Three North Yorkshire towns have been chosen to be the target of a project to boost active travel including walking and cycling and cut levels of congestion.
Scarborough, Harrogate and Skipton have been selected for the ‘Open North Yorkshire’ project which is being part-funded through a £1 million award from the Department for Transport’s Access to Fund scheme.
According to North Yorkshire council, which is delivering the initiative, the towns have been chosen as they offer the ‘most potential for shifting to sustainable transport’, based on their population, levels of economic development, and congestion.
The council claims that many journeys within the towns are relatively short, making walking and cycling viable options.
The project runs until March 2020 and the emphasis is currently on Scarborough. This includes work with businesses, schools and residential developments to encourage walking, cycling, use of public transport and car sharing to help to reduce congestion, promote good health and create a better environment, the council says.
Officers are working with Graham School, Scalby School, Scarborough University Technical College and Coventry University’s Scarborough campus to look at the issues the schools and colleges face and projects such as park and stride schemes, cycle training and maintenance, car sharing and producing maps showing walking zones around the schools.
For businesses, walking challenges and journey planning with rail operators and bus companies are being offered to increase sustainable travel among staff.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Open North Yorkshire is part of the County Council’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, particularly to support economic growth. It sets out to increase cycling and walking and thereby reduce congestion in these three growing towns. It will encourage people to use transport other than the car.
“For schools, it looks at taking cars away from the school gates and for some it is about health and air quality. This will include better access to bicycles, improving cyclists’ confidence through training and better route information and reducing the number of cyclists injured on the roads.â€?
Work is also focusing on helping residents moving in to new housing developments with officers delivering information packs detailing local services and the benefits of active travel, as well as asking people how they travel and how they might change their habits.