North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has launched Phase 2 of its consultation on the proposed Active Travel Fund (ATF) schemes.
On 11th February 2021, we reported on the Phase 1 consultation, which was simply about the locations of the proposed schemes, and whether they were appropriate.
NYCC has now provided more detailed plans.
A59 Harrogate Road/Knaresborough Road
We support this scheme to provide segregated cycle lanes on the A59 Harrogate Road/Knaresborough Road. Our reservations are:
- this is really only part of a route, and to be useful it needs to extend through Starbeck to join up with other routes in Harrogate, and extend over High Bridge to join up with other routes in Knaresborough
- if the traffic is to be 40mph then LTN1/20 states that there should be an absolute minimum 0.5m buffer between traffic and the cycle lane, and that the cycle lane should have physical protection (kerb). If this isn’t applied it is unlikely to make people feel safe using it and so unlikely to achieve the modal shift that is needed
- the cycle lane on the south side is really a duplication of the existing cycle path. The existing path is good, but only starts 150m after High Bridge; the new cycle track gets closer to High Bridge, but there is still a missing section
As has been fairly well-publicised in the local press, NYCC designed a scheme that involved making Oatlands Drive one-way for motor vehicles. The purpose of this was to make space for wider pavements, and cycle lanes with light segregation (wands).
That scheme was withdrawn on the eve of the Phase 2 consultation – i.e. without consulting on it.
The new plan involves making the road 20mph and putting one-way filters on St Winifred’s and St Hilda’s roads – one you can only turn into, and the other you can only turn out of. (This does not mean making those roads one-way. It is only a change to the junctions, designed to deter using these residential roads as through routes).
There is also an improved crossing at Slingsby Walk, a couple of speed platforms as traffic-calming measures, and new no parking/no waiting restrictions by the Stray.
It is not clear what is to happen to the existing advisory cycle lanes, which are 1m05 wide; our assumption is that NYCC intend to leave them in place.
The new design is much less ambitious than the original scheme. We believe NYCC should have consulted on the original design, then modified it afterwards if necessary.
Our comments on the new design are:
- the crossing points on Oatlands Drive are very welcome and needed – ideally these should be Parallel Crossings
- according to the Statutory Guidance that sets out the conditions for funding, the purpose of the ATF is to reallocate road space to active travel. This scheme does not reallocate any road space
- the Statutory Guidance states that protected space is needed to encourage people to cycle. “Lanes indicated by road markings only are very unlikely to be sufficient to deliver the level of changed needed”. This scheme does not provide any protected space/physical protection from traffic
- we agree with a 20mph limit, and believe it should be the default for residential and school streets. However, the Statutory Guidance makes clear that 20mph on its own is not good enough. “20mph limits alone will not be sufficient to meet the needs of active travel, but in association with other measures, reducing the speed limit can provide a more attractive and safer environment for walking and cycling”
- the ‘other measures’ should include physical protection from traffic, but that is absent. Close passes at 20mph will be enough to put most people off cycling on Oatlands Drive, even in the unlikely event that the speed limit is enforced
- the existing painted advisory cycle lanes are well below minimum requirements and are highly dangerous. These should be removed as they create more danger than having nothing at all. The only small purpose they serve is as a filter lane for bikes when traffic is backed up and stationary
- we doubt whether one-way filters at the mouths of St Winifred’s and St Hilda’s Roads will achieve much for active travel
- we support the idea of banning parking or waiting on the Stray as drivers frequently park on the Stray, thereby damaging it
- the Statutory Guidance says that schemes should be designed to meet the standards set out in the new Cycle Infrastructure Design guidance, LTN1/20, which this scheme does not – notably by failing to provide protected space for cycling, and leaving in place advisory painted cycle lanes 1m05 wide. The guidance states that below 1m50, advisory cycle lanes should not be used (para 6.4.3)
Overall, the new design is unambitious. It doesn’t meet the conditions for ATF funding, and it doesn’t comply with LTN1/20 standards.
The plan for Victoria Avenue as we understand it is for cycle tracks between the pavement and parked cars, with enough buffer space to prevent cyclists being ‘doored’.
We support the scheme, which is a vital link from the Otley Road route via Beech Grove into the centre of town and Station Parade. We would comment:
- it isn’t clear where the remaining car parking will be – space will be needed to ensure that ‘car dooring’ isn’t a risk to passing cyclists
- the junction with Station Parade needs to be integrated with the Station Gateway scheme design. It isn’t clear how this will work
- as we have already pointed out, and NYCC have already accepted, the minimum width of cycle tracks is 2m, not 1.5m. 1.5m is only permissible for short sections ‘at constraints’, not as the default width for a whole route as here. It is a matter of concern that the county council continually seeks to weaken and dilute standards for cycle infrastructure, even after committing to apply LTN1/20 guidance, and it being a condition of funding
- the ‘potential’ staggered zebra crossing should be an actual zebra crossing, since it is already there. ATF schemes should not take away active travel provision, they should add it
- is cycle parking to be included? There is a serious problem in town with bike theft so any parking provision needs to be visibly secure to encourage people to cycle into town
Go to NYCC’s ATF page and follow the link to complete the survey that forms the Phase 2 consultation.