On Friday 15th May, NYCC announced temporary – very temporary! – active travel measures to help people stay 2m apart.
In Harrogate, the measures are pavement-widening on three town centre streets on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May 2020 only. The same applies to Knaresborough High Street.
This is a good idea, but it should happen in many other locations; and there should be provision for cycling as instructed by the government.
Also, the point of measures like these is to give people more space as shops open up, activity returns, and it gets harder to stay 2m apart. It makes no sense to put them in on a Saturday morning and take them away again on Sunday evening.
That aspect of the NYCC’s actions is odd and does not appear to have been thought through.
It appears that NYCC subsequently decided to leave the cones on those three streets there until September. This is a small improvement – but it remains a token gesture, and far short of significant changes to the road layout to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists, as instructed by the government.
Today I saw a family of four on bikes reach the corner of Otley Road and Beech Grove. They realised that West Park Stray was closed and said, ‘Oh, what shall we do then?’ They ended up deciding to turn back.
I’m well aware that cycling is not allowed on West Park Stray, but these people are not scofflaws. They are decent people who want to keep their children safe. They clearly don’t believe that Beech Grove is a safe alternative for getting into town.
One of HDCA’s post-lockdown active travel improvement suggestions is to introduce a protected cycleway on Beech Grove; or planters could be placed in the middle to stop through traffic.
These are measures the county council should be taking so that families can ride safely around Harrogate and into town.