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Active Travel Further walking and cycling changes announced for Sheffield City Centre

Cycling campaigners have welcomed the proposals from Sheffield City Council.

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Pinstone Street in front of the Town Hall. Photo by Sheffield City Council.

The part-pedestrianisation of Pinstone St is among the second wave of interventions announced by Sheffield City Council to boost walking and cycling during lockdown.

The raft of measures also includes 50 new cycle parking spaces in the city centre and road closures in Kelham Island to create the city's first low-traffic neighbourhood, details of which have yet to be announced).

Announced earlier this month, a section of Division Street between the Great Gatsby and the Frog & Parrot was closed to traffic over the bank holiday weekend but opened for cyclists and pedestrians.

"We are getting somewhere with creating safe space for people in our urban areas," said independent opticians EYEYE. Staff at BrewDog and MoonKo also welcomed the change on Twitter.

"I am really pleased to see Sheffield are adding to the initial schemes announced with these extra measures," said Sheffield City Region Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey.

"Closing roads and pedestrianising parts of the city centre along with increased capacity for bike parking is vital as more businesses start to reopen and people return to the city centre."

The Pinstone St plan will see footpaths widened between Cross Burgess St (near The Co-operative Bank) and the junction with Furnival Gate, while the section past the Peace Gardens will be closed to cars entirely.

Part of Upper Charles Street (up from Union St co-working space) will also be closed to traffic to provide "widened footpaths, cycle link, and the possibility for outside seating areas."

Smaller interventions including widened footpaths will be made in Gleadless Town End, Manor Top, Frecheville, Chapeltown, Stocksbridge, Darnall, Hillsborough and Crookes.

"We're incredibly ambitious about encouraging Sheffielders to make lasting changes in their daily lives following this experience that will improve their health and wellbeing going forward, as well as helping to create a safer, cleaner city," said Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr Bob Johnson.

"We will of course continue to monitor and review these measures regularly so we can make adjustments as necessary."

Cycling campaigners have welcomed the proposals, saying they will "help people walk and cycle whilst following social distancing rules."

"It will also improve bus times by removing some of the circuitous routes through the centre," Dexter Johnstone of CycleSheffield told Now Then. "We hope to see the introduction of much more active travel improvements in the coming days and weeks and we urge the Council to be as ambitious as possible."

Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson, whose Twitter thread criticising the first round of announcements went viral just before the new announcement, said he would like to see plans go further.

"A ban on pavement parking is an obvious step to make more room for social distancing," he told Now Then. "There would need to be proper enforcement of this and other parking infringements.

"A reduction of speed limits in all residential areas to 20mph would make roads safer for all other road users. Segregated cycle lanes are important. Had Sheffield put these in place before now, the need for emergency measures would be a lot less.

Cllr Douglas Johnson said that Green Lane in Kelham Island, home to the Grind Cafe and Stew & Oyster, should only be open to traffic from local residents and businesses, with a similar scheme on Edmund Rd near Bramall Lane.

He also called for "substantial interventions" on some of the biggest arterial roads leading to the city centre, including Abbeydale Road, Ecclesall Road, Chesterfield Road and Burngreave Road.

A pioneering scheme in the London borough of Waltham Forest has seen many residential streets closed to cars at one end, eliminating 'rat runs' and reducing traffic speed.

Dame Storey said that Kelham Island will be the "first of what I hope will be many" low-traffic neighbourhoods in Sheffield, and encouraged all city residents to add their suggestions for further walking and cycling interventions to an interactive travel map.

"Our key priority is to promote walking for journeys up to 2km and cycling for journeys up to 5km to ease the burden on public transport, and boost everyone's health."

Filed under: #Coronavirus

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