A guide to the Tour de France
27th June 2018
Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce is to question councillors about road closures for the 2019 World Championships, reports Stray FM.
Independent shop owners have raised concerns about losing trade during the event, which will involve road closures for nine days.
Shop owner Sue Kramer said, 'We are extremely worried about the impact of a nine-day cycling event, and associated road closures, on small businesses in particular. For businesses already working on very tight margins, nine days of roads closures could be catastrophic: some are already planning to close their doors for that period because they won't be able to cover the costs of opening. We hope this meeting will be an opportunity to get some reassurance that the closures will be kept to an absolute minimum, and that organisers and council are listening to businesses.'
A spokesman for Harrogate BC said, 'This is a global cycling event which will raise the profile of Harrogate district with a worldwide audience. Harrogate will not be 'closed' during the championships. Visitors, shoppers and residents will still be able to come into the town centre. The meeting next month is a good opportunity for the organisers to listen to the concerns of local traders and to find a way to make sure everyone benefits from this event.'
The meeting is at St Aiden's school at 6.15pm on 9th July 2018.
Yorkshire was awarded this event on 12th October 2016, and by the end of October 2016 it was known that Harrogate would be the main hub for the races. It was predictable that some people would be worried about road closures - perhaps the only surprising thing is that it's taken so long for the concerns to be raised.
It's clearly true that it's not easy to run a small business in town. There are lots of pressures, including high rent and rates, and competition from online retailers. Local shops are valuable to residents in Harrogate, and we should support them at every opportunity.
Businesses often over-estimate the proportion of customers who come into town by car. On two recent occasions, at the dentist and at the bank, the person I've been dealing with has made a comment about 'your parking', in case I needed to get away because my time was running out. I hadn't parked a car, only a bike. It's free, and there's no time limit.
Traffic is not neutral or benign. It puts me off cycling on many roads at many times of day. It almost certainly prevents other people from riding their bikes into town, because they are afraid of getting run over. It also makes walking less pleasant - breathing the pollution, hearing the noise, and waiting interminably for the pedestrian lights to change. One person's 'right' to drive a car does take away the rights of other people to get around in the way they would like.
So yes, when the World Championships are on, it will be harder to drive into town, but it will be a lot easier to get there by other means. I would expect the takings of many businesses to go up. There will also be a lot of visitors in town, boosting the local economy. There may be variations in impact, depending on the type of business, and what they sell.
Businesses can be surprised at the effects of limiting traffic and allowing people to travel by other means, as this video shows.
The Tour de France in Harrogate was brilliant, and local people turned out in huge numbers. The freedom to walk and cycle, without the fear of getting run over, was one of the things I valued most about it. But it was too short a time.
If we have a week or more of largely traffic-free roads, there's a serious possibility that a lot more people might start to realise the negative effects of vehicles dominating all our public spaces. I hope they do, and I hope they start to demand changes.
The six host towns of the Tour de Yorkshire were announced on 25th October 2016. Harrogate is on the list, but whether it will be at a start or a finish won't be confirmed until December. Read about the six host towns of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017.
12th October 2016
Meeting in Doha, the UCI today took the decision to award the 2019 road World Championships to Yorkshire. Welcome to Yorkshire, who were involved in the bid along with British Cycling and UK Sport, are delighted. Read about Yorkshire awarded 2019 UCI road World Championships.
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