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Rat-run in Starbeck thing of the past

Rat-run in Starbeck thing of the past

Published by May Norman with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 1:30pm 27th February 2020.

Speed bumps for ‘rat run’ Harrogate road set to get 700 new homes

  • Speed bumps are to be introduced in an area of Harrogate which has become a rush hour rat-run.
  • The traffic calming measures around Kingsley Drive are aimed at stopping drivers who use the streets to avoid queues at Starbeck level crossing.
  • Some residents objected to the plans though, saying it's dangerous for cyclists and during icy conditions.

Speed bumps are to be introduced in a residential area of Harrogate which has become a rush hour rat-run and is facing the construction of nearly 700 homes.

North Yorkshire County Council approved the traffic calming measures for the Kingsley Drive area to prevent it being used by motorists who look to avoid standstill queues at Starbeck level crossing.

Google Maps - Kingsley Road, Starbeck
Google Maps - Kingsley Road, Starbeck

The plans were agreed by the council’s business and environmental services executive members despite objections from some residents.

In a report, one local said the speed bumps are “not the answer” because the area is already struggling with “bumper-to-bumper” traffic – even before the hundreds of new homes are built.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for transport, said the county council is looking to invest half-a-million pound to ease congestion at the crossing.

He said:

“There has always been complaints about Kingsley Drive as it is much used as a rat run and this has been an opportunity to sort that issue. 

“It is used by people wanting to avoid Starbeck level crossing, which can be closed for seven minutes when the barriers are down. This is an issue because whenever a train passes from Knaresborough or Harrogate, it has to close.”

Starbeck crossing
Starbeck crossing

During a consultation, some residents claimed the speed bumps will be dangerous for cyclists and during icy conditions, but coun Mackenzie insisted the measures are safe.

One Kingsley resident, who was listed as an objector in the council’s report, said:

“When traffic is doing a cautious walking pace on packed down snow or sheet ice, you are imposing a minimum speed limit, not a maximum, by installing ramps. It takes a certain minimum amount of momentum to get over a ramp which dictates a minimum speed.

“Since the road is already extremely hazardous, even a ramp so small that it’s pointless would be enough to make the road unnavigable.

“This imposed minimum speed limit will make it almost impossible to turn the corner safely and anyone who survives that will just get stuck on the ramp on the other side of the turning.”

Another resident said:

“The council is aware traffic calming is not the answer to the issue on Kingsley Drive and additional roads. The volume of traffic before any more houses are built in our area is bumper to bumper.

“Calming scheme would only add to the frustration of drivers and residents.”

Concerns were also raised over poor parking on the street, leaving the narrow roads reduced to a single lane.

The speed bumps will be installed at Kingsley Drive’s junctions with Birstwith Road, Leyland Road and Rydal Road – and are a result of planning conditions by Harrogate Borough Council associated with Stonebridge Homes’ development off Kingsley Road.

Having set up the Kingsley Ward Action Group last year, residents have complained over the amount of heavy lorries using the narrow residential streets, mud on the roads and temporary closures, which has led to three enforcement orders being drawn up by the borough council.

homes-Radar

Barratt Homes and Persimmon are the other two housebuilders which have been working in the area for more than a year, and the three companies previously said they had been working together to keep the roads clean and disruption to a minimum.

North Yorkshire County Council also said an “improved cleansing regime” for lorries had been introduced.

In addition to the traffic calming measures, there are also planning conditions associated with the Persimmon Homes development to introduce a ‘No Entry’ restriction from Kingsley Road into Kingsley Drive and a similar arrangement on Wreaks Road.

The county council said it will be consulting with residents before deciding on those plans – but some residents have already raised objections.

Gary Tremble, a member of the Kingsley Ward Action Group, said:

“In a few years time the council will be thinking to themselves, ‘why is it all so clogged up with traffic’?

“The calming measures are needed – there is no arguing with that – but the problem you have got if you go down there on a morning is it is just car after car, after car.

“It is dangerous and a one-way system would just block everything up and make things twice as bad.”