Progress on Harrogate transport improvements to be set out

This story was published 21 December 2020

A bid for government funding for transport improvements in Harrogate and Knaresborough is being considered as work progresses on options to relieve congestion and promote active, sustainable travel in the towns.

Harrogate congestion

North Yorkshire County Council’s Area Constituency Committees for Harrogate and Knaresborough, and Skipton and Ripon, will receive an update on the Harrogate Transport Improvement Programme when they meet early in January.

The programme follows extensive public consultation by the County Council last year as part of the Harrogate congestion study. The consultation revealed public support for improved cycling and walking facilities, a park and ride scheme and encouraging people to change their travel habits, alongside rejection of a northern relief road.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Guided by feedback from the congestion study, we are developing options in a number of areas, including better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, enhanced priority for buses, a park and ride scheme, improvements at key junctions, and a bypass for Killinghall.

“As work progresses, we will aim to deliver long-lasting benefits in a consistent, co-ordinated way to realise fully the benefits of any projects. The cost of these projects will be beyond the capital available within the county council’s existing budgets, so we will need to look to government funding opportunities.”

Several recommended next steps are set out in the report to the Area Constituency Committees. These include:

  • Developing a major schemes business case for funding by the Department for Transport, while continuing to consider all funding opportunities that arise and that may accelerate the development of proposals.
  • Consideration of both the A61 and A59 to improve facilities for all road users, but particularly pedestrians and cyclists, provide bus priority to enhance the experience of using public transport, and seek to tackle some of the most problematic junctions in the area. This would aim to reduce congestion by encouraging a shift to active travel options and ensuring the maximum capacity could be delivered from the existing highway network.
  • Consideration of implementing a low traffic neighbourhood in Bilton. This would mean some residential streets could be closed to through-traffic to encourage those making shorter journeys to walk or cycle.
  • Adding a standalone Killinghall bypass to the county council’s major schemes development list.

Assessment of the feasibility of a park and ride scheme has shown that the area to the south of Harrogate, near the A61, has the greatest potential for success. If park and ride is developed further, officers will hold further discussions with bus operators as proximity to existing bus services is crucial to a scheme’s financial viability and sustainability.

For park and ride to be sustainable and attractive to users, experience shows that parking charges and the availability of parking spaces in the town centre will need to be reviewed.

Read the full report to the Area Constituency Committees.