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North Yorkshire County Council have reported back on the public consultation around ways to tackle what most respondents considered to be a problem of congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Part of the consultation was to gain the views on a new relief road. The report makes a recommendation to not proceed with a relief road at this time.
The 12-week consultation was from the 15 April to 8 July 2019. The consultation was extensive and was aimed at ensuring as many local people as possible could participate, including:
- A leaflet detailing of how and when people could participate to to 56,000 household
- Extensive engagement with local printed, online and radio media media with paid-for advertising and editorial
- Highway signs placed on key routes
- Paper copies made available in libraries in the Harrogate district
- Printed copies provided on request were posted out
- 7 exhibitions took place in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Pannal and Killinghall, over several weeks, and various times of day
The consultation put questions to the public on whether they perceived a congestion problem, options for reducing congestion and how likely they were to use other options.
The options were broken down into a number of packages that included demand management, park and ride facilities, bus priority measures, additional sustainable travel facilities and a relief road.
To the question of “Was congestion a problem n Harrogate and Knaresborough”, 84% said yes, and 16% said no.
The Consultation developed the following in responses:
- Total surveys completed – 15,510
- Paper survey responses – 1,010
- Easy read surveys – 12
- General email comments (for logging and analysis) – 72
- Woodland Trust generated e-mails – 4,718
- Emailed queries (requiring a response) – 48
Consultants WSP, undertook a period of analysis of the data collected through the engagement.
The emerging results of that analysis were set out in a report that went before the North Yorkshire County Council Area Committee on 29 August 2019.
The report made strong criticism of the HALT opposition campaigners in publishing misinformation.
See the end of this for an extract from the report on actions.
At Area Committee it was acknowledged as a thorough consultation, taking in views from a wide demographic.
The report will now go to the NYCC Executive during October 2019 for discussion and approval of further actions.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
There has been an overwhelming respnse to not proceed with a relief road at this time. It will now be discussed at the Executive Committee whose members will decide how to move things forward.
The meeting will of course take into account comments and feedback from the Area Committee.
My personal view is that the increasing congestion in our rapidly growing towns will need to be addressed by a combination of boosting sustainable travel and public transport and introducing measures to persuade people out of their cars.
At this stage we are not looking at congestion charging, but it is a possibility for the future. We need measures that make it easier for people to use forms of travel other than a personal car.
Park and ride facilities have been suggested as a solution to congestion but we need to be very mindful that park and ride facilities are expensive to build and to run.
NYCC has recently taken the decision to close Scarborough’s two sites because usage had dropped dramatically during the winter months. This decision will reduce the running costs of almost £500K a year by £150K.
An extract from the report on future actions
Next Steps for Consideration 7.1 Based on the responses to the engagement, and the support for various measures as set out in section 5, officers are planning to make the following recommendations to the Executive. The aim of these would be to identify and undertake preliminary development of specific schemes with a view to identifying and seeking funding for their future delivery. We would welcome the Committee’s views on these:
7.2 Cycling and Walking a. Produce a Walking Infrastructure Plan (WIP) (upgrade the LCIP to an LCWIP) b. Prepare ‘bid ready’ routes for all identified corridors taking into account that traffic flows on the highway network will remain broadly at current levels.
7.3 Congestion charge/increased car parking charges a. Not progress any further with a congestion charge at this stage b. Review the car parking charges both on and off street in consultation with Harrogate Borough Council and consider expansion of car parking management zones to encourage the use of, and to support investment in, alternative modes of transport.
7.4 Relief road/highway options a. Not progress with the Harrogate inner relief road at this time b. Undertake an initial assessment (traffic and economic assessment) of a Killinghall bypass including, but not limited to, the existing adopted alignment c. Undertake an initial assessment (traffic and economic assessment) of a highway option to link the B6162 Otley Road to the A61 Leeds Road including consideration of new routes and upgrading of existing routes.
7.5 Park and ride a. Assess the feasibility of a package of P&R sites and services for Harrogate and Knaresborough without an inner relief road, including consideration of site locations, capture rates, bus routes and necessary increases to car parking charges (on and off street) to encourage use b. Assess the potential for commercial bus services to carry P&R passengers.
7.6 Smarter choices and behaviour change a. Develop an enhanced package of smarter choices and behaviour change measures for Harrogate and Knaresborough building on the ‘Open Harrogate’ initiative, including resource to monitor and manage projects.
7.7 Bus priority a. Working with bus operators, identify bus routes where provision of bus priority measures could improve the commercial viability for the provision of services b. Identify potential bus priority measures to achieve the above.
7.8 Demand management and junctions review/improvements a. Consider potential for higher cost longer term solutions on key strategic junctions (e.g. Woodlands junction/and Parliament Street/Kings Road) b. Identify key junctions and congestion hotspots c. Undertake a review of traffic signals within the study area to establish where improvements might be made.
7.9 Core interventions a. Investigate options to further improve investment in those measures which sit within the core interventions, but are not covered by the thematic areas above.
7.10 Package a. Based on the above develop a package of specific infrastructure measures to seek to reduce traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough and assess the effectiveness, costs and benefits of such a package b. Identify potential funding opportunities for the implementation of such a package in full or as a series of complementary initiatives. c. Identify pilot measures for early delivery