Beech Grove is to retain the bollards and planters until at least August 2022.- the barriers allow cycles through, but not other vehicles.
North Yorkshire County Council describe the scheme as “pioneering” and say it will encourage more walking and cycling, although it is not clear why they believe that.
Although not-scientific, a visit to Beech Grove will show very few cycles using the route. It creates questions where NYCC perceive the route is helping cyclist get from and to.
Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council say the trial needs to be extended to gather further data, as the current data was gathered during a non-typical period.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:
Taking into account the consultation responses, traffic survey data, ongoing site observations and other active travel measures in Harrogate, we have decided to maintain the modal filters until summer 2022, when the experimental 18 month order ends, and a formal decision will be taken on the way forward.
A reduction in traffic levels on Beech Grove has resulted in a reduction in the speed of vehicles and an increase in cyclists. More people are likely to cycle – for both commuting and leisure – when improved infrastructure is in place that reduces conflict with vehicles.
We are committed to encouraging active travel, easing congestion and improving air quality in Harrogate. Other schemes such as the Otley Road cycle route, the Station Gateway project and the Active Travel Fund proposals for Victoria Avenue are all at various stages of design and construction so when work is complete we anticipate a further increase in cycling.
Beech Grove and Lancaster Road is not easily accessible to residents, with many having to take a longer route to access their properties.
Cllr Mackenzie added:
The various lockdowns have had an impact on traffic levels so an extension means we can collect further data before a decision is made on whether to make the measures permanent or set aside the scheme.
We will continue to listen to the views of residents on the Beech Grove measures which will be taken into account as part of an ongoing review of the scheme.
Councillor Richard Cooper, member for Harrogate Central, said:
We appreciate that some local residents remain sceptical about these new sustainable transport measures but extending the trial is important to be able to make an informed decision once we have more traffic data and consultation responses.
We cannot pretend that traffic congestion, poor air quality, a diminishing environment and climate change can be solved without radical changes to our transport infrastructure and our personal travel habits.
Any comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is April 29, 2022.