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Towpath access

From Susan Quick

Friday, 1 July 2022

I'm 71-year-old, disabled and partially sighted, walk with a stick. I was walking along the towpath into town with my shopping trolley; I'd arrived at the first bridge and was trying to figure out how to negotiate the large puddles when I heard a man shouting "Get out of the way". I didn't. A tall middle-aged man burst his way past me and was gone. Yes there are notices asking towpath warriors to respect one another. I think they need to be bigger and better placed.

I know the bridges are heritage sites, but might it not be possible to restore the paving so that they don't harbour huge puddles, thus becoming disability friendly? 

From Jae Evans

Friday, 1 July 2022

Like Susan, I'm a tad wobbly and my reactions aren't as quick as they once were (it comes to us all eventually) and, on my 'gentle strolls', I've been abused by cyclists - usually men although one woman did called me a stupid bitch - thanks, sister. Glad to say, this isn't the norm but shocking all the same.

They usually have all the gear, cameras etc - I'd love to see that film! But you know what guys - you're not so important that you must be anywhere fast. And as I cannot 'get out of the way' anytime soonist. Could I simply ask for a modicom of decency and some respect. If it's a race you want, then get onto the road: there's plenty around. It really is bad form to treat folk so poorly. Cheers.

From Gillian MH

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Hebden is awful for anyone disabled, or even just a little unsure on their feet. Very few shops have even the most basic of aids - a grab rail on the door frame can make a huge difference to someone a bit wobbly. Very few of the shops are accessible by wheelchair - when a simple removable ramp would solve this issue (shout out to Element who have made the effort). It's not okay that Bridgegate has street furniture all down the flat paving, forcing those in wheelchairs to endure the cobbles. And yes, the canal tow path - despite improvements - is still almost impossible to negotiate in a chair. For a town that prides itself for its inclusivity, it doesn't appear to give a monkey's about those who are frail or disabled. 

From Jae Evans

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Thanks Gillian, Support is always welcome when there seems so little of it about. You are absolutely right of course, HB is inaccessible for many and is by design a huge challenge for wheelchair users (narrow pavements, old buildings, stairs and cobbles - ouch!) but also for the 'wobbly' like myself, Hebden is a testing, assault course to be actively avoided at weekends.

Calderdale Council are blatantly discriminatory and have always favoured the visitor or business need above that of the resident.

For decades, we've campaigned at one time or another for more public bins to aid the weekend litter, a quieter square, more pedestrain accessibility, lower speed limits, out of town parking or park and ride buses etc, etc:

I do absolutely appreciate that resources are tight but Calderdale Council appear a law unto themselves, operating in such contradictory fashion. We shall continue to actively campaign for a speed reduction and Residents' parking on our little lane, used by visitors and businesses alike: but only since 2018 so there's still 'hope' all be it pithy. 

From Ms P. Finch

Saturday, 2 July 2022

The worst thing for me on the towpath is cyclists assuming we can hear them coming behind us. I now have a habit of shouting 'please call out' as they pass.

Also of calling out 'Bike! loudly if someone doesnt see them coming. Those considerate bikers who have bells are a godsend.