in reverse date order
2019 newsletters – in reverse date order
Newsletter No. 35 November 2019
Hello and welcome everyone to Newsletter No. 35.
John Lewis – chair KCC
Cycle Routes to develop around Dalton Bank:
Dave Clarkin leads walks around Kirkheaton and has highlighted a potentially useful cycle route between Waterloo and Bradley that makes use of tracks currently owned by Syngenta. The big obstacle at the moment is a footbridge over what was once a railway line. KCC are hopeful that, in some way or other, the obstacle of this footbridge can be overcome. We have requested a meeting with Cllr McBride to see if he will help to make some progress. It will be necessary for Kirklees Council to agree to negotiate with Syngenta.
This route need not necessarily be immediately tarmac surfaced. For the moment it could just be a low-cost, mainly off-road, route linking Dalton and Waterloo to Mirfield and Brighouse.
New Plans for Huddersfield Rail Station and Bus Station:
Kirklees recently made a successful bid for DFT money to improve walking and cycling links between Huddersfield Rail Station and the Bus Station.
The plans are currently open for consultation until November 29th and responses are needed. The pedestrian experience is much improved on the plans, but they also show some very useful links for cyclists which would make the town centre a little easier to navigate. These include a better way of exiting the rail station and crossing Westgate, as well as better access from New North Parade to the southbound route along Upperhead Row (which links to the Underpass at the leisure centre).
A southbound contra-flow up Railway Street and Market Street is also on the plan. If this were achieved it would begin to make cycling in the town centre much more feasible.
The plans can be seen on the link below. Please have a look and make a short response.
Thanks to Adrian we now have some video evidence of the ‘cycling experience’ on the A616 northbound through Berry Brow. This is a well-known blackspot for local cyclists and the two videos (links below) from Adrian’s helmet camera illustrate clearly why this is. Highways engineers, traffic police, local councillors and others concerned with road safety are urged to look at these videos.
In video 1 you can just about see me signalling and manoeuvring out into a primary position at the point where the painted cycle lane finishes. The big problem is the speed difference between me (a bit under 20mph) and the traffic coming up behind me (40mph ish). It’s not much help to me that the drivers haven’t seen, or have ignored, the 30mph sign, and it’s clear to see how little time there is for the cyclist to pull out and get in front of the traffic.
Once in front of the traffic the cyclist is always fearful that the motorist behind them doesn’t understand why they are obstructing the motor vehicles.
Video 2 shows what can happen if you don’t pull out. Because of the bend in the road, the driver in the car coming up behind Adrian couldn’t see/was not aware that the road space was going to narrow sharply. It is only by the grace of God that it wasn’t a wider vehicle, or one pulling a trailer.
These road conditions are not acceptable and are a strong deterrent to getting more people to cycle in Kirklees. There are some solutions such as some road modifications, better signage, some effective measures to reduce traffic speed, or a realistic alternative route for cyclists. If everyone continues to ring their hands and say ‘nothing can be done’ the future looks bleak.
Videos 1 and 2:
An Open Letter to Karl Battersby
Thank you for speaking recently to the Huddersfield Civic Society where you made an excellent presentation on Kirklees plans for a “Huddersfield Blueprint”
On behalf of the Kirklees Cycling Campaign I would like to congratulate you on providing the drive and vision for this project. You have made some important decisions in recognising that a lot of the existing retail in the town centre will inevitably decline over the next few years and that the function and nature of the town centre has to change.
The concept of having a focus on an Arts Centre to build on what already exists in the town is an imaginative leap, but with good planning and an imaginative Arts management team it bodes well for the future. The project to have more people living in, or close to the town centre, will also help to revitalise it.
I am disappointed, however, that you have decided to not to be even more ambitious and restrict, or close off vehicle access to a part of Queensgate, so that there is no longer the formidable barrier for pedestrians of the Ring Road between the University and the rest of the town centre. This would have made the University an integral part of the town, and unify the two constituent parts through the Arts complex.
In your presentation you indicated your concern that this would make problems for traffic flow on the alternative routes. It is well known, however, that traffic engineers and their forecasts are frequently wrong, and it would have been possible, anyway, to trial some experiments before committing to a firm decision.
There is still time for much more extensive research and modelling of other alternatives. One alternative, for example, is to use the remains of the Ring Road as a by-pass around Huddersfield Town Centre.
The Huddersfield Blueprint has tended to focus on the creating or re-use of buildings, places and spaces within the Ring Road and, apart from Cross Church Street, makes very little reference to traffic management; either within the Ring Road, or on the approaches to the town.
These matters have, to some extent, been addressed by the various Kirklees road schemes that have been proposed. For example The ‘smart corridor’ project on Leeds Road, the planned works on the A629, and the Southern Corridors scheme.
Some time ago, when these projects were first announced, I was very optimistic that, as well as fulfilling objectives such as improving traffic flow, they would also include significant cycling infrastructure. This would make a start at encouraging more people, who only have a short journey from their home (less than 5 miles) to leave their cars at home, and use a bike for their journey into the town centre. It is very disappointing that Kirklees has decided not to include any comprehensive cycling infrastructure in many of their Major Road Schemes.
It is true that The Leeds Road scheme includes good cycling infrastructure from the Railway Station and across the Ring Road at Southgate. But the Kirklees Cycling Campaign requested that this be continued on to Bradley, by surfacing the Huddersfield Broad Canal towpath to Red Doles Lane. This request, however, has been ignored and what remains is cycling infrastructure along the rest of Leeds Road that is “sometime there and sometimes not”. As it stands this project is likely to increase car use, and to have little effect on increasing the numbers of people cycling.
I fully recognise that there are, of course, significant projects to encourage more cycling in Kirklees. For example, the council is to be congratulated for finally making progress, after many years, towards establishing a cycle route between Bradley and Brighouse. I am also optimistic about the two “QuietWay” routes that are planned on either side of the A629.
The A629 is used by many HGV’s and has a limited width. This makes the overtaking of cyclists potentially very dangerous, particularly northbound, where there is a gradual incline. As well as making a through route from Huddersfield to Halifax, the “Quietway” routes give the opportunity to local people to use a bike for their short journeys to school or to the shops and services. It will also make the residential areas through which they run, less dominated by the motor vehicle and make a better environment for pedestrians as well as cyclists.
It is important to state, however, that this scheme will only be successful if the council is fully committed to the Dutch principals of “Quietways” where cyclists have priority on the carriageway and motorists are “guests”. If the council allows itself to give way to opposition pressure, and makes compromises, then the scheme will be a pointless exercise.
The recently announced proposal to construct a protected segregated cycle route from Waterloo alongside the Wakefield Road, and into Huddersfield Town Centre, is the one route that makes a coherent and continuous route into the town. This is no doubt due to it’s being the first part of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) that Kirklees has been required to implement by central government.
Many more routes, such as this, are required if Kirklees is going to get more people to make fewer journeys by car, and more journeys by bike. Yet this excellent planned route has no current finance to start implementation. The cost of this scheme in comparison with the various Kirklees road schemes is tiny, and we would urge you to seek out sources of funding for the project.
Up to now there seems to have been a fundamental misunderstanding by council officers and politicians as to the reasons why they should be constructing good cycling infrastructure. It seems to have been viewed by the council as something akin to a “charitable act”. They would very much like do something to make cyclists happy if they had the money. As they didn’t have the money then the best they could do was to make some of the wider pavements shared-used with pedestrians. This, as they saw it, was the best they could do because there were so few cyclists using our roads that financing anything substantial couldn’t be justified. This is to miss the point as to why Kirklees should be developing high quality safe routes to cycle.
Although it will make life better for current cyclists, the important point to bear in mind, is that it will encourage more people to cycle more often, and reduce the need for us to use our motor vehicles so frequently.
We currently have a world climate change emergency. We have a British Government climate change objective of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Amongst other things this means that, by this date, we will all need to be driving 50% less. What then is the justification for Kirklees to encourage more people to drive, rather than starting to facilitate alternative ways to travel?
Despite the health benefits of active travel, despite the proven economic advantages of developing good cycling infrastructure, the current Kirklees road projects seem to indicate that Kirklees is not yet up to speed in its future planning.
If Kirklees is to get more people cycling, then there is a desperate need to construct good links that enable cyclists to get into the town centres from the existing and proposed cycling routes. Here is just one example of what needs to be done:
By this time next year the Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath will be surfaced as far as Slaithwaite. It has the potential to make an excellent cycling commuter route from many Colne Valley settlements, but, at the moment, it finishes short of Huddersfield Town Centre. There is a desperate need to construct a safe link from Chapel Hill where it currently ends or from Longroyd Bridge. The Southern Corridors project was an excellent opportunity to secure funding for this project, but no one in Kirklees Council was listening to the Kirklees Cycling Campaign (KCC). KCC has long proposed that a segregated protected cycle route be constructed from Longroyd Bridge to the Underpass at the Leisure Centre, and from there, we have requested a straightforward permeable route in both directions to and from the Railway Station.
This is proposed as a workable option but KCC are open to any other good alternatives. What is important is, that without a good link into the town centre, the use of the HNC route will not achieve its potential. People from the Colne Valley will continue to use their cars, because this will continue to be the most advantageous means of transport for them. If, on the other hand, there was a continuous safe route right into the town centre; making it only a 20 minute bike journey from Slaithwaite to the Railway Station; there would be many who would forsake their car and use a bike instead.
I hope that, in this letter, I might have persuaded you to realise the important role that cycling could play in a Kirklees transport strategy. If cycling could become a normal everyday means of transport for many, rather than a peripheral activity of the few, it could make a significant contribution in helping to make a better road network for everyone, and it could help to address many other important issues in our society. It just needs the drive and knowledge of how to go about it, the financial investment, and the political will.
Kirklees Cycling Campaign would very much like to have the opportunity of meeting with you and your team to discuss this further. The contents in this letter are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and we would like to help start the process of developing a coherent and comprehensive cycling plan for Huddersfield and the rest of Kirklees.
– chair Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Newsletter No. 33 (Sept 2019)
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest newsletter from Kirklees Cycling Campaign. Investment and statistics seem to be the themes running through this edition.
John Lewis – Chair KCC
Utrecht Railway Station:
A couple of years ago the New Mill Choir cycling buddies made a trip to Utrecht to see the TDF Grand Depart, and whilst there noticed a lot of building going on around the station.
This building work has now been completed and has materialised into a cycle park for 1200 (yes 1200!) bikes. More about this extraordinary complex can be found on the following link:
Many thanks to Rob and Steve for letting us see this.
The Future of Travel in Kirklees:
This was the subject of a recent Huddersfield Civic Society talk given by Dr Greg Marsden, from the Institute of Transport Studies at University of Leeds.
Below are a few statements from the talk that I scribbled down:
- Even allowing for full electrification, there will have to be 50% less vehicle driving if the UK is to meet it’s stated obligation of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- There are now 10% fewer car journeys than there were in the year 2000.
- The only age group travelling more in their cars are the over 60’s.
- Traffic growth is not synonymous with economic growth.
- There are more people working, but fewer commutes.
- There are currently less cars using the same amount of road space.
Together with the Government’s Climate Change obligations it all seems to add up to a strong case for more road space being given over to cycling, and a rethink of many of the current transport projects in the pipeline over West Yorkshire.
The Economic Arguments for investing in Cycling and Walking:
It’s pretty clear from the evidence, that the Cycling Lobby have, so far, not managed to convince Governments and Local Councils in the UK to spend substantially more on cycling.
I, myself, have an abiding memory of talking to an influential member of the Kirklees Highways team a couple of years ago. He didn’t know of any economic arguments to promote cycling infrastructure, and asked me to provide him with the evidence.
Most government projects have a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) whereby there is a measured benefit for the amount of investment. HS2, for example, up until recently, had a projected BCR of 2.3:1. In other words £2.3 return in benefit for every £1 invested.
Transport for London (Tfl) have calculated that the average BCR for cycling projects is 13:1. (£13 of benefits for every £1 invested). Below is a list of some of the benefits cited by Tfl.
- Cycling contributes £5.4 billion each year to the UK economy.
- Walking and cycling improvements boost the high street and local town centres, and can increase retail spend by up to 30%.
- Over a month, people who walk to the high street spend up to 40% more than people who drive there.
- And abroad – sales tax revenue rose by two thirds in Los Angeles after cycle lanes were built, and there were larger increases in retail sales in New York on streets with dedicated cycle lanes.
- Employees who cycle take on average 1.3 fewer sick days each year than those who don’t – worth £128 million to the national economy.
- In London alone, if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes each day, that would save the NHS £1.7billion in treatment costs over 25 years.
Newsletter No. 32 (August 2019)
Hello everyone and welcome to Newsletter 32 from Kirklees Cycling Campaign.
For the few that don’t already know, the proposals for Holmfirth, drawn up by Kirklees Council, have been roundly rejected in the consultation process. The plans have now been scrapped.
This is not to say that all is well in Holmfirth. It’s geography results in it being a cross-pennine route for a lot of HGV’s that are held up in the town centre. This, and the continual increase in new housing, without a sufficient transport network in place, is creating an ever worsening environment in which to walk and cycle. What is clear though, is that these problems will not be solved by tearing out the heart of the town centre.
It should not be left solely to Highways Engineers to work out solutions to urban traffic problems. Highways Engineers tend not to have communities at the top of their agenda.
Huddersfield Station Bike Parking :
Regular users will be aware that the old “toast racks”, used for bike parking on the platform for many years, have been removed and people wishing to park their bike at the station have to now use the new hub.
It would have been nice to have been consulted about this given that there is a Cycle-Rail Forum who meet with TPEX. As well as being a minor irritant, having to park one’s bike at the end of the platform, there is a concern that ,if the numbers of cyclists using the hub continue to grow, it will not be too long before it reaches capacity and the old “toast racks” or an additional hub will be required.
KCC has written to TPEX about this and is awaiting a reply.
- More on Bike Lanes
- A few Newsletters ago we had an item on non-segregated Cycle Lanes and a YouTube video by Chris Boardman.
- In this edition KCC supporter Heike Vehling has found some more evidence of some of their shortcomings:
Bicycle Lanes Make Cars Pass 40 cm Closer to Cyclists
By Jiri Kaloc
July 18, 2019 at 11:22 am
5 min reading
Scientists from Melbourne studied whether cars give cyclists enough space when passing. They equipped 60 cyclists with a special device called MetreBox that measures the distance of each car passing, and what they found was quite surprising.
The study by researchers at Monash University, which was published in April 2019 in the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal, has been the largest of its kind in the world. They gathered more than 18000 vehicle-passing events from 422 trips.
“We know that vehicles driving closely to cyclists increases how unsafe people feel when riding bikes and acts as a strong barrier to increasing cycling participation,” said Dr Ben Beck, lead author and Monash University’s Deputy Head of Prehospital, Emergency and Trauma Research. Most Australian states and territories have a minimum distance of 1 metre when the speed limit is 60 km/h or less, and 1.5 metres when the speed limit is greater than 60 km/h.
Cars often pass way too close
The researchers found that 1 in every 17 cars came within 1 metre of the travelling cyclist and, alarmingly, 124 cars came within less than 60 cm. In higher speed zones, with speed greater than 60 km/h, roughly one in 3 passing events was a ‘close’ pass of less than 150 cm. There were approximately 1.7 passing events of less than 100 cm for every 10 km travelled on a bike!
Why do cars give less space than they should?
Research findings suggest that marked on-road bicycle lanes, particularly alongside parked cars, are not the optimal solution for protecting cyclists. Passing events that occurred on a road with a bicycle lane and a parked car had an average passing distance that was 40 cm smaller than a road without a bicycle lane or a parked car.
“Our results demonstrate that a single stripe of white paint is not sufficient to protect people who ride bikes. In situations where the cyclist is in the same lane as the motorist, the driver is required to perform an overtaking manoeuvre. Whereas in situations where the cyclist is in a marked bicycle lane, the motorist has a clear lane ahead and not required to overtake. As a result, we believe that there is less of a conscious requirement for drivers to provide additional passing distance.”
A physical barrier is needed to separate cars and cyclists
Previous studies by Dr Beck showed that the number of cyclists admitted to hospital with serious traumas from road crashes has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and that 22% of all on-road bicycle crashes occur while the cyclist is riding in a marked on-road bicycle lane. Dr Beck suggests that in order to improve safety and increase cycling participation, far greater investment is clearly needed in providing infrastructure that separates cyclists from motor vehicles by a physical barrier.
Written by: Jiri Kaloc
The integration and importance of cycling, within the larger transport framework in our local environment, is an important component for the existence of KCC.
There are two forthcoming Huddersfield Civic Society talks where it will be interesting to hear whether the speakers share this concept.
On Tuesday September 3rd – Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at Leeds University will be speaking on “The Future of Travel in Kirklees”.
Tuesday October 1st – Karl Battersby, Kirklees Council Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure will be elaborating on – “The Huddersfield Town Centre Blueprint”
both talks are at 7.30 pm in the Huddersfield Town Hall reception Room. For further details see the Events section of the Huddersfield Civic Society website.
Chair – Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Kirklees Cycling Campaign Open Response to Cross Church Street and Queensgate proposals
In general Kirklees Council is to be commended for the proposals. They are a positive step toward developing safe and practical cycling routes through Huddersfield Town Centre.
It marks the start of the process of creating an environment where cycling is seen to be encouraged. If the process continues, it will result in a rise in the numbers of people using bikes in the town centre. When more people experience the advantages of using a bike there will be a comparable reduction in the numbers of motor vehicles.
This will invigorate the town centre and have benefits for us all.
Notwithstanding the above, we list below a number of examples where believe the plans could be improved, and/or require further consideration.
These are as follows:
Town Free Bus Route:
Although the re-designing of Cross Church Street makes it difficult for the bus route to continue as it does now, there is the possibility of routing it via King Street and Zetland Street. It could then continue on the new route via Shorehead before reaching Lord Street .
This would make it much more convenient ,for people of limited mobility, to access the main entrance of the Kingsgate Centre, the proposed cinema in King Street and the many places to eat and socialise in this part of the town.
Queen Street/Queensgate Junction:
A solution needs to be found, for a safe and efficient exit, for cyclists wishing to turn right out of Queen Street to access the shared space and cycle track along Queensgate.
The present plans contain ambiguity. Limited sight time prevents the cyclist from always knowing whether a motor vehicle is about to enter Queen Street from Queensgate at the same time as the cyclist is crossing motor vehicle’s path.
Zetland Street/Queensgate Junction:
Cyclists emerging from Zetland Street need to be able to, safely and efficiently, access the University Main Entrance.
Conversely, cyclists exiting the University main entrance, on the proposed Queensgate toucan crossing, need to be able to make a direct entrance into Zetland Street, without being held up, at the same time, by pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Zetland Street toucan.
Existing Toucan Crossing of Queensgate near Page Street:
This crossing is a very frustrating one for cyclists and pedestrians and it is not fit for purpose in a climate that purports to encourage more cycling and walking.
It is two-staged that result two long waits for people and it has a very restricted waiting island that cannot comfortably accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians.
The proposed one-stage crossings of Queensgate at Queen Street and Zetland Street give the council the opportunity to improve this existing toucan crossing. If its phases were synchronised with these other two it would be possible to have a one-stage crossing here at Page Street and would make a much more comfortable crossing experience for all users.
There is a very limited amount of cycle parking in Huddersfield Town Centre. Some time ago Kirklees Highways made plan of sites where cycle stands would be installed and this plan needs to be looked at to see if it is still relevant. With regard to the Cross Church Street and Queensgate improvements, cycle parking needs to be distributed around this specific area with particular attention being made to parking that is convenient to the Kingsgate Shopping Centre.
John Lewis – chair
Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Newsletter No. 31 (July 2019)
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest newsletter from Kirklees Cycling Campaign.
In recent years there seemed to be general agreement among most Kirklees councillors and officers that, although cycling was to be encouraged, it could only be financed if nothing else got in the way. The problem was that the pressure to make more space for motor vehicles almost always did get in the way, and apart from painting a few (usually useless) white lines on the road, and forcing pedestrians to share their footway with cyclists, very little was done to make cycling a safer and more practical means of transport.
2019 seems to have changed all this. There has been a national awareness of climate change, the dangers of air pollution are constant national news items, and the future of transport is being radically rethought.
In the wake of this Kirklees Council seems to have suddenly come around to the idea of giving more priority for plans to encourage more cycling, and they seem to have accepted that finance allocated for transport can legitimately be used for cycling. We all await to see if the promises can materialise into making Kirklees a better place in which to cycle.
During the next decade a large area between Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury is due to be developed for up to 4000 houses. Up until now, local large scale housing developments have displayed a depressing lack of comprehensive planning. Little or no consideration has been given to the impact of the new householders using a motor vehicle for commuting, school runs, shopping and leisure activities in the local area. It has been the norm for the housing plans to be developed first, and then to leave transport and highway considerations until the housing is built.
The GoDewsbury community group has been doing a lot of work, at this early stage, to highlight, to the council, the sustainable transport opportunities for this major housing development at Dewsbury Riverside. They have identified many opportunities for cycle routes between the proposed housing and the Dewsbury centre and Railway Station. There is also potential for these new routes to link up with the existing ones such as the Calder Valley and Spen Valley Greenways. If these were developed they would make many short journeys by bike a better alternative to using the car as well as considerably increasing the opportunities for leisure cycling.
To make this happen though, the routes have to be established first – before par-celling out the plots for the housing. The house builders then have a realistic opportunity of designing their developments to fit in with the transport connections.
GoDewsbury has written two papers on their ideas and sent them to Officers and Cabinet. They can be seen on the following link:
New Cultural Centre for Huddersfield?
Plans have recently been made public for redeveloping the Piazza Cen-tre into a new cultural centre. The artist’s impressions look impressive, but they seem to overlook the elephant in the room which is the Queensgate section of the Huddersfield Ring Road. The four lanes of highway that is Queensgate make it a barrier rather than a gate for cy-clists and pedestrians who want to cross it and until it is re-thought the University and canal will never be fully integrated with the rest of the town.
As a possible solution, how about forgetting the concept a Ring Road al-together and just having a By-Pass using Castlegate and Southgate? Trafalgar Square was transformed some years ago using the same principle.
Consultation is currently open for the cultural hub and many other projects in Huddersfield Town Centre. Details can be found on this link:
The consultation also includes quite a lot of cycling proposals among which is the plan to have two-way cycling along Cross Church Street.
This would be a major improvement for cyclists. It would allow greater permeability through the town centre and free the major blockage on the route to the Holme Valley from the Railway Station.
Plea For Help!
Kirklees Cycling Campaign desperately needs some help to manage and develop its website. If anyone reading this has some website experience and would be willing to help in any way, please get in touch, either directly to me by email, or via the ‘contact us’ section on the KCC website.
– John Lewis (KCC Chair)
Newsletter No. 30 (June 2019)
Welcome everyone to the KCC Newsletter. The content of this edition is thanks to the contributions of two of our supporters.
- Bill Hunter has long been pressing for a long time for movement on extending the Meltham Greenway. He has codified the current situation in a ‘position statement’ that has been endorsed by KCC. Along with Sustrans and some local councillors, we will be pressing Kirklees to take this project down from a very dusty shelf and give it some attention.
- Catherine Higgins has been looking at the amazing floating roundabout for cyclists in Eindhoven and has been asking Thelma Walker MP why can’t it be done here.
Position Statement – Meltham Greenway
The Meltham Greenway was proposed many years ago as a railway path on the former Meltham branch line between Lockwood, where it diverged from the Penistone line, to Meltham. It is supported by Kirklees Council and is shown as a proposal in the Local Plan.
It conveniently divides into several sections;
- Station Road Meltham to Huddersfield Road Meltham Mills – approx.1.3km
This section was cleared and surfaced some years ago thanks to an initiative by the Friends of Meltham Greenway. It is well used and widely supported within the community. It is fully accessible from each end and from intermediate points, some on foot only.
- Meltham Mills to Healey House (Crosland Factory Lane) – approx. 1km
This is part embankment, part in cutting. It is in two private ownerships and it is understood that one is supportive of the Greenway whilst the other is opposed. Intermediate access is possible from about halfway along on Meltham Road.
- Healey House to Netherton Fold – approx. 1.1km
This section is also in two ownerships. Kirklees Council owns from Crosland Factory Lane to a bridge over a public footpath and the remainder, to the Netherton tunnel entrance and Netherton Fold is owned by a local farmer. The Council has recently undertaken work to improve the access from Crosland Factory Lane and has constructed a surfaced path to the limit of its ownership.
There are now good prospects for opening up the whole of this section thanks to recent adjacent residential development at Healey House which has provided section 106 funding of £42k, and a proposed development of 23 dwellings at Fold Farm, Netherton Fold, with outline approval, appropriate planning conditions and a section 106 obligations to secure access and a contribution of £58k.
This section will enable residents of Healey House and employees at the adjacent business park to walk or cycle the 1km or so directly to Netherton and its schools, shops and health centre, without using the main Huddersfield Road.
- Netherton Fold to Nether Moor Road approx 0.7km
This section includes the 300 metre Netherton Tunnel. Restoration appears to be readily achievable, subject to the condition of the tunnel and agreement of the (unknown) owner(s). There is a good link from Nether Moor Road to the railway.
- Nether Moor Road to Beaumont Park – approx 0.6km
This section includes the 400 metre Butternab Tunnel, which is privately owned by one of the residents of Butternab Ridge, a residential development constructed on the former railway alignment. It is thought that the owner uses the tunnel for domestic/recreation purposes. A diversion will be required to bypass this major obstruction.
- Beaumont Park – approx 1.3km
The park occupies a steep hillside between Meltham Road and Beaumont Park Road. The railway emerges from Butternab Tunnel into a deep cutting towards the lower area of the park. The cutting gradually emerges to a point where the uphill side is steep or vertical but the downhill side slopes gently down to Lockwood Cemetery and Meltham Road before the downhill side steepens again. The line has been cleared of vegetation and the surface improved by the Friends of Beaumont Park and is easily accessible to walkers, mountain bike riders and equestrian users. from Meltham Road. Access directly from the main area of the park, above the railway is much more difficult, by steep flights of steps or a rough path from Butternab Road, over the tunnel entrance and along the top of the cutting. This path could however be improved.
Linking the sections
An at grade, possibly signalised crossing of Meltham Road at Meltham Mills, with appropriate signage and speed reduction measures should connect sections 1 and 2.
The railway bridge over Crosland Factory Lane was removed many years ago; only the abutments remain. An at grade road crossing is acceptable here, requiring a ramp down from the railway embankment on the Meltham side. Access towards Netherton Fold has recently been improved by Kirklees Council, see earlier.
A Possible Diversion
A good link to Butternab Road and Meltham Road could be achieved if access to a short length of private road was made available from Nether Moor Road. A safe crossing of Meltham Road would enable access to Armitage Road and Dean Brook Road. From here the existing track adjacent to the cricket club and Park Valley Business Park can be utilised, subject to widening where required and surfacing. This track continues to Meltham road, joining the access road to Park Valley Business Park. However, a new river bridge would provide access into Lockwood Park, where existing infrastructure could be utilised, with some new and improved path construction, exiting via Brewery Drive to Bridge Street at Lockwood. A short and cycle friendly on-road link to Lockwood Scar and the Lockwood Riverside Path could be created. This would bring the route to Queens Mill Road, Queen Street South, the University, Queensgate and the town centre.
Meltham link paths
In Meltham there is a good opportunity to create a cycle path link from the Broadlands Estate and Helme Lane by completing and improving the surfacing of Mean Lane, which passes under the Greenway, and providing a good quality link to it. The improvement and widening of the path from Helme Lane, where a major residential development is under construction, to Mean Lane, across or round the recreation ground, should also be undertaken.
The Hovenring – Eindhoven
Spectacular New Floating Cycle Roundabout
The bright white 70 meters (230Ft) tall bridge pylon can be seen from far away. Attached to the top are 24 cables that suspend a large bicycle roundabout, 72 meters (236Ft) in diameter, that seems to float over a large new junction for motorized traffic. This roundabout can be found in Eindhoven and it is called Hovenring. The exceptional piece of bicycle infrastructure was built to stand out. It is to be the iconic new landmark that signals ‘you are entering Eindhoven’. At night the slender bike ring is lit from below to further enhance that floating effect.
A new landmark for Eindhoven/Veldhoven and Meerhoven: the Hovenring floating bicycle roundabout.
Thus far this was an extremely large rural roundabout (officially a ‘traffic circle’ because of the right of way arrangements) with separated cycle paths all around it. Google shows us the old situation. Google is getting outdated very quickly, because of all the new infra that is being built in the Netherlands, but as a historic reference it is perfect. Now why did this have to change? It had cycle paths and there were traffic lights to control the flow of traffic. But to the Dutch that is not safe enough any more. Yes, there was separation, but at the places of crossing motorized traffic and cyclists were only separated in time and not in place. When people make mistakes (going through a red light for instance) this could still lead to dangerous situations. The area is full of new housing with a lot of children and especially for those kids cycling to school, the new situation is far better. Now, both types of traffic are completely separated in time and also in place, so cyclists can pass this large junction safely and without stopping.
Google shows us the before situation. An enormous traffic lights controlled roundabout with separated cycle paths all around it.
The roads are very wide –especially for the Netherlands– but that is because this is the main entrance to Eindhoven, Veldhoven and the suburb Meerhoven from the A2, the most important North-South motorway in the Netherlands. Every day 25,000 vehicles pass this junction. The city wanted to emphasize this importance. Eindhoven is considered a brain port and feels it has a leading role in innovation and technology. All those qualities had to be reflected in the high quality design for this new piece of infrastructure: “spectacular in simplicity”.
An aerial picture of the Hovenring bicycle roundabout during construction. (Photo Ronald Otten)
Building such a unique ‘circular bridge’ was more difficult than expected. During construction, early 2012, the cables vibrated much more than they were supposed to in the Dutch winds. Experts recalculated the design specifications and with some modifications and counter weights the cables became much more stable. People questioned why it was necessary to have cyclists go up so high. They feared the gradient of the entrance ramps would be too steep. But the city explained on its website that cyclists have to go up less than it seems, because the junction was constructed below surface level. The gradients are different on all sides, but range from just 1.86% to 3.09%. Well within the standards CROW and other organizations in the Netherlands set. An ultimate test with a mobility scooter proved that even those could take the entrances with ease.
For a long time it was a bit mysterious what this bridge had cost because the amounts were mostly including the whole redesign of the carriage way. IPV Delft now mentions on its website that the “construction costs” of the Hovenring itself were 6.3 million Euros.
If you’d like to learn more about this project this link can get you started:
John Lewis KCC Chair
Newsletter No. 29 May 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to KCC Newsletter No. 29. Last Month we shared some good news. This month there is more…
A Successful AGM:
We managed, in the end, to have a successful AGM. It was preceded by Richard Armitage’s engaging presentation as well as an opportunity at first hand to examine electric cargo bikes being used in some of our towns and cities.
We had a generous number of attendees, well in excess of the quorum required, and we resolved to change the existing constitution to requiring only 10 persons to make a quorum at future AGM’s.
There were also a good number of volunteers to make up the new committee. So KCC can look forward to a year of being an effective pressure group in making Kirklees a better place in which to cycle.
Please remember that the committee will always open to proposals from any supporter who wishes to make a presentation. They only have to contact Bill Hunter (secretary)
to get the item on the committee meeting agenda.
TransPennine Express :
From later on this month are expected to revise its current policy of Bikes on Trains. Confidentiality prevents KCC from giving details of the new policy for the moment but suffice to say that cyclists might find it useful to look out for a public announcement in the next couple of weeks and checking the TPEX website:
Cyclists might also find it useful to make a note of Transpennine’s social media contact details. They are:
Whatsapp: 07812 223336
(KCC will be represented, from now on, on the Cycle-Rail Forum for the North)
Evaluating New Cycle Infrastructure:
Cyclists in Britain are getting acclimatised to a backlash every time a piece of road space is re-allocated in an attempt to increase levels of cycling.
Given the lack of any serious cycle infrastructure to date in Kirklees, there hasn’t been the opportunity for this beast to raise its head. If, however, the current plans in the pipeline materialise we will, almost certainly, have to expect backlash.
Within this context, KCC supporters might find it interesting to read the following blog inThe Guardian
John Lewis – Chair Kirklees Cycling Campaign.
Newsletter No. 28 April 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to KCC Newsletter No. 28. We come bearing ‘Good News’:
Good News 1:
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has won funding from the DFT to develop measures encouraging active travel at Huddersfield and Dewsbury Stations. As we understand it City Connect will be managing the project. A large part of which will involve Cycling and Walking.
Further developments will be transmitted in future KCC Newsletters.
Good News 2:
Some time ago KCC reported that Sustrans had nationally identified a numbers of places where its routes were below its required standard. Among these were the part of NCN 66 which goes through Mirfield.
After a lot of work behind the closed doors of the DFT, Sustrans has now secured £23M funding for these projects. It means, that at last, work can start on a better NCN 66 route through Mirfield.
This now just leaves the ‘missing link’ at Cooper Bridge before the NCN66 can be said to be a continuous route. Plans for this are linked into the Transport Fund road scheme at Cooper Bridge. Kirklees and Calderdale Councils are presently actively engaged in making the cycle route happen and KCC remain optimistic about the outcome.
It’s a 5-day 280 mile supported ride to London from the Spen Valley between 24th to 28th July.
The event celebrates community spirit and raises money for The Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common. It advances the causes Jo Cox championed, is a tribute to her life, her beliefs and the spirit of community that exists throughout the country. The group of cyclists will carry the message of Jo’s maiden speech in the House of Commons when she said, ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’
There are 50 places available for the full ride, or join one leg of the journey.
If you want to respond to them, Consultation for Holmfirth Town Centre Plans ends on 5th April 2019:
Bill Hunter (KCC secretary) has written the KCC response to the plans (attached to email).
Reminder 2 : KCC AGM:
Final Reminder for our AGM on Tuesday 9th April at Cafe Ollo Northumberland Street Huddersfield.
All the details are in last month’s Newsletter (Newsletter No. 27- available on website)
There is, however, a revised agenda to accommodate the proposed motion to change the KCC constitution. The new agenda is attached to the email.
What are cycle lanes for?
The following Chris Boardman youtube video asks the question:
John Lewis – Chair KCC
Kirklees Cycling Campaign
To be held at Cafe Ollo Huddersfield
Tuesday 9th April 2019
- Apologies for absence
- Approval of minutes of previous AGM
- Annual Report from KCC Officers (previously circulated)
- Proposal(s) to amend current constitution
- Election of officers:
Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan – Comment and Alternative Proposals by the Kirklees Cycle Campaign Group
Holmfirth town centre undoubtedly suffers from traffic congestion and delay, and consequent air pollution. Congestion is likely to worsen year on year as more Holme Valley sites are developed for housing following approval of the Local Plan. Air quality is therefore also likely to worsen.
I appreciate that the Council’s proposals are intended to reduce congestion and delays and that the available budget is specifically for such schemes, however I do not believe that the currently proposed preferred option is the best or the right solution for Holmfirth. If implemented it will make the A635 more attractive as an east to west trans Pennine route, therefore attracting more traffic, including more HGVs, through the centre. Indeed I believe, though I have no hard evidence, that HGV traffic through Holmfirth has increased in recent years without any highway improvements.
In time, the increase in traffic will return congestion to present levels and beyond, thus negating any short term traffic benefits of the scheme.
Congestion and near gridlock can occur at any time in the centre of Holmfirth. More often than not it occurs when loading/unloading is taking place on Victoria Street, and HGVs or buses meet in opposite directions, cannot proceed and hold up the rest of the traffic.
Hollowgate should be a quiet road with minimal traffic: it is part of the Holme Valley Riverside Way and could be enhanced as a largely pedestrian environment; instead is increasingly used as a rat run from Station Road to Woodhead Road, including by HGVs, which are unable to negotiate the bend before the bridge, and have to be assisted to reverse back to Victoria Street, with all the consequent disruption. HGV drivers who don’t know the area take this route because the signage at the entrance to Hollowgate is not sufficiently prominent, and I suspect that sa-tnavs may point them in that direction.
In summary the Council and WYCA should not promote a major highway scheme in Holmfirth town centre at this time. Instead measures should be adopted to reduce through traffic which has no business in Holmfirth or the Holme Valley, to improve the town centre environment for the benefit of local residents, businesses, visitors, public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists, and to improve local walking and cycling routes. This approach accords with the Council’s and WYCA’s overall priorities of promoting and supporting sustainable transport, ie. walking, cycling and public transport.
The Council should consider the following actions and measures before committing to a major highway scheme:
- Lobbying, with other local authorities and organisations, for the improvement of the Woodhead trans Pennine route to a limited access dual carriageway standard.
- Working with other local authorities and Highways England to agree a regional and inter regional HGV network, and in the short term, prohibition of HGVs, except for access, on the A635 between New Mill and Woodhead Road Holmfirth.
- Hollowgate to be access only between Rotcher Road and Woodhead Road, with a point closure at Woodhead Road. Clear and appropriate signage should be installed at its junction with Victoria Street.
- Hollowgate to be made pedestrian and cycle friendly, with appropriate surfacing, and with permit parking for residents and businesses.
- Signal controlled crossings at the junction of Victoria Street, Dunford Road and Towngate.
- A 20mph town centre speed limit.
- Demolition of the single storey extension to the Market Hall and greater use of the main building for events and exhibitions. Provision of a step free access from the adjacent car park to Hollowgate.
- Prohibition of loading/unloading on Victoria Street after say 10.00am.
- More long stay and visitor parking at Sands, consequent on the relocation of coach parking to the cattle market, and improvement of the riverside path to Bridge Street to an all weather standard, suitable for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users.
- Extension of the riverside path south of the town centre.
- Develop the Holme Valley Cycle Network, with priority to the Woodhead Road/Huddersfield Road A6024/A616 corridor.
In the longer term, and if, having implemented the above measures, it is determined that a major highway scheme is still needed, consideration should be given to a 2 way link road between Station Road and Huddersfield Road to the north east of Victoria Street. This would not impact on Hollowgate, and would enable Victoria Street to be traffic calmed or pedestrianised.
Bill Hunter, secretary, Kirklees Cycle Campaign
Newsletter No. 27 – March 2019
This newsletter is mainly centred around the forthcoming KCC AGM:
Kirklees Cycling Campaign AGM
7:30 – 8:00pm Tuesday 9th April 2019
At Cafe Ollo – The Media Centre Northumberland Street Huddersfield HD1 1RL
There have been two previous attempts to convene the KCC AGM. Both of these had to be aborted because our current constitution requires 10% of the registered supporters to attend. On both occasions there were less than the 15 attendees required.
The meeting on April 9th will be the third and, possibly, the final attempt to convene the meeting. If there are again insufficient attendees KCC will have to be disbanded.
Listed below are a number of attachments relating to the AGM. These are attached to the email:
- The KCC Annual Report
- The KCC constitution
- The wording of the proposed changes to the constitution
- AGM Agenda
The annual report shows what has been achieved this year and outlines the direction KCC could take in 2019/20. I think that we have the evidence that the promotion of better cycling in Kirklees can be helped by an organisation such as ours, but from time to time, there is a need to prove to decision makers that KCC has support in numbers.
KCC is very grateful to Chas Ball who has kindly offered to combine the ‘Green Drinks’ Meet Up at Cafe Ollo with the KCC AGM.
The theme of the Meet-up is how we can get more people to use a bike as a means of transport, and the programme is as follows:
5:00 – 5:30pm: An opportunity for people to try out an electric bike
5: 30 – 6:30pm Informal chats over drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) bought from the bar. (Please buy something – we are not paying for hiring the cafe or paying the staff).
6:30 – 7:30pm – A 30 minute talk by Richard Armitage followed by questions. Richard an experienced transport professional from Manchester. He is a founder of the European Cycle Logistics Federation and runs bike hire and cycle logistics operations in the city.
7:30 – 8:00pm The KCC AGM
Please try to get to at least some of this programme.
More information regarding the “Meet-up” can be found on the following link:
There is one further important thing to mention of which many supporters will already be aware.
Kirklees Council has announced a major plan affecting the centre of Holmfirth. Consultation on this is taking place until Friday 5th April 2019.
Details of the plans, and how to respond to the consultation are available on this link:
With Best Regards to Everyone and hope to see you at the AGM
John Lewis – Chair
Kirklees Cycling Campaign
To be held at Cafe Ollo Huddersfield
9th April 2019
- Apologies for absence
- Annual Report
- Election of Officers:
Two proposed amendments to the Kirklees Cycling Campaign Constitution.
- The quorum for the AGM will be a minimum of 10 registered supporters
- The quorum for a Special General Meeting will be a minimum of 10 registered supporters
Constitution for Kirklees Cycling Campaign dated 22/11/2017
The name of the group shall be “Kirklees Cycling Campaign”
The aims of the group will be to promote cycling of all kinds in Kirklees
- Registered Supporters
Registration as a supporter is open to anyone who supports the aims of the group. Registration will begin as soon as the person has requested it.
A list of all registered supporters will be kept by the membership secretary. In the absence of a membership secretary the list will be kept by the Secretary of the group.
Ceasing to be a supporter
Registered supporters may resign at any time by writing to the secretary.
Any offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, will not be permitted.
Anyone behaving in an offensive way or breaking the equal opportunities policy may be asked not to attend further meetings, or to resign from the group if an apology is not given or the behaviour is repeated. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the committee, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made.
- Equal Opportunities
The group will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic or naational origin, sexuality, disability, maritial status or age.
- Officers and Committee
The business of the group will be carried out by a committee elected initially at the inaugural meeting and subsequently at the Annual General Meeting. The committee will meet as necessary and not less than four times a year.
The committee will be composed of at least 3 officers. Up to 6 additional members may be co-opted onto the committee at the discretion of the committee.
The officers’ roles are as follows:
Chair, who shall chair both general and committee meetings
Secretary, who shall be responsible for taking of minutes and the distribution of all papers. In the absence of a membership secretary they are responsible for keeping records of members.
Treasurer, who shall be responsible for maintaining accounts.
Membership Secretary, who, if appointed, shall be necessary for keeping records of members.
In the event of an officer standing down during the year a replacement will be elected by the next General Meeting of members.
The committee meetings will be open to any member wishing to attend, who may speak but may not vote
6:1. Annual General Meetings
An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM.
All members will be notified in writing at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting, giving the venue, date and time.
Nominations for the committee may be made to the secretary before the meeting, or at the meeting.
The quorum for the AGM will be 10% of the registered supporters or 10 registered supporters, whichever is the greater number.
At the the AGM:-
- The Committee will present a report of the work of the group over the year.
- The Committee will present the accounts of the group for the previous year.
- The officers and Committee for the next year will be elected.
- Any proposals given to the Secretary at least 7 days in advanced will be discussed.
6:2 Special General Meetings
The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting at the request of the majority of the committee, OR at least five other registered supporters, giving a written request to the Chair or Secretary stating the reason for their request.
The meeting will take place within 1 calendar month of the request.
All registered supporters will be given two weeks notice of such a meeting, giving the venue, date, time and agenda, and notice may be by telephone, email or post.
The quorum for the Special General Meeting will be 10% of the registered supporters or 10 registered supporters, whichever is the greater number.
- Rules of Procedure for Meetings
Registered supporters who wish to raise items for discussion at meetings should notify the Secretary before the date of the meeting.
In the absence of the Chair a temporary Chair will be elected from the floor by those present.
All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement that everyone present can agree to.
If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of registered supporters present. If the number of votes cast on each side are equal, the chair of the meeting shall have an additional casting vote.
In the event of Kirklees Cycling Campaign being in possession of finance:
Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given to each meeting.
If, at any time in the future, there is a balance of more than £100 an account will be opened and maintained on behalf of the Association at a bank agreed by the committee.
Three cheque signatories will be nominated by the committee (one to be the Treasurer). Any two of these must sign every cheque. The signatories must not be related nor members of the same household.
All money raised by or on behalf of Kirklees Cycling Campaign is only to be used to further the aims of the group as specified in item 2 of this constitution.
- Amendments to the Constitution
Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.
Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Secretary in writing. The proposal must then be circulated with the notice of the meeting.
Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote (i.e. registered supporters)
If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down the group, it may call a special General Meeting to do so. The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve the group.
If it is agreed to dissolve the group all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to a local charitable organisation. The organisation to be agreed at the meeting which agrees the dissolution.
This constitution was agreed at the General Meeting of the group on:-
Name and position in group… ………………………….
Newsletter No. 26 (Feb 2019)
Halifax to Huddersfield – A629 Phase 4 Consultation
The concept of Quietways was developed in the Netherlands and has inspired similar routes to being developed in London. They use a mixture of existing quiet streets, parks, and off-road tracks, to make cycle routes that are comfortable and less intimidating for the many people who would cycle but wouldn’t contemplate using many of our local roads. It’s objective is to get more people to get active and using sustainable means of travel.
As part of the A629 road improvements, Kirklees Council has commissioned AECOM to design two “Quietway” routes running parallel on either side of the A629 arterial route between Huddersfield Town Centre and Ainley Top. This being the Kirklees part of the route between Huddersfield and Halifax.
Some months ago KCC were invited to look and comment on the initial plans for the two “Quietway” routes in Kirklees. Two members of the KCC committee spent some time riding and taking notes of the detailed proposals. We were, in general, very positive about the designs but we found some issues that we considered impractical, or not thought through sufficiently. We also suggested alternatives that we thought would improve the routes.
After submitting our responses we heard nothing from Kirklees, and we had fears that much of our work would be unheeded. That was until now.
This week saw the opening of the public consultation process for these plans (A629 phase 4) and it was with some trepidation that I attended the event at the Cedar Hotel Ainley Top. On looking at the plans though, I found, to my utter surprise, that a great many of our suggestions had been accepted, and most those that hadn’t, were rejected because better solutions had been found.
This really is all very encouraging, and something of a step change for the council. If the plans go ahead, and get the approval of cabinet, Huddersfield will have it’s first two well-designed “Quietways” and provide models for further opportunities throughout Kirklees.
Of course it is not perfect yet; there are still lots snaggings to address and improvements to suggest, so please try to give some time to look at the plans and make your comments. None of us by ourselves can spot every potential problem, but the more people that see them and question the designers, the more chance there is that future shortcomings will be avoided.
You can either talk to the AECOM representatives present at a consultation event, or use the opportunity to go online to see and respond to the plans.
The consultation dates, and how to respond online are on this link:
See our plans and feedback online at:
An important date for your diary:
Kirklees Cycling Campaign will hold it’s AGM on Tuesday April 9th.
There will more information in next month’s newsletter, but in the meantime, please put this important date in your diaries and ical’s.
With best wishes to everyone
John Lewis – chair Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Newsletter No 25 January 2019
Cycle Routes for Huddersfield Town Centre
Anyone who has ever tried to cycle through Huddersfield Town Centre will be aware that it is not very cycle friendly. Not only does the cyclist have to find a way to cross the Ring Road to enter the town, but once inside, a plethora of one-way or pedestrianised streets with No Entry signs frequently prevents the cyclist from making simple point to point journeys.
This is a great pity because it could be a place where commuting or shopping with a bike could be a better alternative, for many, than using the car or public transport. It could also be the natural route through which one travelled when journeying from locations on either side of the town centre. At present most cyclists use routes by-passing it.
A combination of some astute traffic management and the making it easier to cross the ring road would do much to transform the town centre for cyclists.
Just one example, of something that could be done, is to allow cyclists to contraflow against one-way traffic; A great many European towns allow this; often without the need for special contraflow lanes.
Because of the current difficulties a great many local cyclists don’t realise that it can STILL be advantageous to use a bike to travel through the town centre. It a matter of getting to know what is, and is not, possible. This is a major reason for the describing the routes in detail.
The HUDDERSFIELD CYCLE MAP has nine routes that criss-cross the town centre. They don’t include every road that a cyclist can use but they provide a network for individuals to tap into from their own personal routes from further afield.
Each route is colour coded on the map, and there are interchange points along each route which will hopefully enable cyclists to begin to make up their own town centre routes.
There are descriptions of each route, together with any problems that are likely to be encountered and how they might be overcome (both now and in the longer term).
Practically every route has imperfections but most also have some kind of immediate solution. (Albeit that, at times, there is a degree of anarchy in overcoming some of the current problems).
Not all routes will suit all cyclists, some will prefer to stick to obvious main routes while others will be happy using a ‘snicket’ or a ‘cut-through’.
In general cycling on footways is proposed only when really necessary and always for only very short stretches. When riding on footways it’s important to have the mindset that pedestrians always have priority. In time, and with continual pressure and lobbying, it is hoped that cyclists will have better options, and cycling on footways will be a thing of the past.
FINALLY: It is NOT recommended to try to understand the route descriptions all ‘in one go’. If one makes a print of the Map one can use it in combination with the ‘route descriptions’ at anytime when they might be useful.
This route has two ways of getting to Birkby:
- via John William St and St Johns Rd
- by climbing up Fitzwilliam St to Besançon Bridge and going off-road through Highfields and past Edgerton Cemetery to Blacker Road.
If you don’t mind crossing the ring road there are also number of alternative routes to Highfelds from the Cambridge Rd car park.
(i) crossing Ring Road at St Johns Road; particularly on inbound where it is sometimes difficult to get in front of the traffic queues without resorting to mounting the footway to do so.
(ii) Accessing the footbridge over ring road slip road to Highfields has to be done by illegally riding on Besançon Bridge footway. Great care is also required in crossing Fitzwilliam St at Brook St to access the footway. Oncoming traffic rarely signal that they are going to enter Fitzwilliam St.
This route uses Northumberland St, crosses the Ring Road to A62 Leeds Rd which heads out towards Cooper Bridge. Just past the Northern Retail Park there is an access point to the Broad Canal Towpath if you prefer not to continue along Leeds Road. The Towpath route connects with NCN69 at Red Doles Lane or, if you wish to remain on it, will eventually get you to Cooper Bridge.
Currently the inbound Leeds Rd/Ring Road crossing is very hazardous if one doesn’t use the pedestrian crossing. The canal towpath is unsurfaced and on the inbound route there is a need to resolve the issue of how to cross A62 Leeds Rd.
Cycle lanes throughout the length of Leeds Rd disappear from time to time and traffic on can sometimes be heavy on restricted sections.
BUT The current plans for Leeds Road will hopefully eliminate/minimise many of the current difficulties.
Where possible, this uses the Canal Towpaths of the Huddersfield Narrow and the Huddersfield Broad. Where not, Firth St and Colne Rd are used. Some cyclists will prefer to use parts of St Andrews Road and Firth Street which are very close to this route.
There are two major impassable points
- At Apsley Marina and
- Where the Huddersfield Narrow Canal goes into a towpathless tunnel under Bates Mill between Queen St South and Chapel Hill.
This means that one has to decide
- How to cross Wakefield Road: i.e on the carriageway with the other traffic, or using awkward pedestrian crossings, and
- Where to come off the canal (if one is still on it) and join Firth St.
There is also an unfriendly one-way system to negotiate at the bottom of Queen St South.
Kirklees Highways have got signs along Colne Road indicating shared-use cycling along the footway. It has been pointed out (though fallen on deaf ears) that to use this ‘facility’ could be dangerous when riding at a speed greater than 5mph. because there are many HGV exiting points that are ‘blind’ along this stretch.
Therefore, It is usually safer and more convenient to use the existing carriageway.
There is also some very peculiar and confusing “cycling infrastructure” at the southern end of Queen St South. Although intended to be helpful, it was installed without any consultation.
Much of the problem in this area arises from Kirklees wanting to spend only minimum finance on the cycling infrastructure as well as not wanting to seem to inconvenience motor traffic.
There is also a need to devise some helpful cyclists’ routes in this area around the zebra crossings and footbridge.
This is a direct east-west route through the town and uses the ‘heritage’ Turnbrige to access St Andrews Road.
Wakefield Road can be easily reached directly on the outward route by using the Ring Road near Sainsburys, but on the inbound ,the Turnbridge route allows one to avoid negotiating the Shorehead roundabout.
Generally speaking the Kirkgate Eastbound is straightforward until Beastgate where there is no obvious direct access to the Ring Road. Here (currently) a little bit of anarchy is required by riding onto the triangular traffic island and then continuing down Kirkgate to the Ring Road and turning right.
The Westbound route from Wakefield Rd is ok via St Andrews Rd or the canal towpath as far as Turnbridge. Beyond this there are a number of points to negotiate:
- Coming onto to Ring Road footway from Old Leeds Rd there are “cyclist dismount” signs.
- The controlled Ring Road crossing is not a toucan and the footway nearby is not signed as shared-use (why not? given that it’s a signed cycle route)
- The Beast Market traffic lights have to be ignored and the traffic island at the top of Beast Market has to be mounted to reach Kirkgate.
- Kirkgate is the main route for most of the buses arriving or going through the town. At busy times this causes problems for cyclists at traffic lights – particularly at the junction of Henry St where one or two buses wait for some time to regulate timetables and many others are aiming to turn left to access the bus station. There is often no obvious place for a cyclist to safely position themselves at the lights, and they are subject to breathing into their lungs copious amounts of diesel fumes.
This is the one for destinations to the south of the town. It also makes a good link to the university campus.
At the moment it only works as a one-way route inbound because Cross Church St is northbound only. It is possible to ride with caution southbound but usually not without some ‘helpful’ person telling you that you’re riding in the wrong direction on a one-way street. At present the only other alternatives for the southbound route are to:
(a) Ride along Oldgate and the Ring Road pavement from the bottom of Kirkgate
(b) Use Route 6 past the Bus Station and then follow Route 7 eastbound.
(c) Illegally use one of the pedestrianised routes such as New St to link to Route 7.
- Byram St, for the most part, is one-way northbound so this is fine on the inbound if one rides to Northumberland St and then ignore the no left sign to reach the station.
Coming from the station it’s more convenient to go via John William St, turn left at St Peter’s St (past Cafe Evolution) and then right into Byram St to Kirkgate.
- Ring Road Crossings: There’s a lot of work to be done on the crossing points before they can be said to be satisfactory. Here are the main options:
(a) Use the signed route out of Queen St (making sure to turn early before the dodgy right turn box with cycle markings) to the cycle lane leading to the Toucan crossing. This is a very frustrating and laborious one for cyclists – a crossing in two phases and with a very tight space on the centre refuge.
(b) Use the Market St car park (there’s an pedestrian entrance near the toucan crossing) and use the car route under the ring road to Queen St South.
(c) Use the crossing point outside of the university main entrance from Zetland St. Traffic is signed to go right or left but if you position yourself sensibly you can safely reach the University and continue your journey from there.
The crossing from the university take a little more thought. It’s best if you head straight for Zetland St rather than use the pedestrian crossing which get very crowded with staff and students. One has to use the signal when the pedestrians have the green but ride a line parallel to the actual crossing so as not to get tangled up with the students. One cannot ride across without a pause at the moment because the crossing is in two phases. One has to wait for two or three seconds in the middle of the ring road (protected by the refuge) before getting the green to continue to Zetland St.
This route makes a fairly direct beeline from the canal towpath at Longroyd Bridge and up Outcote Bank to the Ring Road where – at the moment – it crosses at the underpass near the leisure centre. There is, however, potential to improve this. It then takes a direct line down Market St to the station.
The route is part of an important spine running through the town centre that links up with Route 2 and thus connects the two Greenways to the north and south of the town.
PROBLEMS: at present there are a great many.
The major one. Currently this route can only be cycled northbound!
Required northbound improvements:
To make it a route that ALL cyclists can use. A big improvement would be to have a small bridge over the canal. This would ideally be sited at the bottom of Outcote Bank by the new student housing. It would then by-pass the road route at Longroyd Bridge and Manchester Rd.
Other improvements required would be protected cycle lanes on Outcote Bank and an improved ring road crossing.
The current traffic management on either side of the ring road make it totally unrealistic for a cyclist to retrace the northbound route in the opposite direction. An entirely unsatisfactory situation. The route map shows a suggested southbound route that gives access to the canal towpath at Chapel Hill. This involves using the outward route via Station St, Half Moon St and past the bus station. It finishes up using the ring road traffic lights to turn right into Chapel Hill; something that not all cyclists will be happy to do. There are other alternatives but none of them satisfactory. Until this problem is tackled seriously it’s a case of individuals trying different routes and choosing the one that best suits.
In the next few years it is imperative that Kirklees Council can be convinced that it is important enough to finance and construct a viable southbound route. Without this, the developing off-road canal route up the Colne Valley to Marsden is isolated and without a connection from Huddersfield Town Centre.
Starting at the University Campus the route uses the car park underpass at Queensgate.
At the present time one has to choose as to whether to use the steps, used by pedestrians, to carry the bike up to Alfred St or to use the route cars take to exit further along Alfred St. The one-way system around the town hall is then taken, and after that, a left turn takes one along the contraflow cycle lane up High St to the Leisure Centre underpass.
On the west side of the underpass one needs to head across the Springwood car park for Back Cecil Street. A left turn from here into Park Avenue leads one to Greenhead Park.
On the inbound route many cyclists will prefer to avoid the underpass by using Merton St and crossing the ring road ‘at grade’. This is not a difficult crossing – it is downhill – but some Advanced Stop Lines would be helpful.
- A decent entrance to and an exit from the Queensgate car park are required. We are being told that the car park will shortly be coming to the end of it’s life and the site will be due for redevelopment. It is imperative that the route under the ring road is maintained and developed as a cycle route.
- The underpass at the Leisure Centre has a number of blind turnings and is not ideal as a shared route. It works at the moment because it is not heavily used. Were cycling numbers to increase significantly there could be a need to make a better route.
- After exiting the underpass and entering Springwood car park a clear direct route with dropped curbs needs to be constructed. There is a need for further dropped curbs between Water St and Rifle Fields. These inexpensive measures would transform this route.
- A few dropped curbs are necessary to make for easier cycling on the University Campus.
This important entry to and exit from the town is fraught with difficulty for the cyclist.
On turning right when exiting the station one initially contraflows past the Head of Steam and then up St Georges St. Arriving at Kirkgate a decision has to be made. Ideally one would go straight across through the gap in the middle of the road, and position oneself at the traffic lights ready to cross into Trinity St. However, there are frequently difficulties for the cyclist who chooses to do this. (See notes on Route 4)
There are often one or two buses parked here for some time which makes space difficult for traffic that needs to negotiate the lights. This is a main route for buses coming though the town and entering the bus station, and the cyclist has no clear place in which to wait to avoid the left turning traffic and traffic heading straight for the ring road.
Given given these difficulties some cyclists dismount and cross on one the pedestrian crossings to reach Trinity St, whilst others turn right at the top of St Georges St onto the footway and ride to the traffic lights on New North Parade. These lights give the cyclist just about enough time to safely get up to the ring road before the Kirkgate traffic gets their ‘green’. The only safe place to wait at the ring road traffic lights is to be on the inside lane in front of all traffic.
Once over the lights at the ring road there is the option to turn left into Greenhead Rd. Those preferring to carry straight on on this uphill section are
- vulnerable to ‘right hooks’ from traffic turning into Greenhead Rd and
- lulled into a sense of false security by the cycle lane that goes past the restaurants and take-aways. Most of the cycle lane is usually occupied by parked vehicles which can come and go unexpectedly.
The inbound route is much easier but the cycle lane leading to the ASL is minimum width, and sometimes wide vehicles make it dangerous for cyclists to attempt to reach the front of the queue.
There has long been a need to have a safe and efficient crossing of the ring road for cyclists using Trinity Street.
This is essentially a short direct link route for cyclists who prefer to use the pedestrian crossing at Shorehead roundabout rather than using route 4. It uses the wide Ring Road footway and the quiet Oldgate.
The 2 phase crossing which is a pedestrian and not a toucan. If coming from Oldgate there are further frustrating crossings to get on to the left hand side of Wakefield Rd.