Car Free Longdendale – Update Jan 2022 – Green Travel Challenge – A Local Conversation
The Green Travel Challenge – A Local Conversation was a virtual event to engage residents and visitors in travelling ‘car free low carbon in Longdendale and Glossopdale’. The event was generously funded by CPRE, CPRE North West and CPRE Yorkshire and the Humber regional groups, and https://integratedtransport.co.uk/
ICA-UK, an independent charity specialising in facilitation, was appointed to lead the event.
CPRE PDSY has been proposing sustainable alternatives for many years to address the congestion and environmental pollution that has long blighted Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle along the A628 trunk road corridor. The current A57 scheme is designed to relieve one short section of the route at the Greater Manchester end.
To address both the local and the wider problems in the context of new Government policies, CPRE PDSY has been listening to the travel experiences of local people and visitors to inform development of sustainable alternatives. These informed the proposals that all those attending the event were invited to comment on and discuss.
A big ‘thank you’ goes to all those attending and responding to the event who generously shared their thoughts and ideas with us. You can read them all here (insert link to document). It was reassuring to find strong support for the proposed measures as a comprehensive package.
Keith Buchan, an experienced transport planning consultant from the Metropolitan Transport Research Unit (MTRU) who has advised CPRE in this area in the past is using the outputs from the event to inform his work on the alternatives. The final proposals will be released in January 2021.
The Future of Longdendale survey, undertaken in the summer of 2020, showed that the majority concern was with travel and reducing the impact of cars and lorries on people and the environment (link to survey results). There was strong support for measures to reduce car use, and improve bus services and facilities for cycling.
The next step was to follow up that concern by hearing from residents and visitors about their travel experiences in Glossopdale and Longdendale, andwhat changes in travel people would be prepared to make to leave the car at home for everyday local journeys.
Many residents ( link to report – 2021-4-30 RESIDENT RESULTS Final) walked many local journeys but their experience would benefit from reduced car and lorry movements. The main short journey that could be walked, but was not, was that to the local supermarket for the heavy weekly shop. Cycling was not popular due to the intimidating volume of traffic, sense of danger and the hilly terrain. Segregated routes and the sharing of quieter ways known to those who cycle regularly would encourage others. E-bikes are being considered but they do not address safety concerns and there are questions about their sustainability. Public transport is costly with complex ticketing. Bus services are slow, unreliable and ‘go round the houses’. The train to Manchester provides a well-used and effective service. The bus and train services to Manchester Airport were considered good. However, both Mottram and Gamesley suffered from poor access to both bus and train services, and access to Stalybridge and Ashton needs to be improved. Car sharing with friends and use of taxis in Gamesley occurred frequently, but carpooling and car clubs were poorly supported. Electric cars are on everyone’s horizon but their cost, range, lack of charging points and the sustainability of materials used in their construction were key concerns
Three issues stood out for visitors (link to report – 2021-4-29 VISITOR RESULTS FINAL ): the almost complete lack of public transport to visit Longdendale, particularly from the north; the dangerous junctions on the A628T road; and a lack of easily accessible and up-to-date travel information for all modes of travel.
The majority of people do not consider travelling by bus or train as there is no convenient service – the only service is an infrequent Friday (now Saturday) only service from Holmfirth. Although the train service from Manchester to Glossop/Hadfield is used and essential for those without access to a car, the train journey from the Huddersfield area was particularly tortuous requiring three different trains. The majority would consider public transport if it was as direct, convenient and affordable as using the car, particularly if a bus allowed circular walks, was hail and ride and ran into late summer evenings. Keen Sheffield cyclists are able to find off-road or quiet routes but for others, cycling in from elsewhere, off-road infrastructure is required to remove the sense of road danger.
These results are being used to inform current work on a suite of measures to improve local travel, including a ban on through traffic of heavy lorries through the national park, enhanced bus and rail services, and better walking and cycling facilities.