Hebden Bridge Station Travel Plan

Context

Hebden Bridge lies within the Upper Calder Valley which is within the Pennine fringe of West Yorkshire and strategically situated between two National Parks — the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District in the North and South and the two major conurbations of Leeds and Manchester and is closer to the smaller cities and towns of Halifax, Huddersfield, Burnley and Bradford.

The town is the local centre for the rural hinterland and the station is a key transport hub with a number of local bus services interchanging at the rail station. The station is situated around half-a-mile from the town centre and is primarily used for park and ride by commuters as an origin station.

Annual passenger numbers at Hebden Bridge station are 510,572 which is predominantly made up of commuter and shopping/leisure users. Hebden Bridge is a market town with a successful leisure and tourism industry.

Need for a Travel Plan

  • Pedestrian access: The route from the town centre to the rail station is approximately a 10 minute walk through a series of streets or the nearby park. Signage provision directing the route to the station could be improved as would the provision of dropped kerbs and appropriate crossing points. On entering Station Road the route is covered by a large walkway of mature trees which block out the natural sunlight. A large section of the road currently has poor quality lighting which could be greatly improved by the provision of additional lighting columns. From the east of the station to the houses at Mayroyd and to Fairfield poor pedestrian access is via a badly lit, pot holed road which also has a sharp bend giving vehicles limited vision.
  • Access to Platform 2 (Leeds bound): is level from the station entrance. Access to Platform 1 (Manchester bound) is via steps from Platform 2 to the subway and steep ramp. In 2006 Metro commissioned a feasibility study for the provision of step free access. The study concluded that ramped access was not practical given the geography and conservation area status, however whilst the reinstatement of lifts may be possible the cost at this time proved to be prohibitive. In 2007 Metro nominated Hebden Bridge for the DfT's National Access for All initiative and whilst not successful at that time Metro will continue to lobby for lift provision at the station.
  • Cycling routes and facilities: Route 66 of the National Cycle Network can be accessed easily from the rail station and signage provision for the route is very good throughout Hebden Bridge. No designated cycle route is currently advertised to get from the station into the town centre or vice-versa. Cycling is affected by many of the same issues as pedestrian access such as the local area terrain and poor lighting on route to the station. Facilities for cycle parking at the rail station consists of 10 cycle lockers situated in the car park area and 3 cycle racks on platform 2. The lockers are operated on a first come first served basis and users must provide their own lock.
  • Station facilities: The station has a staffed booking office which is open Mon-Sat 06:40 till 20:30 and Sun 09:40 till 17:00. Other facilities include Café, toilets, waiting rooms and a private day nursery. Local area walking maps are provided on free standing frames opposite the station entrance. A marked drop-off point is provided within the station entrance turning area, however this could be better advertised with signage and improved surface markings. Currently no separate taxis point is provided.
  • Car parking: The station car park consists of 85 parking spaces plus 3 for disabled persons use and 6 designated for staff giving a total of 94 spaces. Parking in the station car park is free of charge and is currently full to capacity by around 07:30am Mon to Fri. A large proportion of the approach road was resurfaced during 2008. Double yellow lining was also introduced which greatly improved vehicular movements both into and out of the station. The approach road (as previously mentioned) and the car park would benefit from improved lighting.
    • A Council owned car park opened in December 2008 and is located just off the station approach road. This car park consists of 29 spaces and has parking charges of 20p per hour or £1 per day. On road car parking by rail users occurs on:
      • A646 Burnley Road heading in the direction of Mytholmroyd.
      • Mayroyd Lane has approximately 3 vehicles parked per day during the week and
      • Palace House Road between 6 to 8 vehicles parked on weekdays.
  • Bus access: The station has a bus interchange provided at the front of the main entrance, the interchange comprises of a bus shelter and bus turning area. Local bus information is provided within the shelter and on separate free-standing display boards near by. Currently the stop has no real time information screen. An electrical supply to the shelter is required to progress both internal shelter lighting and real time screen. The station interchange is served by Metro funded MetroConnect Hebden Bridger bus services (A, B, C, D and E operating on an hourly frequency) which link the rail station with the local area. Service 500 starts at the station which provides a link to Haworth and Keighley. The main through services from Halifax to Todmorden can be accessed by using the bus stops situated on the A646 Burnley Road just after exiting Station Road. Both of these stops have no shelter provision due to restricted pavement widths. Traffic is usually speeding past as it passes the two stops even though they are situated within a 20mph zone.

Applying the travel plan process to a rail station was seen as opportunity to look at all travel modes and how they interact with one another. In order to make a journey by rail another mode of transport has to be used to access the rail station. The process of developing a travel plan helps to identify barriers affecting travel choices and highlights what works well already in addition to areas for improvement.

Description of the process

A stakeholder group was established made up of Metro, (who have taken the lead on the development of the plan) Northern Rail, Network Rail, Calderdale Council and Hebden Royd Town Council.

The process of putting the plan together has been a new challenge involving looking at all aspects affecting travel modes and routes to and from the station in the surrounding environment. The approach taken to develop the plan has included:

  • Analysis of survey data
  • Carrying out a site audit to establish the existing situation
  • Development of accessibility maps to show how the station is accessible by sustainable modes within time bands
  • Establishing Steering Group of key stakeholders

Action Plan highlights

  • Marketing of existing bus & rail services and walking & cycling routes — Enhance promotion of what's already available.
  • Improve lighting on the station approach road and in the car park — Beneficial to all station users improving safety and security of the station environment.
  • Improve signage on walking routes to and from the station — Enhanced signage provision on all pedestrian routes will improve walking experience.
  • Provide customer information screens on station platforms and in the bus interchange.
    • The addition of up-to-the-minute service information will help users make journey choices.
  • Improve walking routes to the station — Where necessary introducing dropped kerbs and footpath resurfacing.

Key lessons learned

One of the biggest obstacles for any travel plan is the issue of funding. ATOC, RSSB and Passenger Focus have funded survey work at each pilot station and costs involved in the management of the 24 station pilot programme. No other funding has been identified from Department for Transport specifically for improvements associated with the emerging action plans.

 

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