We hope that LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design can have a transformative impact in Harrogate District, but that will only happen if it is applied, not ignored.
Around this time (October 2020), NYCC told us at a Cycle Forum meeting that they aware of LTN 1/20, and that it would be considered in all new work. That is very different from having read it and being committed to applying it.
Subsequently, the usual pattern of responses from NYCC officers when asked to apply LTN 1/20 was to:
- cast doubt on whether LTN 1/20 applies in North Yorkshire
- question the authority of the document (‘it’s only guidance’)
- focus on a word or phrase in the relevant paragraph of LTN 1/20 (‘should’, ‘normally’, ‘preferably’, ‘try to’) and use that to claim that the provision is optional and can be ignored
- do whatever they wanted to do originally without reference to LTN 1/20
We raised this with Corporate Director Karl Battersby. He committed NYCC to LTN 1/20 – but talk is cheap. In practice, as soon as there are difficult choices to be made, LTN 1/20 is thrown overboard. Examples include:
- the design standards of Phase 1 of the Otley Road Cycleway
- NYCC’s new 20mph policy
- on the basis of early indications, the West Harrogate urban expansion, where active travel is likely to be sacrificed to allocating more space at junctions to motor vehicles
Otley Road Cycleway
There are constraints on Otley Road that mean the cycleway would always have involved compromises, but Phase 1 has not been designed to the best standards possible.
It is not Direct at junctions like Arthur’s Avenue and Pannal Ash Road. At the Harlow Moor Road junction, a large amount of extra space has been allocated to motor vehicles, leaving cyclists and pedestrians crammed together like sardines.
NYCC’s attitude has been that they designed Phase 1 of the Otley Road Cycleway a long time ago, so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t meet LTN 1/20 standards. Shouldn’t a local authority want to design and build the best cycle infrastructure possible, to modern standards?
Around £10 million is being spent on increasing capacity at J47 of the A1M. NYCC is simply replicating the pre-existing narrow shared use path around the roundabout at the junction. The problems are:
- it’s far narrower than minimum widths in LTN 1/20
- it’s not connected to a network, so does not serve a cycling purpose
It is dispiriting to see that no thought whatever has gone into enabling active travel as part of this huge and expensive project. Again, the excuse for ignoring LTN 1/20 is ‘we designed this a long time ago’.
In summary, NYCC are aware of LTN 1/20, and make reference to it in their statements and documents. It is genuinely being applied in a couple of projects, including Station Gateway.
On a day-to-day basis, as soon as there are difficult choices to be made, LTN 1/20 is jettsioned. Unless NYCC are forced to apply LTN 1/20, they will continue to prioritise motor vehicles, and as a result cycle infrastructure will be well below the minimum standards.