Approval sought for measures to tackle Harrogate congestion

Next steps to address congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough will be considered by the County Council’s Executive next week.

traffic on a Harrogate road

At their meeting on Tuesday, 15 October, members will be asked to approve a set of recommendations drawn up following an extensive public engagement.

Earlier this year, members of the public were asked for their views on a range of measures to combat congestion, from improvements to encourage 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.

A significant majority of respondents did not support an inner relief road. For that reason, the report recommends that this proposal should not be taken further. Similarly, there was little support for congestion charges, so it is recommended this option should not be pursued at this stage.

Recommendations for action include:

  • producing a walking infrastructure plan;
  • preparing “bid ready” cycling and walking routes so that funding opportunities can be seized as they arise;
  • reviewing car parking charges both on and off street in consultation with Harrogate Borough Council and considering expanding car parking management zones to encourage the use of, and support investment in, alternative modes of transport;
  • assessing the feasibility of park and ride sites and services for Harrogate and Knaresborough and the potential for commercial bus services to carry park and ride passengers;
  • working with bus operators to identify routes where priority measures could improve 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 sustainable travel 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; and
  • reviewing traffic signals to see where improvements might be made; and
  • undertaking an initial assessment of a Killinghall bypass, and of an option to link the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road.

The findings of the consultation and the proposed next steps were discussed by the County Council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee in August and the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee last month. Their feedback will be considered by the Executive members.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “The detailed report which will be presented to Executive Members on 15 October shows that the county council is paying close attention to the results of the public engagement earlier this year.

“The recommendations outline various ways of addressing the problems of congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough which local residents told us they would support.

“We are still at an early stage in this process and the measures agreed by my colleagues will take some time to develop fully. Above all, the need to influence travel choices and to encourage sustainable travel in preference to the motor car will be our greatest challenge.”

This story was published 7 October 2019