Plans to cut traffic lanes and remove some on-street parking on a two-mile stretch of the A629 Wakefield Road in Huddersfield have left people less than impressed.

The results of public consultation into the A629 Wakefield Road Sustainable Transport Scheme have been published by Kirklees Council – and it’s 186 pages long.

The scheme runs between Shorehead roundabout near Sainsbury’s through Aspley, Moldgreen and Dalton to the main junction at Waterloo.

The proposals include:

  • Two-way segregated cycle lanes with a kerb to separate bikes from traffic;
  • Reducing the road from four lanes to three Huddersfield-bound at Aspley and from three lanes to two away from Shorehead in the direction of Waterloo;
  • Creating ‘Quiet Street Cycle Tracks’ to divert cyclists off Wakefield Road through residential areas and then back on further down. The two areas proposed are through Dalton via Grosvenor Road, Kingston Avenue, Mayfield Avenue and Dalton Green Lane, and also at Almondbury via Mitchell Avenue, Fleminghouse Lane, Fernside Avenue and Almondbury Bank;
  • Creating a Bus Stop Bypass – also known as a ‘Floating Bus Stop’ – where cycle tracks pass behind where bus passengers wait;
  • Reducing the number of parking bays outside shops near the junction with Silver Street opposite Lidl from 16 to nine;
  • Removing ‘informal parking’ outside houses on Wakefield Road near the junction with Grosvenor Road;
  • Closing Colne Street at Aspley to traffic.

In partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Kirklees is looking to ease congestion and get people out of their cars. To do that they want to create cycle lanes which would mean traffic lanes reduced in places while some on-street parking would be removed for homes and businesses.

Out of 683 people who responded to a council survey, 310 ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’ with removing on-street parking and 305 felt the same about taking out short sections of traffic lanes.

A629 Wakefield Road at Aspley

When asked if replacing a traffic lane with a cycle lane would improve congestion or pollution, 156 said ‘no.’ Many people felt cycling provision was “sufficient” and there wasn’t enough demand to justify the changes.

The council asked people if the proposals would encourage them to use alternative methods of transport instead of the car. The majority said it wouldn’t – 449 said it wouldn’t encourage them to walk, 433 said it wouldn’t encourage them to cycle and 436 said they wouldn’t be enticed onto the bus.

Some of the comments received during the consultation included:

“It’s madness. Probably the daftest suggestion I have seen in Huddersfield for 50 years.”

“You’re trying to fix a problem that isn’t there”

“These suggestions are idiotic and do not reflect the wants or needs”

“The removal of vehicle capacity is known to reduce car travel which is a positive but I consider that taking so much away at one go is likely to create a public backlash.”

“I am concerned that these cycle schemes have not taken into account the 600-plus homes that are to be built in Lepton/Fenay Bridge and the related increase in car numbers. Two cars per household is not an unreasonable expectation.”

“I do not think a dedicated cycle route is needed seeing as the number of cyclists on this route is minimal.”

“The move to cycling will only be for the fittest with the inclines to and from Shorehead to Waterloo.”

“Asking cyclists to climb even a small part of Almondbury Bank is strange…”

“Has anyone actually seen Almondbury Bank? You will need a defibrillator installed there if you seriously think this should be a cycle route.”

“Congestion for motorists will increase as will frustrations. Hence more vehicles will be at a standstill, increasing emissions which impact on safety for pedestrians and cyclists – until we are all electric. I can foresee more accidents happening.”

“I am concerned about the impact cycle lanes will have on traffic congestion, thus causing more pollution.”

“Has anyone involved in this actually ridden a bike?”

“It is quite comical to suggest commuting cyclists use (Almondbury Bank) as an alternative to the busy yet flat route along the A629.”

“Reducing the number of lanes (by introduction of segregated cycle lanes) will actually INCREASE the amount of congestion at rush hour. A good example of this is a similar scheme between Leeds and Bradford. It did not increase the number of cyclists using it and has led to a big increase in congestion due to a reduction in available lanes for cars. By the way, I’m a cyclist also!”

“Ultimately, I do not think this scheme accounts for the current nature and usage of Wakefield Road; is catering to a group which does not exist and will be a waste of money and resources with no overall benefit to cyclists, motorists, businesses or residents.”

Replying to one of the respondents, the council said: “We are not removing a lane of traffic in either direction for the entirety of the scheme to accommodate the proposed cycle lanes.

“We are, however, proposing to re-allocate short sections of the carriageway where we have width constraints.”

In another reply, the council said: “We are using feedback gathered to develop the next stage in the design of our proposals.

“The scheme that is taken forward, and the designs of these schemes, will be based on your feedback.

“This means your views are crucial to ensure the design taken forward meets the needs of the community.”

In total 702 online surveys were completed and the council is expected to come back with further proposals and there will be a second public consultation this summer.

The results of the consultation can be found HERE