From Elaine P
20 mph speed limit on our roads (see HBWeb news) what good idea. Just one problem - how do we ensure that people stick to these limits? Many of us will admit to going a little above the limit when the road is clear but it's frightening to see how fast some people drive along the main route through town. The 30mph limit is often totally disregarded especially in an evening. If you stand by the pelican crossing at the top of Station Road you'll regularly see cars travelling in both directions at 50mph plus.
Posted by Adam B
Time for some waffle I feel...
Firstly I do support 20mph speed limits on some roads as (I understand that) it's been a success in elsewhere. Some roads on residential estates are a good example, particularly ones where there are so many parked vehicles that it's single-lane anyway. I do think, however, that most motorists slow down anyway for such conditions, there are always some who drive far too fast of course but they may not be likely to obey a 20mph speed limit anyway. I wouldn't like to see such a limit on the main routes through Hebden such as the A646 because this would be excessive.
As for schools, I think the potential for a 20mph limit depends on the schools' location. I like the solution in Cragg Vale where they have a temporary 20mph speed limit around the school at certain times of day.
Most importantly, I believe that the speed limit is only a very small part of the solution to road safety. Measures such as warning signs, safe crossing points and good pavements are all essential. For example, outside the school on Birchcliffe Road there are two roads to cross for many attendees and no crossing or warning signs of any description. Given the speed at which some vehicles come round the corner when coming downhill I think this is potentially dangerous.
As for the speed of cars travelling to and from Mytholmroyd - I agree that this is a problem with some cars exceeding 50 - 60 mph and overtaking other vehicles who are sticking to the speed limit - often in oncoming traffic. I agree something should be done to prevent this but what? Some form of occasional police presence possibly - if motorists knew that sometimes a car was waiting on one of the lanes they may be less likely to take the chance. The other side of the argument is the that there have been no deaths or serious injuries on that stretch of road that I know of - if there have been no such incidents then why is anything necessary? It's not an argument I necessarily agree with (I think it's short-sighted) but it should be considered.
I think that's all my waffle for today! :-)
Posted by Anthony Rae
News that Calderdale councillors are contemplating the more general introduction of 20mph speed limits around the district is obviously to be welcomed (although, as an aside, I am getting increasingly irritated by the attempts of various political parties to 'play politics with transport' - it is actually more important than that). Councils have had for some time the opportunity to do this outside every school (if I remember my facts correctly) and Calderdale should have acted more promptly.
However, here in Hebden Bridge, I can just remind people that a 20mph limit across the town centre, including the A646, was agreed as part of the Traffic Review and will finally be introduced in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, it will not be as extensive as I pushed for. I argued long and hard for it to be extended up all the feeder roads (e.g up Keighley Road to say Midgehole Road); and also for it to cover the residential area around Victoria Road/ Moss Lane, but what the Calderdale officers told us, extraordinarily, was that the police objected to this! The one area where I was successful was up Birchcliffe, where it will stretch beyond Stubbings School.
So, we will soon have the core of a slower speed area but we should now be pressing strongly for its extension.
Posted by Anne H
I'm in favour of a 20 mph limit in the busy central areas of Hebden, though it's a shame it will not be extended up Keighley Road. I don't think it will slow down overall journey times by a great deal for most people, it might save lives, and it will make Hebden a pleasanter place for pedestrians. But I think an equally important issue is how to enforce it and how to enforce the existing 30 mph limits, for instance from Walkley's clogs to the centre of Mytholmroyd and on the rather long stretch of road from the Heptonstall turning circle to the 40 limit at CVS (motorists often exceed them by 10-15 mph and if you are driving at 30 you feel pressurised to increase your speed too). There are some very dangerous bends and openings in both these areas and I think the 30 limit needs policing better.
Is there a legal reason why the authorities have to tell motorists in advance where they are going to put mobile speed cameras? It seems to defeat the object (unless the object is to reduce speed on a particular road just for a few weeks until the cameras move on).
Posted by Ian M
A 20mph speed limit would be a good thing outside schools but all it will do anywhere else is clog up an already congested area. Whilst safety is a concern, the valley road is the only road through the Calder Valley. To classify large sections of it as 20mph zones will cripple any of the remaining industry in the valley for good.
Parking on Keighley road – I for one am sick to death of being forced to drive on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic because of irresponsible parking on this stretch. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed.
The ludicrous bus stop on Albert Street, that again forces cars onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic should be removed. I cannot believe this spot is allowed to be used as a lay up point by the bus companies.
The timing of the traffic lights at the end of this road that prevent more than two or three cars from pulling out safely.
Parking on Market Street. Yet again this forces cars onto the wrong side of the road and into oncoming traffic.
Speed is a concern in certain areas, but let’s cure the existing problems before we create more.
Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
I sympathise with the aim, but to be honest, I think the 20 mph limit will be irrelevant.
Most of the time, the volume of traffic means any limit will be no more than the speed to which drivers aspire but never reach. When traffic is light enough to allow 30 mph through the town centre, in most places that is a safe enough speed. In many of the side-streets, 30 is impossible anyway, so extending the posted limit is a waste of time.
The rest of the time, the limit will be ignored by enough drivers to make it an irrelevance. The real problem is not the posted limit, but the standard of driving - I was passed a few days ago just west of Hebden Bridge on the A646 by someone who was speeding (I was doing 30, in a 30 zone) and who crossed a double white line onto the wrong side of the road a matter of yards before a dangerous bend. Sadly, that is not untypical. I am constantly amazed that I do not conduct more funerals of road traffic accident victims - perhaps there is something to the 'guardian angel' idea after all...
The only thing that will make any difference is a change in the training and assessment of drivers, and a consequent change in attitudes, resulting in intelligent and co-operative rather than kamikaze competitive styles of driving. Don't hold your breath...
Posted by Robert Collins
I agree with others above in that I cannot honestly see how a 20mph limit is going to achieve anything in terms of safety.
As has already been said, when it's busy it's impossible to get above 20 anyway and when it's not busy, 30 is perfectly appropriate.
Where I disagree is that it is emphatically *not* an irrelevance.
It is not irrelevant because along with the 20mph limit will come enforcement. The safe, responsible driving behaviour of the many thousands of road users who have no alternative but to pass through Hebden Bridge every day will suddenly become criminalised. To what benefit? The tiny minority of nutters who were breaking the laws of the road before will not be deterred, whereas I, setting off for work at 6AM will be had for a £60 fine and 3 license points for touching 24MPH on a deserted main road? When yesterday 30 was perfectly safe and acceptable? Why?
Unfortunately as Mr Rae points out, this isn't just a proposal; it's a done deal.
Posted by Andy M
A 20 limit may not make much difference overall but it highlights its an urban area and gives opportunity for enforcement. 30 is too fast for most/all? of the town centre streets.
Posted by Ross M
I live in Pecket Well and am stunned at the speeds attained by motorbikes through the village.
The speed limit is 30mph, with a 20mph section past the Robin Hood pub, yet these idiots treat the area like the Isle of Man TT course and open their throttles ahead of the tops way before they've left the village.
The pavements through the village are small to non-existent, meaning pedestrians have to walk on the road, yet the warning signs may as well not be there.
Posted by Dan Aked
Right, let me get this straight... 20 mph, yes there is a massive car problem in Hebden Bridge but I don't think lowering the speed limit would do anything at all. It would only cause more road rage as people tried to get where they were going.
A better idea would be to make the pavements and walkways safer and more pedestrian friendly. Many times iI go past the railway only to find people stood in the road... not only is this very dangerous to the people that are standing on the road (usually drunk) but to us the motorists.
There are also a number of crossings in Hebden so why do people see fit to stand in the middle of the road to try and get across a very busy main road when there are many places to cross.
I believe that maybe the 20 mph might well be a good idea in the smaller streets where speeding really isn't, but the main road at 20 mph would not work!!
Also I would like to add that the new set of traffic lights on Albert Street going on to the main road are a total joke... Why do we need them the road system worked so much better without traffic lights there most people use hope street anyway so why these traffic lights are needed I don't know.
Finally I would like to ask where the car parks are in hebden bridge, why not opperate a park and ride system into and out of Hebden Bridge this would reduce the amount of traffic on our street and the amount of cars parked along the main road sometimes as far back as Walkley Clogs, I think the park and ride system would not only reduce the ammount of cars on the streets of Hebden Bridge it would also make it a cleaner place.
Posted by Danny Thompson
You raise some interesting points Dan. But I think that it is important to emphasise that pedestrians (and cyclists) are road users equally important to those driving cars, and motorists don't (and shouldn't) necessarily have priority.
Just because there are crossing places to assist pedestrians it doesn't mean that this is the *only* place that they should be allowed to cross. If it is convenient to cross from the Memorial Gardens to Crown Street, without detouring to the crossing at Holt's, then you should be able to do so. Similarly, when I cycle, I freqently avoid cycle paths - which often marginalise me, send me places I don't want to go, and are ill maintained. As a cyclist I am a road user, and I will use the road.
When we go down the route of completely separating motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in the name of safety, it is the latter two groups who tend to be the losers. We need to change the culture of driving. Road rage is not caused by delays, restrictions or road layouts - it is down to the attitude/anger of the motorist.
Motorists should drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions, whatever the statutory speed limit. In a busy town like Hebden this should be pretty darn slow. If pedestrians, drunk or sober, are using the road to the station then nearby motorists should slow right down and let them use it safely.
Posted by Chris Dellen
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