Harrogate congestion survey supremo - 'tough decisions' on way

Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for highways and passenger transport, who says the council has some tricky issues to deal with over traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for highways and passenger transport, who says the council has some tricky issues to deal with over traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The man most associated with efforts to solve Harrogate and Knaresborough's major traffic congestion problems says "tough and possibly unpopular decisions" may be on the way after the public rejection the idea of building new roads.

Organised by North Yorkshire County Council as part of its Harrogate Congestion Study, the successful online public survey attracted more than 15,000 responses with a heavy tendency towards environmentally-friendly solutions to road congestion.


While pleased by the engagement level, Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for highways and passenger transport, said it left the council with tricky issues to deal with.


Coun Mackenzie said: "I am very pleased indeed about the level of response. I cannot recall any public consultation at county level attracting anywhere near this response rate.
"The views of the public will be very useful in guiding the County Council as we seek to address traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough."

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He said he was, personally, delighted that sustainable transport ideas had come out tops in the public consultation.
But, he added, new road options had had to be included as options if the county council was to do its job properly and avoid a financial straitjacket in future plans for traffic congestion.


Coun Mackenzie said: "I note that a big majority of respondents favour measures to encourage the use of sustainable and public transport. I totally agree with this viewpoint.
"I accept that the inner relief road option has been overwhelmingly rejected. A new road option certainly had to be included in one of the two packages.
"Failure to do so would have left us open to the accusation that we had ignored the fact that many thousands of new homes have been built in Harrogate and Knaresborough without any extension to the highways infrastructure for 30 years.
"Furthermore, any future bid for funding for interventions to combat congestion will have to show evidence that all reasonable options were considered and consulted upon.


With a series of meetings with couunty councillors coming up in the next month, North Yorkshire County Council may now be forced to adopt measures to persuade residents to gived up their cars.


Coun Mackenzie said: "I will be interested to hear what my elected member colleagues make of these engagement results.
"Will they think that investing more of taxpayers’ money in sustainable measures is enough, or do they believe that travel choices need also to be influenced by measures to persuade people out of their cars - like, for example, higher parking charges, lower speed limits, more pedestrianisation and the like?
"There will be tough and possibly unpopular decisions to make and that is a message which I will send to my colleagues."

Harrogate congestion survey more results announced