cycle link between the Saints neighbourhood and the Yorkshire Showground Greenway.
North Yorkshire Council replied that it is already 20mph. The problem is that there are no 20mph signs, apart from a very small one half way down.
This should be a really easy Quick Win – put 20mph signs at either end of Hookstone Wood Road and job done. Let’s see whether it happens.
7) Sealed Surface for Bridleways near Oatlands Junior School
A bridleway links Fulwith Mill Lane to Hornbeam Park Avenue, and another runs past Oatlands Junior School.
The surfaces are really poor. Sealed surfaces would make them usable all year round on foot and on bikes.
North Yorkshire’s excuse is ‘what about the horse riders?’ These bridleways are not heavily used by horses and riders, and if that genuinely is an issue it would be possible to leave a bit of muddy ground on the edge and surface the rest.
North Yorkshire would say that it wants to ‘encourage’ school children to walk or cycle to school, but when it comes to even the smallest step to enable active travel, the council is found wanting.
There are lots of potential Quick Wins.
Imagine if a North Yorkshire highways officer lived and worked in Harrogate, and got about by bike. That person would understand the issues, and be motivated to sort the small problems out quickly.
Unfortunately, officers are far away in Boroughbridge or Northallerton. They don’t understand the issues, and they are not motivated to solve any problems large or small.
Harrogate cyclists are being badly let down by the council.