Thanks very much to those who came along on the EATF Mini-Tour this morning. We looked at the roads where quality cycle infrastructure may be installed, funded by the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). We were delighted two Councillors could join the tour – Phil Ireland and Chris Aldred.
Our ride took in Beech Grove, Victoria Avenue and Oatlands Drive. (The other road that may benefit from EATF funding is the A59 between High Bridge and Harrogate Golf Club).
This was part of the EATF Tranche 1 bid by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). They say funding wasn’t granted, but they are going to put in a bike lane anyway. We discussed concerns over the design.
The problem with the design is that it provides protection in one direction only. Returning from town, people on bikes would have to share a (reduced width) carriageway with traffic. We watched as vehicles went past quite fast – including taxis, pickup trucks and 4x4s.
Two parents present said they would not let their young children ride on Beech Grove as currently planned. None of us thought the design was acceptable, or an improvement.
This is an EATF Tranche 2 scheme. A decision from the DfT on funding is due in early September.
There would be a bike lane either side, between parking and the kerb; or a 2-way bike lane in the centre. We think this is a good scheme, and it would provide part of the link between Otley Road and the station and town centre.
Crossing York Place
Using the light-controlled crossing of York Place between Queen Parade and Oatlands Drive, it took a full 40 seconds for the lights to change to green for us. Even when there was no traffic coming, the lights stayed red. NYCC gives priority to motor traffic and makes people on foot and bikes wait. This goes against national policy to make walking and cycling the natural choices for short journeys.
Existing Oatlands Drive facilities
Everyone agreed that the narrow painted bike lanes on Oatlands Drive are not fit for purpose. We saw someone riding on the pavement instead – clearly having rejected the official facilities as unsafe.
The bike lane on one side was full of parked cars.
EATF scheme for Oatlands Drive
Oatlands Drive is also a Tranche 2 scheme. It would be made one-way (south) for cars, and there would be a physically protected bike lane either side. This will be great, and we hope it will be funded.
- Phil Ireland and Chris Aldred to use their contacts to get the Beech Grove design changed, and report back
- Phil and Chris to raise with NYCC the time taken for the York Place crossing lights to change (and for other pedestrian crossing lights in Harrogate) and report back