Immediate changes to create a greener and more active Kirklees

We have revealed immediate changes we’re making to Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Centres to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Government wants to reduce the amount of people relying on public transport and cars so has made £2billion available to support projects such as cycle and walking routes via the Active Travel fund.

Using some of its allocation of this money, Kirklees Council will be making some changes straight away in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

As part of its priority to tackle the Climate Emergency, Kirklees Council is throwing its weight behind these types of initiatives.

The use of public transport and motor vehicles in Kirklees has substantially reduced during the coronavirus pandemic. The effects of these changes can already be seen with roads clearer and a notable reduction in air pollution and the council is keen to build on this beyond the current lockdown period.

Huddersfield Town Centre

Within the next three-four weeks a cycle route through Huddersfield Town Centre will be in operation, through the temporary pedestrianisation of a number of roads.

A number of streets will allow access for cyclists and pedestrians only including; Firth Street between Wakefield Road and Colne Road, Cross Church Street, Church Street, Wood Street, Byram Street and Market Place.

Northumberland Street (between Lord Street and John William Street) will become one-way (eastbound) to allow cycles to travel eastbound.

John William Street will be narrowed to one lane and parking bays will be coned-off. Temporarily to provide parking for disabled drivers and taxis.

New cycle lanes will be introduced at St Johns Road in both directions from Fitzwilliam Street to the Ring Road. There wil also be a new cycle lane at Colne Road along the southern section of gyratory.

Signage will be installed to help make cyclists, pedestrians and drivers aware of the temporary changes.

There is also plans to introduce a cycle parking zone and an e-scooter hire facility to St George’s Square.

Dewsbury

A number of changes are also set to take place in Dewsbury Town Centre.

There will be a temporary trial conversion of Dewsbury Ring Road to make the nearside lane between A635 Leeds Road and A638 Bradford Road/Northgate for cyclists only.

Halifax Road between Northgate and Dewsbury Ring Road will also be closed to motor vehicles.

Long Causeway will also be closed to all traffic except buses between Dewsbury Ring Road and Town Hall Way to further improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Longer-term and public engagement

Work to improve conditions for more active forms of travel such as cycling and walking will be phased, with the above taking place immediately.

Kirklees Council will be taking part in a West Yorkshire-wide engagement in the coming weeks, which will give people the chance to have their say on what further changes can be made. This will also take place on a more local level in Kirklees.

There will also be work to encourage and enable behaviour change and to better promote active travel as a choice.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a terrible and difficult period but it has also taught us a lot.

“We have a real opportunity here to completely rethink the way our towns and villages work. With so many turning to active travel during these unprecedented times, I hope that something we take away from this is a renewed focus on supporting people to walk and cycle.

“If we are to do this, we need to think about barriers that might be standing in the way. We need to build on the appetite people have shown for cycling, running and walking by immediately addressing some of these barriers.

“That’s what these first round of changes aim to do but this is the very beginning, I urge you to stay tuned for the engagement soon to launch on this so you can help us get this right.”

 

Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Greener Kirklees, said: “We’ve seen such a huge increase in the amount of people cycling, walking and running in recent months and we want to continue to encourage this.

“Active travel has huge benefits on both the health of individuals but also the environment and we have seen air pollution drop during the lockdown period.

“Our Huddersfield and Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration plans have greener forms of travel running right through them. This is further supported by our commitments to tackle the Climate Emergency and to make Kirklees completely carbon neutral by 2038.

“Active and green travel has been right at the top of our agenda for some time and now is the time to take that commitment even further.”

Our plans currently under consideration are safety issues arising from insufficient pedestrian space for safe walking, including crowding at points of restriction at town and village centres and schools.

They will also look to create more space for safe local exercise around local parks and provide green alternatives to cars and public transport for key workers which may involve cycling facilities on key routes.

 

 

42 comments

  • barbararushforth@btinternet.com

    all very well for the young, the not so young and the active. What about the blue badge holders? Where will we park? It would be nice to come into town. Meet friends for a coffee and chat. My legs don’t work very well but my brain is still working.

  • Green also means taking account of nature ,insects ,birds,mammals. A path near me has been opened up for walkers, dogs and runners.Undergrowth and brambles that provided food for these creatures and a few humans has gone as has nesting sites for warblers.The Council did this tidying “improvement” to the detriment of wildlife.Well done!

  • Speed and size of motorised vehicles on the road is scary for cyclists. I line on Leeds road Dewsbury and would cycle more if I could feel safwe

  • What about changes in Mirfield and in particular the town centre and schools?

  • What about planting more trees?

  • I love this, however, the danger to cyclists is not just in the town centres. You need to improve/increase cycle lanes or use of paths/pavements on many roads and junctions leading into the towns to make commuting by bike a real option.

    Riding on Huddersfield/Leeds Road or Heckmondwike Road, Is terrifying. The Greenway is great, but not policed and can be dangerous.

    Please don’t forget about having some really safe and secure and always free parking options.

    Please don’t use all the money just in the 2 centres, lots of people want to commute around wider Kirklees too.

    Go to Holland, be inspired by their attitude to bikes (but remember they don’t have Yorkshire hills)

  • The National cycle network seems to fail between Brighouse and Huddersfield, therefore there is no connection between Huddersfield and Halifax. There is a gap in the route which is not only unfit for cyclists, but dangerous between the canal/river behind the corn mill pub and cooper bridge. A narrow and unsurfaced footpath goes along this route, could this be utilised?

  • That’s great, but when will Kirklees repair and renew the cycle lanes on Leeds Rd between the Mirfield roundabout and Sandal BMW?
    This is the main arterial route for cyclists commuting in to work. The lane markings are a disgrace, worn out or patched over at several narrow pinch points at various traffic lights heading both in and out of Huddersfield. Drivers frequently ‘squeeze’ out cyclists as soon as the lane marking disappears. Even a lick of paint to redefine the cycle lanes would be an improvement. The route is dangerous in its current state.

  • Great news but for cycling commuters travelling further afield we need the greenway network to be joined up. A link from Cooper Bridge to Brighouse and a better route through Mirfield for example

    • Any plans for a proper cycle way to be finished on the canal from Dewsbury to Wakefield, it’s been shut for 10 weeks so the only way is on the main roads.

    • In what sense is it great news that Firth Street will be closed to vehicles, when it is an important through route for traffic from the Colne and Holme Valleys to get round Huddersfield town centre? The jams on Queensgate ring road will get worse and Kingsmill Lane will be snarled up.

  • Need to get rid of the Parking Bays between the Parish Church and Kingsgate entrance on Cross Church Street. There is a decent route in to Town if coming from Newsome/Holmfirth/Meltham but impossible to do it in reverse without Cycling on the ring road or having to walk down the Pedestrianised section of King Street

  • Wow – small retailers have had to close for 3 months so what does Kirklees do to help encourage people back into the town …. discourage cars! I get the ‘green’ credentials but the timing??? Unbelievable

  • A good start. Now the Council needs to plan and implement safe and attractive routes to Huddersfield, Dewsbury and all the town centres.

  • The council also need to control the young lads who use the roads near town as a race track, eg paddock, marsh lindley. 60mph and modified exhausts down 30mph roads is very stressful to live with day and night, and i can’t believe there haven’t been many accidents. Not to mention the deafening off-road motorbikes most afternoons. I would love to get my cycle out but wouldn’t want to burden the nhs with another broken body. There also needs to be a general positive campaign to help counteract anti-cyclist culture (‘cyclists, they all go through red lights’ etc), i’m sure many of the national groups could help with this, eg Sustrans. Please also read all the comments on your social media posts, because many people won’t click on the link. I would be so happy if huddersfield became a ‘cycling city’! Just think how fit everyone would be with all these hills!

  • We have up to 40 people who access Dewsbury Baptist Church and we own a car park. Most of our congregation is older and not as steady on their feet. When we can open church again how would we be able to have our rights to freedom to worship if Longcauseway is closed? During the week our car park is used, free of charge by our church members so theu can access the town. Closure of Longcauseway would seriously restrict access to the town centre for a lot of people. There is a public car park up the lane at the side of the Town Hall and again many people would be restricted also.

  • Hi – great news and I look forward to contributing to the conversation and consultation.

  • A635 or A653?

  • A good start, even though later than Leeds, Manchester etc.

    What is needed now is:
    1) Similar out in local centres (eg Marsh) and towns where roads are wide and roadside parking can be reallocated (to create pavements wide enough to allow people to pass 2m apart as they pass shops etc) and also space for cyclists and through motor traffic

    2) Some serious planning on joining routes ACROSS the town centre eg linking some of the to-be pedestrianised/cyclised streets with cycling routes the other side of the ring road, eg the Bradley Greenway.

    3) Hope the Firth Street closure inspires Huddersfield University to raise its game on cycling – it would be nice to see students and staff arriving on bike and on foot in future as is common at other Unis!.

  • It’s a start but it doesn’t talk about junctions, and is confusing in places – e.g. Northumberland Street (Is that really the correct wording?)
    It also doesn’t deal with routes outside Dewsbury and Huddersfield Town Centres.

    This was an opportunity trial longer term plans e.g. A629: Wakefield Road (Waterloo to to HTC) and ‘Quietway’ HTC to Ainley Top. Another example is the ‘missing link’ from Longroyd Bridge to HTC via Outcote Bank. This could have been coned off as an experiment for something more permanent.

  • Stephen Kennedy

    This is an encouraging start. During lockdown cyclists have appeared in greater numbers because they felt safe to cycle. They need traffic free cycle lanes and Greenways to encourage them to keep cycling

  • Good to see this start. New cyclists are worried about traffic volumes and we need protected routes from our villages into the town centre.

  • As a cyclist, it’s good to see some consideration for cyclists’ needs, but these proposals seem likely to increase traffic jams and pollution (Firth Street) and further reduce the viability of businesses in the north end of the town centre, which will need all the help they can get.

  • You need to make the connections between suburbs and outlying villages giving more space for cyclists to create a hub and spoke network. This is what will keep people cycling more so that focusing just on the town centres which tend to have slower moving traffic.

  • Brilliant news. I don’t wish to sound negative but can there also be simultaneous prioritisation of safe cycling into these major centres from the major surrounding commuter areas, as this is arguably a bigger barrier to cycling locally?

  • I will echo the above comments too regarding greenway routes BETWEEN the towns in Kirklees…. The centres are less important in some ways as traffic speeds are lower in general… But yes great to make a start on this issue.

  • barbararushforth@btinternet.com

    good to see the cyclists are being thought about and taken care of. I was one myself once. But don’t forget blue badge ho
    lders. Can we use bus lanes?

  • Thank you. Every little helps. But would a greater impact on reducing pollution, co2 production and allowing social distancing whilst commuting, not be achieved by ensuring the major commuter routes INTO the town centres are made cycle friendly first?

  • This seems like a good start, and I am glad Kirklees is taking this seriously.

    I wonder if you would consider letting non rail users use the cycle parking facilities inside Huddersfield station?

  • Fantastic, please open the ex-railway networks. Kirkburton and Meltham lines as Greenways.

  • Jonathan Beever

    It’s good to see Kirklees doing something positive, but needs to focus on people with disabilities, invisible and otherwise.kirklees also needs to invest in people to help them with exercise, mental health issues, obesity etc. The way to do this is provide more allotments for people , which will reduce waiting lists for them AND reduce costs in the NHS

  • Great news. A step in the right direction. We also need protected routes into the Town Centre that don’t have cars parked in them, and secure parking places in Town.

  • Dr. John Gleadow

    As a keen cyclist I find this most welcoming but such developments need to be integrated into a full network. To encourage new cyclists safety should be top of the agenda with no cycle routes stopping at pinch-points. I do believe a visit to the Netherlands for traffic engineers would inspire. Cycling ticks all the boxes and now social distancing can be added.

  • Of concern to cyclists and pedestrians is the speed and lack of care of drivers, been noticeably higher during lockdown because of less traffic, Blackmoorfoot Rd in particular beyond Crosland Hill.

  • Good news, but what about the canal towpath. Between Milnsbridge and Chapel Hill the towpath has been improved with tarmac. The obvious solutin would be to tarmac the rest of the towpath from Milnsbridge to Marsden and Wakefield road to Cooper Bridge, its been so much better cycling to the town centre since the improvement of the towpath, which was impassable in the winter months.

  • Sadly this will effectively close those businesses that have been encouraged to switch to take away services in the town centre due to Coronavirus, there will be a significant loss of parking on Wood street and Church street for customers that call and collect or visit the town centre, no consultation with local businesses. It’s a great green idea but will be yet a nail in the town centre coffin. Maybe we could move Huddersfield town centre into a museum and then all go and visit it on our bikes.

  • When will we see electric buses on the roads. This is one of the best ways to cut pollution.

  • Looking forward to the introduction of e-Scooters in Kirklees area. I’ve used them in several cities in Germany and Sweden and find them to be a great alternative to buses and taxis especially for short journeys.

  • Sharon Donaghy

    Tackle the ring road. It strangles Hudds town centre with a necklace of fierce traffic and pollution. Anyone walking or cycling in or out of Huddersfield town centre has to cross it. Build bridges, planted raised walk/cycle ways, cut out the need to cross it at all. Better still, get rid of the whole thing
    Sharon

  • I concur with previous posters about the dangerous route between Cooper Bridge and Brighouse. Almost non-existent pavement that is also overgrown on the sides. There are no crossings along Wakefield Road leading to J25 and then no way to cross the shockingly fast roundabout for either pedestrians or cyclists. I live on Huddersfield Leeds Road and would like to try commuting to Bradford but that segment – Cooper Bridge and Brighouse puts me off completely. I would second the suggestions for extending or improving any canal towpath or cutting through along the canal-side to J25 and making cycle lanes or safe crossings through J25 over to Brighouse.

    • Great summary regarding the options and challenges for cyclists and pedestrians and outline for Brighouse/Huddersfield/Mirfield link… hopefully the authorities will finally listen and implement some of the suggestions.

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