CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) are Dutch-style junctions which work by separating cyclists from general traffic with the aim of improving safety for all road users.
The UK’s first was built in Manchester last year and now Harrogate could get its own as part of North Yorkshire County Council’s active travel schemes which are currently out for consultation.
Melissa Burnham, highways area manager, told a public event today that the idea had been put forward for the Station Parade junction of Victoria Avenue which already has plans for new cycle lanes, a zebra crossing and ‘floating’ bus stop.
“It is not something we have ever installed in North Yorkshire before but it is just an idea of what could be achieved,” she said.
“Essentially, the idea would be that any upgrade at this junction would have to incorporate all road users effectively and efficiently but it would be subject to necessary traffic modelling to understand the impact from Station Parade”.
Under the active travel schemes, there are also proposals for a 40mph limit, cycle lanes and junction upgrades on the A59 between Harrogate and Knaresborough.
There were also plans to make Oatlands Drive one-way to free up road space for more cycling and walking improvements but this was met with strong objections from residents concerned about the impact on traffic.
North Yorkshire County Council has now put forward new proposals for a 20mph limit, junction improvements and restrictions on cars using St Hilda’s Road and St Winifred’s Drive, but there were still similar concerns raised at today’s consultation event.
One resident, Nick Manning, said the restrictions would turn nearby streets into “rat runs” and make the Saints area “more dangerous for walkers and cyclists, especially children walking to school”.
Another resident, Roger Tock, questioned: “How do North Yorkshire County Council think that the additional cars being forced to access St Winifreds Road are going to be beneficial to the currently unacceptable pollution and parking problems which have been allowed to be a problem in excess of 10 years?”
In response, Mrs Burnham said comments and suggestions from all residents would be taken into account during the consultation process which recently moved to a second phase with the publication of designs and will run until April 12.
Coun Don Mackenzie, the council’s executive member for access, also said while he recognised the concerns around the initial impact on roads, the active travel schemes – along with other projects including the £7.9m Harrogate Gateway and Beech Grove Low Traffic Neighbourhood – would have a “cumulative” effect on cutting congestion and carbon emissions.
He said: “All of these schemes are cumulative and eventually will have the effect of making it more attractive for our residents to walk and cycle rather than get in cars. In that way, we can reduce congestion.
“For example, we originally planned a one-way option for Oatlands Drive but several residents said ‘that would make my journey into town by car longer’. All we were doing there was trying to make it more attractive to use a bike or feet to get into town.
“My point is that many of these interventions here will be cumulative and eventually build up an extremely good walking and cycling network.”