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Motorists rage at "ludicrous" plans to swap parking for segregated cycle lanes

Huddersfield residents hit out at the council's plans to boost active travel with "ill-conceived cycle lanes" ...

Some Huddersfield motorists have been left baffled by Kirklees Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority's plans to promote sustainable alternatives to driving. Part of the measures included in the consultation would see an end to informal parking arrangements on Wakefield Road and new segregated cycle lanes built instead.

The proposed plans also include upgraded pedestrian crossings, upgraded bus stop facilities and wider pavements, as well as new cycling infrastructure.

In its current state, the A629 Wakefield Road is a busy four-lane route for motorists travelling from or to the east, but does not have much provision for active travel.

A629 Wakefield Road (Google Maps Street View)

Despite the authorities' pledge to help tackle the climate emergency by offering alternatives to driving, the proposed changes have not gone down well with a certain portion of residents who were keen to make their voices heard in the local press.

One Huddersfield Examiner reader bemoaned the proposals' "ill-conceived cycle lanes, a confusing bus system and more congested roads".

Another called the plans "ludicrous" and argued: "If the council had any clue about encouraging cycle use, they would construct a dedicated cycle network that completely separates them from the roads.

"That way cycling would be much safer and more pleasant and the traffic could move more efficiently. This ludicrous plan to constrict what is already an over-congested route in order to appease the half dozen or so cyclists who might use it each day just about sums up how far out of touch with reality the council really are."

Wakefield Road proposals (Kirklees Council)

Last week, Kirklees Council asked for the public's views on the plans which Cllr Peter McBride said aimed to: "Create and enhance a new, safe and enjoyable walking and cycling route into the town centre, utilising both the A629 Wakefield Road and local neighbourhoods.

"Wakefield Road is a very busy throughfare not only for car users but all commuters. The consultation will offer all road users and residents the chance to have their say on whether they wish to see any improvements."

Three options have been proposed for residents to comment on, including one-way segregated cycleways on both sides of the A629 between the Shorehead Roundabout and Waterloo Road, a two-way segregated cycle route on the north side covering the same route, or one-way cycle lanes part of the way with recommended 'quiet streets' away from the A629 covering the rest of the route.

All the proposals would see the lanes available to motorists reduced in some form, whether it be from four lanes to three at Aspley or from three lanes to two away from Shorehead in the direction of Waterloo. The plans also mention the building of cycle storage facilities along the route.

The public consultation will run for the entirety of November, closing on Tuesday 30 November.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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29 comments

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BadgerBeaver | 2 years ago
0 likes

Just asking - what's it like riding a bike in Huddersfield? Thinking about functional cycling, not recreational in particular. 

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Kestevan replied to BadgerBeaver | 2 years ago
1 like

Depends.... The main arteries out of the town centre (Leeds road, Wakefield Rd, Bradford Road, Halifax Rd) are all grim.

Kirklees has done the minimum possible with frankly dangerous cycle lanes, and the general cycling infrastructure is crap. The town centre has some "questionable" cycle lanes, and a general lack of bike friendly parking etc.

However, from a leisure perspective the town sits at the centre of some truly wonderful, quiet rural roads.....as long as you like hills.

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Tech Noir replied to Kestevan | 2 years ago
1 like

I'd agree with all of those points. Getting across the town centre is made difficult by a mish-mash of one-way streets, banned turns and pedestrian areas. Some pedestrian areas allow cycling, some don't.

Getting into the town centre is daunting, due to the ring road.

Kirklees has installed some pointless and dangerous infrastructure. At least the scheme mentioned in the article bears some resemblance to LTN 1/20, unlike a scheme proposed for the Halifax Road corridor.

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anke | 2 years ago
2 likes

BUT! THEY! DO! NOT! PAY! STAMP!-DUTY!!!...

...these car owners who place (almost) immovable property (cars) there...

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lonpfrb | 2 years ago
8 likes

In Finland their analysis of the health of the nation led to a mandatory planning requirement that all new roads must have separate outer lanes suitable for vulnerable road users. So in summer time it's safe to ride, roll, walk or run, and in winter it's safe to ride, skate, ski, walk or run. Obviously -20°c gives stable powder snow, not the slush we get in UK.

My point is that their government decided for that and 25 years later it's mostly in place. Not Denmark, but doing well and getting better due to smart government.

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Jackslad replied to lonpfrb | 2 years ago
3 likes

Ditto for the Netherlands.  During the 1970's and fed up with the amount of road user deaths (cyclists and motorists), the Dutch Government mandated improved road infrastructure, along with other legislation to force a change in culture amongst road users.  Now a gold standard to be achieved for active travel by other nations.

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hawkinspeter replied to Jackslad | 2 years ago
4 likes
Jackslad wrote:

Ditto for the Netherlands.  During the 1970's and fed up with the amount of road user deaths (cyclists and motorists), the Dutch Government mandated improved road infrastructure, along with other legislation to force a change in culture amongst road users.  Now a gold standard to be achieved for active travel by other nations.

I was under the impression that the Dutch government had to be dragged, kicking and screaming to make any changes to their road building policies. I believe it was very much protests that pushed through changes rather than relying on politicians (who may or may not receive funding from oil interest groups)

https://www.dutchreach.org/car-child-murder-protests-safer-nl-roads/

Good video about it here: https://vimeo.com/361286029

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chrisonabike replied to Jackslad | 2 years ago
2 likes
Jackslad wrote:

Ditto for the Netherlands.  During the 1970's and fed up with the amount of road user deaths (cyclists and motorists), the Dutch Government mandated improved road infrastructure, along with other legislation to force a change in culture amongst road users.  Now a gold standard to be achieved for active travel by other nations.

As hawkinspeter said, this wasn't a smooth process at all. There have been battles and push back all along the way. The only difference is that the Netherlands started the process before their cycle modal share tanked to UK / US levels (essentially "the fit, the brave and the bloody-minded" at a percent or so). We've now had a couple of generations where this was a minority activity. The motorist won the "war".

A few example stories - with features we'll find familiar in the UK:

Tilburg - had a "demonstration cycle route" - cyclists responded "the minister  ... tries to stimulate cycling but does not really want to cause too much pain to car traffic." People thought that the wrong route was chosen. Shopkeepers protested.

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/the-tilburg-demonstration-cycle-route/

The Hague - the route was argued about for so long that the Government monies were lost. Shopkeepers protested again predicting “large sales reductions inevitably leading to business closures and bankruptcies ... due to a restriction of the car traffic a large part of the buyer public will go to more accessible shopping centres”.

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/the-demonstration-cycle-route-in-the-hague/

Amsterdam - in the 70s people were setting cars aflame:

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/the-battle-for-the-ferdinand-bolstraat/

Things that aided this? I think the way the Dutch manage their public realm (roads etc.) is much more organised that the UK's "free for all" approach. They seem to have much less issues with companies digging up roads frequently and doing a crap job of making good once they've got what they wanted done.

I don't know to what extent the political climate made a difference (e.g. predominant political "tone", range of parties and their willingness to do business with each other or be "pragmatic"). Much has been made of the notion that Dutch politics is better at compromise on selected issues. Not sure about that but I believe cycling is not now considered to be something that gets used - positively or negatively - in the service of one particular party.

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Bungle_52 | 2 years ago
4 likes
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eburtthebike replied to Bungle_52 | 2 years ago
2 likes
Bungle_52 wrote:

Meanwhile in Gloucestershire :

https://www.cyclecheltenham.org.uk/wp/gcc-raids-bishops-cleeve-cheltenha...

OMG; that is literally incredible, unbelievable, totally insane and corrupt.  Transferring the funding for a cycle track into building more roads is just immoral and indefensible.  I live in Gloucestershire, unfortunately in the Forest so my local councillor won't be interested, but maybe I'll write to them anyway.  We've got a few Green councillors now, so hopefully they'll be fighting this crass decision tooth and nail.

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Gennysis | 2 years ago
5 likes

When planning active travel infrastructure councils should have a plan for how they deal with the inevitable tsunami of objections whipped up by a small group of indignant motorists.

This is so common it should actually be expected and accounted for in their planning documents. 

Thats not bias it's addressing a risk.

Consultations are being manipulated.

 

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chrisonabike replied to Gennysis | 2 years ago
2 likes

Seen this several times now but I believe that (pretty similar to how they do with major road infra) the mantra is:

"We are consulting on the best way to do this. We are not consulting on doing it or not."

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geomannie 531 | 2 years ago
6 likes

My take on this.

"The online Oxford English dictionary defines a road as “a wide way leading from one place to another, especially one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles can use”. The Collins dictionary offers “a road is a long piece of hard ground which is built between two places so that people can drive or ride easily from one place to the other”. However, the most important definition is the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states “a road physically should have the character of a definable route, with ascertainable edges, and that leads from one point to another to enable travellers to move conveniently from one point to another along that route”.

The essence of all the above definitions is that a road is constructed route that people can use to travel by vehicle from one place to another, the Act of 1988 adding the term “move conveniently”. What is conspicuously missing from any definition of “road” is that it is a place to store your private property. Now call me picky, but what is a car if not private property?"

https://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15483256.agenda-on-street-parking...

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GMBasix replied to geomannie 531 | 2 years ago
3 likes

Sadly (because I agree with you that the concept of parking on a public road as of right seems to me an extension of entitlement to which society has become blindly obedient) it is not a tenet in British law that things must be expressly permitted in law, unless they have previously been restricted elsewhere in law or need to be clairifed in relation to some other aspect of law. Furthermore, it is often the case that actions that are incidental to other, permitted actions, are often permitted. So, resting in a place along a way is OK; parking one's motor carriage along the way is also OK (unless it's not).

What I would be very careful about is quoting the Herald to summarise the Road Traffic Act: the quoted text does not come from the RTA but from Cutter v Eagle Star, in which the specific quote refers to a determination of whether a particular place was a road or not was considered (for the purposes of liability), not how a road may be used.

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HarrogateSpa | 2 years ago
14 likes

The fundamental mistake these objectors make is to believe there is a fixed amount of traffic that must go somewhere, and a fixed number of "cyclists" who are not worth accommodating.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
8 likes

Unless Kirklees council behaves very differently from Bristol council, the motorists will just be able to move the disputed wands/cones and park wherever they want, block whatever cycle lane they wish to store their cars, and with no risk of any sanctions or punishment...

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chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes

Yep - it's a horrible stroad. A street (with shops, houses, other "destinations") which has just ballooned into a road, an "artery" for cars.  It's now trying to serve both purposes and neither will work well.

https://www.google.com/maps/@53.6431027,-1.7702057,3a,75y,93.23h,76.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sS8TUZo6deKtLRNFs0rRXLA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Further to the east of the town it looks like it could be tamed a bit. If I recall from when I lived in in West Yorkshire there's a lot of "strip development" along the roads between towns, so there's always an issue of traffic getting to and from population centres passing through development. It's not unique to this region though.

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
10 likes

I'm sure if the people objecting were asked, they would be very much in favour of measures to prevent climate change; just not in their back yard.

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Mungecrundle replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
3 likes

I rather suspect they would be dead against any recognition of climate change, let alone be prepared to make any adjustment to their lifestyles regardless of who's backyard.

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
2 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

I'm sure if the people objecting were asked, they would be very much in favour of measures to prevent climate change; just not in their back yard.

Don't know if you're aware of this one? Everyone wants mobility. Nobody wants traffic jams...

https://robertweetman.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/where-is-the-best-place-for-congestion/

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eburtthebike replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Don't know if you're aware of this one? Everyone wants mobility. Nobody wants traffic jams...

https://robertweetman.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/where-is-the-best-place-for-congestion/

Interesting, thanks for the link.  I think it's based on a false premise;

“Where is the best place for the congestion?”

The answer is nowhere, because people travel by bus, bike and foot.  Very glad to hear that the road design course they are re-jigging will no longer be the old predict and provide model.

Not sure that this is true either:

"The idea that more and more people will try to drive, even after traffic stops moving completely, is nonsense."

The evidence seems to be that they do.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Don't know if you're aware of this one? Everyone wants mobility. Nobody wants traffic jams...

https://robertweetman.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/where-is-the-best-place-for-congestion/

That's an excellent article. He's also got some other excellent posts on his blog such as the one on continuous footway designs: https://robertweetman.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/design-details-2/.

I also like his checklist for quality cycling infrastructure: https://robertweetman.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/helpful-quality-measures-on-infrastructure-for-cycling/

Quote:
  • Looking only at traffic-related safety, would most people allow an unaccompanied 12 year old to cycle here?
  • Looking only at surface quality, would a road (racing) bike be used here?
  • Looking only at issues of social safety, would most people feel comfortable walking here after dark?
  • Looking at ‘flow’, can a relaxed 8mph (12kph) be continually and safely maintained here?
  • Looking only at route signage, can this cycle route be followed confidently without a map?
    [This measure is ONLY FOR SIGNED ROUTES]
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qwerty360 replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
8 likes

That is a nice set. Though for the checklist I would argue it is missing one question:

Looking at space, can non-standard bicycles (e.g. 1m wide 2.5m long handcycle) get through?

 

This is extraordinarily important given the answer for a lot of UK infra is no because we installed bollards to ensure it isn't possible...

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AidanR | 2 years ago
8 likes

"If the council had any clue about encouraging cycle use, they would construct a dedicated cycle network that completely separates them from the roads."

I'm all in favour. Where does the commenter propose putting this dedicated network?

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eburtthebike replied to AidanR | 2 years ago
2 likes
AidanR wrote:

"If the council had any clue about encouraging cycle use, they would construct a dedicated cycle network that completely separates them from the roads." I'm all in favour. Where does the commenter propose putting this dedicated network?

Where the council have already planned? 

"...a two-way segregated cycle route on the north side covering the same route,.."

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Secret_squirrel replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
0 likes

Sounds too reasonable. Are we sure he's a carist?

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Sriracha | 2 years ago
14 likes

I'm baffled by how removing stationary parked cars blocking space on the thoroughfare amounts to a constriction, especially if the liberated tarmac is given over to moving more people by bicycle.

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hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
10 likes

So, the route is already congested but some people hold on to the view that "our current system isn't working well, so let's keep it the same".

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
8 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

So, the route is already congested but some people hold on to the view that "our current system isn't working well, so let's keep it the same".

The usual situation of a metastable state.  It might not serve anyone particularly well but any moves away from it a) are seen as favouring one interest over another (which they necessarily are - choosing your priority is the point) and b) tend to initially make it worse for most people (e.g. roadworks, loss of a lane).

Authorities often falter at this point - although when there's money in it (e.g. a major road development, housing development, new broadband) they're perfectly happy to put up with angry shouts from the people.

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