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Harrogate traffic survey results are in

Harrogate traffic survey results are in

Published by Lisa Darvill at 12:10pm 20th August 2019. (Updated at 12:44pm 20th August 2019)

The results of a recent survey into traffic in Harrogate and Knaresborough are in - with 78% saying NO to a new inner relief road. 

  • North Yorkshire County Council carried out a 12-week study asking for view on how to tackle congestion 
  • The next steps will be discussed by county councillors later this month
  • More than 15,500 responses were received
  • 78% of respondents did not support the option of an inner relief road between Harrogate and Knaresborough
  • BUT the report does suggests further consideration of a bypass for Killinghall and a possible link from the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road
  • Other next steps include assessing the feasibility of a park and ride and reviewing traffic signals

North Yorkshire County Council launched a long-awaited 12 week survey in April.

It's now analysed the feedback and says the next steps to tackle congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough will be discussed by county councillors on 29th August.

Members of the public were asked to give their views on a range of measures to combat congestion, from improvements to encourage more people to walk, cycle or use public transport to options to manage demand and larger infrastructure projects, such as park and ride services and an inner relief road for Harrogate.

More than 15,500 responses were received. 

78% of respondents did not support the option of an inner relief road between Harrogate and Knaresborough. The council says for that reason, it's being recommended that this proposal should not be taken further at this time.

Whilst no route for this potential relief road was put forward, the council had identified a "corridor of interest", which passes near Nidd Gorge.

This sparked a fresh campaign from a group of local residents who want to protect Nidd Gorge.

However, the idea of a new road in Harrogate hasn't been taken off the table completely. The council says based on local responses, the report suggests further consideration of a bypass for Killinghall and a possible link from the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road. 

The authority says measures with the strongest support included improving cycling and walking infrastructure (77%), introducing park and ride facilities (71%), encouraging smarter travel choices and behaviour change (75%) and the introduction of bus lanes and priority for buses at junctions (59%).

It's put together a report which suggests several possible next steps:

  • producing a walking infrastructure plan
  • preparing “bid ready” cycling and walking routes so that funding opportunities can be seized as they arise
  • assessing the feasibility of a package of park and ride sites and services
  • assessing the potential for commercial bus services to carry park and ride passengers
  • working with bus operators to identify routes where priority measures could improve the commercial viability for the provision of services and identifying potential bus priority measures to achieve that
  • developing a package to encourage smarter choices and change behaviour, building on the Open Harrogate initiative
  • considering the potential for higher-cost, longer-term solutions at key junctions (for example Woodlands junction and Parliament Street/Kings Road)
  • identifying key junctions and congestion hotspots
  • reviewing traffic signals to see where improvements might be made

Plans for a congestion charge have been scrapped.

The council says 21% of respondents agreed and 64% disagreed.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:

"We went into this engagement with open minds. We genuinely wanted to find out, first of all, to what degree people perceived congestion as a problem, and then what types of measures they would support to address the issue.

"In total, 84% of respondents said they did view traffic congestion as an issue in Harrogate and Knaresborough, which supports our own findings.

"We have now listened to what people have told us and the report produced by our officers reflects that.

"The feedback from the engagement has helped us to build a more detailed picture of people’s concerns around congestion and their preferred solutions, which is what we wanted it to do. Having received wide agreement that congestion is an issue, we now need to consider how we can address it within the parameters of the measures people have indicated they would be willing to support.

"Whatever decision is taken about the way forward, we should remember that tackling congestion is not solely a task for the County Council, or any authority. It is something all of us who live and work in affected areas need to consider when making decisions about how and when we travel."

After being presented to Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee, the report will be discussed by the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee on 6 September.

The report, including feedback from the two area committees, is then planned to go to the County Council’s Executive in October for a decision on the next steps.