Residents, schools and businesses in Scarborough are being helped by North Yorkshire County Council to leave their cars at home and use healthier, less congesting modes of travel.
The County Council was awarded £1m from the Department for Transport’s Access Fund to deliver a sustainable travel project called Open North Yorkshire. This aims to get more people walking and cycling in three towns – Scarborough, Harrogate and Skipton.
The towns have been chosen because they offer the most potential for shifting to sustainable transport based on their population, the levels of economic and residential development and the levels of congestion. Many journeys within the towns are relatively short, making walking and cycling viable options. The project runs until March 2020 and the emphasis is currently on Scarborough.
In Scarborough, sustainable travel officers have started to work with businesses, schools and residential developments to encourage walking, cycling, use of public transport and car sharing to help to reduce congestion, promote good health and create a better environment.
Officers are working with Graham School, Scalby School, Scarborough University Technical College and Coventry University’s Scarborough campus. They are looking at the issues the schools and colleges face and will help with projects such as park and stride schemes, promoting cycling with cycle training and maintenance, car sharing and producing maps showing walking zones around the schools.
They are encouraging the schools to register with the national Modeshift STARS accreditation scheme, which recognises schools that demonstrate excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel to improve the health and wellbeing of students.
Similar approaches, as well as walking challenges and journey planning with rail operators and bus companies, are being offered to businesses interested in increasing sustainable travel among staff.
Work is also focusing on helping residents moving in to new housing developments at Middle Deepdale, High Mill Farm, Hinderwell Court and The Beeches, West Ayton. Officers are delivering information packs detailing local services and the benefits of active travel, as well as asking people how they travel and how they might change their habits. They are also working with developers to have sustainable transport information available in show homes.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Open North Yorkshire is part of the County Council’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, particularly to support economic growth. It sets out to increase cycling and walking and thereby reduce congestion in these three growing towns. It will encourage people to use transport other than the car. For schools, it looks at taking cars away from the school gates and for some it is about health and air quality. This will include better access to bicycles, improving cyclists’ confidence through training and better route information and reducing the number of cyclists injured on the roads.”