Calderdale Council has secured millions of pounds from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund for expenditure on transport provision in Calderdale. In particular on the A629 Huddersfield Road between Elland and Halifax and on Halifax Town Centre.
The proposals for Halifax Town Centre were the subject of a public presentation at Halifax Town Hall on 18 July 2017. To give an idea of what is involved, there is a link here:-http://www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk/vision/a629-phase-2-halifax-town-centre
I attended this event and took away a leaflet giving details of the proposals. Because the “Comments Form” issued in support of the proposals was very limited in scope and only included one reference to cycling viz the question “”What mode of transport do you typically use within Halifax Town Centre” and no form of enquiry as to what additional provision ought to be made for cyclists (by contrast people were asked if they wanted parking to be provided at Bull Green) I have prepared a more cycling specific response which I have today sent to the Council. My response reads as follows:-
Comments on the Halifax Town Centre Improvements – July 2017.
I am the Cycling UK Local Cycle Campaigner for Calderdale. I have been a resident of Halifax Town Centre for 33 years. I would like to offer the following comments on the proposals “Halifax Town Centre Improvements” as set out in the leaflet issued by “Calderdale – the next chapter” in July 2017 and which were the subject of the presentation in Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday 18 July 2017.
The leaflet states that “All comments will be reviewed” and the deadline for comments is 1st August 2017.
The leaflet issued at the presentation states (“The Vision for Halifax”)
“…………..Enhancing the Historic Heart of Halifax through…. Accessibility…increasing pedestrian and cycling activity and creating an environment where children and mobility impaired users feel more confident…”
The mock up drawings shown at the presentation showed people in normal clothing on bicycles in the proposed traffic free areas at Market Street and Commercial Street.
Calderdale Council has recently (May 2017) adopted a Calderdale Cycling Strategy which includes the following statements:-
(The Strategy) “aims to ensure that cycling measures are an integral part of scheme development” (covering report, para 1.1.3);
(The Strategy includes) “creating more cycle friendly walkable district centres” (para 2.1);
“The cycle network will link effectively with other transport modes and include parking and safe crossing points where appropriate” (para 4.3.3);
“The intention is not to seek additional funding from Calderdale Council at this time but to work differently when delivering capital and maintenance schemes, to view the road layout from the perspective of the cyclist” (para 4.4).
Given that the improvements for Halifax funded under the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund are the biggest investment in transportation in Calderdale in a generation (if ever) then it is the expectation that the proposals for Halifax Town Centre would incorporate provision for cyclists, in particular the utility cyclists – the ones who do not wear lycra – at whom the Calderdale Cycling Strategy is aimed at encouraging.
Comments on the Halifax Town Centre Proposals
With the above as background, I would wish to offer the following comments on the currently advertised proposals for Halifax Town Centre
The proposals should include a clear and specific commitment by Calderdale Council that access to Halifax Town Centre by people on bicycles will be permitted, encouraged and promoted.
In particular, access by people on bicycles to the newly pedestrianised areas i.e. Market Street and Commercial Street (outside Victoria Theatre) will be permitted, encouraged and promoted;
In particular, there will be wide, high quality crossings at key points e.g Bull Green, Wards End, Station Gateway, Market Street, Pellon Lane (subway replacement) and Northgate (potential cycle link to North Halifax) where priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists as against motor traffic;
In particular, those parts of the proposals that are implemented first of all will include adequate cycle parking provision in key locations (adequate meaning adequate in terms of safety, security and shelter);
In particular, the proposals will include the early completion of a high quality cycle link between the Hebble Trail (at Phoebe Lane, Siddal) and the Station Gateway.
It would be appreciated if receipt of these comments could be acknowledged. Thank you.
It is noted from the leaflet that a planning application to enable the Halifax Town Centre proposals to proceed will be submitted later this year (2017). It is hoped that the general and specific comments as set out above will be incorporated in the detailed proposals that will be included in the Planning Application.
Local Cycling Campaigner, Calderdale, Cycling UK
31 July 2017.
I shall await with interest any response to these comments, and will update when there is something to report.
If anyone has comments on the above, it goes without saying that I would be pleased to receive them.