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Station Parade

Harrogate Station Gateway 2nd Consultation

November

2021

HARROGATE STATION GATEWAY – SECOND CONSULTATION

Comments from Harrogate Civic Society – 9th November 2021

These comments are the result of consideration of the proposals by a special committee meeting, following an open meeting of the Society that was attended by approx. 25 members.

Major objections
As indicated in the Society’s response to the first consultation exercise, in the absence of wider strategic thinking to address traffic flow through the town (including the possibility of re-introducing two-way traffic along West Park and Parliament Street, and the potential for Park and Ride), the proposal will result in traffic congestion throughout the town centre and a consequential increase in air pollution.

The proposal does not adequately consider the needs and safety of pedestrians, particularly the elderly, the disabled, and young families. It is considered that the proposal will result in a worse environment for pedestrians than the present layout.

Traffic safety issues will arise with potential conflicts and confusion over the flow of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, particularly at some of the junctions.

The design proposals for Station Square are poor and do not reflect Harrogate’s distinctive character as a floral town.

The statement that the one-lane proposal for Station Parade was the preferred option after the first consultation is misleading, as the combined numbers supporting those options that showed two lanes being retained was significantly greater than those supporting the onelane option. This undermines the basis of the present proposal.

Given these major objections, the Society would prefer to see the whole proposal reconsidered, even though this may mean that Harrogate would lose the opportunity for improvement though this particular funding.

There is agreement between all of those involved that traffic (especially through traffic) and congestion is a problem in the town, that the environment for both pedestrians and cyclists must be improved, that businesses in the town centre should be supported through infrastructure improvement, and that the town centre should be a better place for those living in it but this scheme, in its present form, does not achieve this.


Comments
These comments about specific aspects should not be taken in any way as indicating that the Society is generally supportive of the present proposal. In addition, many of the detailed concerns raised by the Society in its response to the first consultation have not been addressed; although these remain valid, they have not been reiterated.

There is significant concern about the introduction of a bus lane and cycle lane on the upper section of Cheltenham Parade. In particular, it is considered that traffic turning from Cheltenham Parade into Commercial Street (which will have to cross a bus lane, a cycle lane and a pedestrian route) will result in a dangerous and, potentially life-threatening, situation. In addition, it is considered that forcing all other vehicular traffic (apart from buses and cycles) into a single lane will result in congestion and will, potentially, slow traffic movements on Kings Road and Ripon Road.

The junction of Cheltenham Parade with Station Parade, which includes the vehicular access to the bus station and many pedestrian movements, is potentially dangerous and all traffic will need to be carefully controlled with many-phase lights. It is considered that such complex phasing is likely to be confusing and frustrating and will contribute to the traffic congestion on Cheltenham Parade mentioned above. In particular, it is anticipated that some cyclists will not dismount at the end of the cycle lanes but will either ride on the pavements or will swerve onto the carriageways.

The Society would prefer to see the cycle lanes along Station Parade limited to south-bound movements so as avoid conflict between north-bound cyclists and the size and speed of south-bound vehicles.

There is significant concern that the proposal will result in conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, it is considered that a raised kerb between cycle ways and pedestrian footways will prove to be a hazard for pedestrians, particularly for young children and those who are visually impaired.

There is significant concern that the proposal will result in a multiplicity of signage and other street furniture that will result in visual clutter. This will be detrimental to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

It is considered that the proposed design of Station Square is poor and does not reflect the distinctive character of Harrogate. This is a relatively small and windy space, and the Society does not consider water jets to be appropriate. It is suggested that the design of this space should reflect the floral character of the town and might take its inspiration from the midtwentieth-century layout of the space. There is also some regret that there does not appear to be any proposal to re-site the circular temple elsewhere in the town.

The Society is firmly against any all-day pedestrianisation of James Street. It is important that vehicular traffic be allowed along this street to prevent the feelings of anxiety that pedestrians already experience in the evenings in the fully pedestrian spaces of Oxford Street, Cambridge Street, and Market Place.

There is concern that the footway immediately adjacent to the Everyman Cinema would be reduced in width to the detriment of pedestrians. It is also noted that it unclear whether the trees in this area will be lost.

There is concern that the proposed cycle way on the east side of Station Parade to the south of Station Bridge will result in users of the parking in this area being forced to choose between opening vehicle doors across the road or the cycle way (endangering other traffic). Similarly, they will be forced to choose between steeping out into the road or the cycle way (endangering themselves).

There is significant concern that the design of the Odeon roundabout will prove to be dangerous as British drivers are unfamiliar with this type of the layout.

The Society is concerned that there should be a consistent approach to the design of the street furniture. This should reflect the existing character of the Conservation Area and not be a mix of traditional and modern designs as is currently suggested.

Possibilities
1. The Society wonders if it would be possible for buses to use Cheltenham Mount and the northern section of Station Parade instead of the upper section of Cheltenham Parade. This would make the difficult junction at the top of Cheltenham Parade easier to manage and would allow for the introduction of a cycle lane for almost the whole length of Cheltenham Parade.

2. Could the pedestrian crossings on Station Parade adjacent to the bus station and the train station be re-located further north so as to improve pedestrian routes?

3. Would it be possible for the proposal to be extended to include improvements to the service road on the south side of the Victoria Shopping Centre (between Market Place and Station Square) – which is very visible on exiting the train station?

4. The Society would wish the new surfacing of the eastern section of James Street to be designed in such a way that (when funding permits) it could be extended for the full length of James Street and, potentially, into Princes Street.

Questions
1. What is the justification for making the western section of Cheltenham Mount one
way? This section of road carries relatively little traffic and the proposal will result in
additional traffic through the residential streets of Mount Parade and Granville Road.
Also, this change will make it more difficult to access the Jubilee Car Park from the
east side of town.

2. Is it proposed that there be any loss of on-street parking from Cheltenham Mount and
Mount Parade?

3. Is it proposed that there be any loss of on-street parking from Commercial Street?