Bus company hails Harrogate 'green' plans

Alex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev BlazefieldAlex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev Blazefield
Alex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev Blazefield
A Harrogate pressure group's sustainable transport policies have won the backing of the town's leading bus company.

The local head of Transdev said Zero Carbon Harrogate's sustainable transport vision which was published in last week's Harrogate Advertiser was to be applauded.And he said buses had a crucial role to play in a better and more environmentally-friendlu future. Alex Hornby, chief executive of Transdev Blazefield said:“As The Harrogate Bus Company, we’ve been at the heart of the community in Harrogate for over a century and whilst we are proud of our pedigree, we deeply care about the town’s future. "That’s why we applaud the vision of Zero Carbon Harrogate and share many of its aims, including the introduction of a new zero-emission electric fleet during early 2018 and the continued roll-out of Euro 6 level emission buses which are less polluting than a new diesel car. "Furthermore, the continued congestion and pressure for road space means that buses have to be part of the answer for a sustainable Harrogate both now and in the future, and we are doing all we can to make the bus a better option for people by investing in better buses with hi-spec features and enhanced technology, best value ticketing and information.”

Zero Carbon Harrogate: A vision of a sustainable transport policy

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Highlights from A Sustainable Transport Model reportby Anna Crugan of Zero Carbon Harrogate, with advice from Leeds Beckett University

vision 1park and ride

(A) Buses & BikesReducing the volume of traffic coming into the town centre is achievable through park and ride schemes. These would be located in Pannal, the Yorkshire Showground, the gas works and at a location east of Knaresborough.

(B) Trains for urban journeysAdding tain stops for park and ride and additional halts for suburbs such as Knaresborough East and Claro Industrial Estate would take pressure away from the road networks. An additional Stray halt would serve the local secondary schools of Harrogate Grammar School. St Aidan’s High School and Rossett High School.

vision 2reduce speed limits(A) Urban areasWith lower road speeds pedestrians have an actual and perceived sense of improved safety. Lower speed limits are already adopted in larger cities such as Glasgow where it has led to smoother traffic flows.

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(B) Home ZonesHome zones are residential areas where road speed is reduced to 10 or 20mph.The road layout and structure encourages pedestrian and cycling priority. Streets become a social space.Access roads to the home zones are limited to remove ‘rat running’ of vehicles. Quiet residential streets encourage residents to cycle and walk.

vision 3strengthen bus routesBus routes are the lifeline of a rural economy and protecting connections from Harrogate and Knaresborough to smaller towns is key.A new orbital service providing links around the outskirts of Harrogate and Knaresborough to places of employment and the hospital would avoid a journey into a town centre and out again. With the introduction of a park and ride scheme, orbital buses routes are an alternative to the bus park and ride journeys into the town centres.

vision 4a dense network of cycle routesIn 2019 Harrogate will host the Union Cycliste Internationale Road World Championships.In our vision of Harrogate & Knaresborough in 2035, the excellent reputation for sports cycling is complemented by the day to day cycling, to work, to school and to transport hubs.This vision includes a segregated network of bike lanes and making journeys safer and healthier.Provision of electric bikes that makes the hills less of a challenge provides an option of sustainable travel for the less fit. Commuting by bike is also less exerting on an electric bike and an option for workers without showers at work.

vision 5prioritise accessible green space(A) Places like The Stray, Nidd Gorge, the Pinewoods, Conyngham Hall and Riverside walk in Knaresborough are more than just a pretty landscape, they are an economic asset and a reason to visit. The green space also provides environmental services including mitigation of air pollution, carbon storage, control of surface water and flood protection.

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(B) Reconnecting The StrayToday the Stray is divided by the A61and A59 and is bounded in many areas by parked cars, most of which are avoiding parking costs in the town centre. Pedestrian access across the Stray is impeded by traffic with many of the pedestrian crossings being located some distance from the natural line of the paths. There are some cycles routes along the Stray but not all these have safe crossing points across the main roads.In this Vision for 2035 the Stray is expanded around Trinity Church to:Retain its connectivity between High and Low Harrogate as originally envisagedEnsure the landscape character of the Stray is enhanced not detracted by free on-street parking Allow more space in other areas of the Stray for cycle paths by adding landEnsu re the success of park and rides schemes.

vision 6harrogate gold routeThe heart of the conomy of Harrogate is the business visitors to the Convention Centre.Using Sheffield’s excellent example of urban realm design, Harrogate needs a Gold Route for pedestrians to guide them from the transport hubs of the railway and bus station to all the entrances around the Convention Centre and the Royal Hall.Implementing the existing Harrogate Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan (Environmental Associates 2016) is a key step towards this vision.The conference visitor and audiences at the Royal Hall want to spend time networking and socialising in a pleasant environment but, at the moment, the public realm around these areas is disconnected from the historic heart of Harrogate by the A61.

vision 7car clubsCar clubs allow people to access a car occasionally in a community run scheme. Vehicles are provided around the town for hire on an hourly rate, half day or day rate.Providing low emission electric powered vehicles with charging points would not only help air quality but also help supplement the electric charging network. For visitors coming to Harrogate and Knaresborough, sustainable tourism could be offered with this model. Arrive by public transport but have access to a vehicle for an hour, half day or a day toexplore the villages of the district and the Dales.For residents, access to a car club allows new developments to be designed with less space allocated to vehicles and parking and more of the precious land resource allocated to housing.