From Lesley Mackay
It's time to slow down. The 20mph speed limit will be with us before you know it. Can you bear it? Maybe this will mean that you can stop more easily for pedestrians at the crossings. Maybe it will mean that your journey is slow but sure. Maybe you will be able to drive through Hebden Bridge without queuing. I'm not hopeful. If there is no reduction in the number of cars, as car drivers you will just be sitting in polluted air for longer. It is, of course, going to be galling to watch those pesky pedestrians moving along faster than you are. Oh dear, when will you get the message? Cars cause pollution, car drivers cause accidents, children are more likely to be killed by a car than anything else. Around one in four children in the UK now have asthma. Oh, I nearly forgot, there's climate change as well. So it's time to slow down and reflect on the reality of your car journey.
I don't believe that the 20mph limit will make a significant difference to the speed of traffic through Hebden Bridge.
Vehicles have never been able to travel faster than 20mph (notwithstanding those who will travel at 40mph at either end of the town and they will probably do this regardless in my opinion) when it's busy.
When it's not busy (in an evening) it's generally safe to drive at 30mph.
Assuming everyone was to immediately change from 30mph to 20mph I doubt it would make a significant impact to the pollution content.
Speaking personally, I have spent many miles as a pedestrian, a cyclist and a motorist. Each mode of transport has its' place, each is invaluable.
I have reflected on the reality of my current car journeys, without them I would lose my job and potentially deprive nurses of important clinical decision support. For some, there is no alternative to a car but we can find other ways of being environmentally minded.
I do not disagree with others who have posted prior to me. Air polution is reported as being extremely bad in both Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge.
However, both of these towns have had significant over the top measures introduced by way of traffic lights and crossings to slow down traffic in order to make things safer for pedestrians. As as result it has become an absulute nightmare trying to drive through either town as traffic is virtually ground to a halt.
Perhaps if just some of these safety measures were removed the traffic could flow again, and there would be less vehicles sitting around pumping out polution.
I think that Hebden Bridge will always struggle to deal efficiently with the volume of traffic which currently comes through it. Like many old towns it simply isn't designed for it.
I therefore support the principle of reducing the amount of traffic which comes through Hebden (as well as the amount of traffic on the roads in this country in general).
In order to do this, however, we need a viable alternative. One of the reasons so many people use cars is because there is nothing else within reason which meets their needs.
We need cheaper, more reliable public transport - particularly in rural or semi-rural areas. Less 'out of town' working environments may help, although there would doubtless be disadvantages. In Hebden, one or more sizeable carparks on the edge of town (potentially with some form of shuttle service) may prevent some of the traffic in the town centre itself.
Trying to force people out of cars is not the answer - especially when there is nowhere else for them to go.