Get on your bike - Calderdale commuters urged to ditch their cars

Would swap your car for a bike?
Would swap your car for a bike?

Calderdale’s natural geography means its residents will be encouraged to get around by means other than their car, if building targets for the next 15 years are met.

Bus, rail, pedal power and “Shanks’s Pony” are all alternatives which will be called upon to help the steep-valleyed borough alleviate pressures new homes are likely to place on its highways infrastructure.

On Tuesday (April 10), members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Local Plan Working Party will be asked to comment on a draft of the Calderdale Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2018 (IDP) being formulated as part of its forthcoming Local Plan, which aims to deliver 12,600 new homes and 60,000 square metres of new employment space by 2032.

The draft IDP explains that although Calderdale’s topography provides a distinct natural beauty, it limits and constrains expansion of the transport network.

With limited room for manoeuvre, the council’s main challenge will be to get the most out of its existing assets, having identified and resolved “pinch points”, by encouraging and enabling people to use alternative methods of travel to their car.

Currently cars are the chosen way of getting to work by two thirds of Calderdale’s workforce – a similar figure to other West Yorkshire local authority areas, says the draft IDP.

Often in partnership with other agencies, the council will work to improve road and rail capacity as well as other mans of transport.

The report points out that the overwhelming majority of Calderdale’s population live within 400 metres of a bus route and proposals to re-energise a method of transport once used as the main way of commuting by past generations includes provision and enforecement of a “bus box” around Halifax town centre, incorporating a bus-rail interchange, a much-improved Halifax bus station and bus priority measures along the Huddersfield-Elland-Halifax corridor.

Improving cycle and pedestrian links will also form part of a solution, according to the draft.

The council – recently criticised by Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker and warned by local government minister Sajid Javid over delays in completing it – are confident the Local Plan will be ready for consideration by Cabinet and council in June.