Saturday, 2 June 2007
Thanks to Anthony Rae, member of the Hebden Bridge Traffic Review steering group for the following
In considering the question of possible additional parking provision in Hebden Bridge, the Traffic Review considered two options: a multi-storey car park on the Garden Street site (which had its proponents, although interestingly the advice from the Council's technical consultant was that it would not be technically or financially viable); and an extension of the surface car park at the Station.
For the last two years, we have been pressing Metro to bring forward some outline proposals for the latter scheme, so that they could be considered by the community alongside any Garden Street scheme which emerged, in order to debate which was the better option. Metro have in the last few days now made available two scheme layouts, which would add respectively another 60 (option 1) and 125 (option 2) spaces to the existing 85 – so 145 and 210 in total. In addition the Town Council has an adjacent site for e.g 35 cars (the works compound at present) which could be thrown into a wider scheme.
The advantage of providing additional spaces at the station are that they can be implemented (i) unobtrusively (ii) without disruption to a critical site in the town centre (iii) in the right location for long stay parking (away from the town centre) and (iv) and also for a proper interchange between transport modes: train/ bus/ car/ coach (because the intention was also to provide for coach parking there).
Of course, any additional parking provision has to be paid for, so Metro have indicated that they can't progress the scheme "until a mechanism has been agreed that will generate sufficient revenue to cover the additional costs to the rail industry. One of the options currently being considered is customer charging and it is recognised that any such regime should, if possible, be compatible with other town centre car park charging regimes." This is acknowledging the point that, if the town centre parking is charged but the station car park is free - and also unenforced - it will inevitably become clogged up by cars migrating from the town centre to avoid payment. Another option would be for network rail to fund and manage the car park.
This illustrates some of the complexities involved in the question, but at least as the community now debates the merits of the Garden Street scheme we can focus on the essential issues:
- How much additional parking do we need or want? (recognising that different people will have different views; but also that the Traffic Review has always attempted to keep a proper balance between private and public transport)?
- Where should additional spaces be best located? - we do have a choice.
- Should we choose either one scheme or the other, or both? (recognising that there could be up to an additional 250 spaces, with all those cars having to get it in and out of the town on already congested roads, an Air Quality Management Area now designated on Market St, and with associated emissions; and also that West Yorkshire policy is to work towards overall reductions – not very large increases - in parking provision.
- How will it be paid for?: Garden Street is financed by the very large scale of associated commercial development; the Station by the public sector underpinned by charging.
In addition to these four questions, there will be others about the technical and detailed merits of either scheme, and how they will impact on the town.
From Anthony Rae, member of the Hebden Bridge Traffic Review steering group.
Hebweb News: Garden St multistorey car park
Hebden Bridge Web Forum 2007: Residents' parking