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Residents asked to design 'active neighbourhoods' in Crookes and Nether Edge

The Council is inviting citizens to shape plans for "cleaner, safer and quieter" neighbourhoods through walking and cycling improvements following a government grant.

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A Low Traffic Neighbourhood in London.

Matt Seymour on Unsplash.

Residents of two Sheffield neighbourhoods are being asked to help design plans to make their streets better for walking and cycling, as well as reducing congestion, air and noise pollution.

The Council hope Nether Edge and Crookes will become the city's first two 'active neighbourhoods', with possible interventions including traffic filtering and better cycling infrastructure.

The term 'active neighbourhood' is increasingly being used in place of 'low traffic neighbourhood', a phrase which has been dragged into the culture wars after a vocal minority sabotaged traffic reduction schemes in London.

“We need to start seeing change in travel habits for the environment and people’s own health," said Cllr Douglas Johnson, Green Party cabinet member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport.

"Active neighbourhoods are a positive move forward in the right direction and will help people to start to make small changes where they can.”

Consultations are now open on interventions in both areas, following a successful bid by the Council to the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund.

All projects paid for by the bid must be completed by March 2022 as a condition of funding, meaning the consultations are only open for four weeks to allow work to begin as soon as possible.

The Council stressed that, although they've identified areas in both neighbourhoods where they would like to reduce traffic, the location of specific interventions will come from residents' suggestions.

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A traffic filter on Ball Street Bridge in Kelham Island.

Sheffield City Council.

Council officers told Now Then that Crookes had been chosen because it has a high proportion of people who commute short distances to work, and because residents have called for traffic reduction measures.

In Nether Edge, small businesses on Nether Edge Road have asked for traffic interventions and a better use of the existing road space for outdoor seating, events and more regular on-street markets.

Researchers have found that active neighbourhoods (or low traffic neighbourhoods) reduce air pollution and congestion, increase life expectancy, reduce illness relating to a lack of physical activity and have huge economic benefits.

Earlier this week, Labour council leader Terry Fox appeared to pour cold water on his own Council's extensive plans to reduce traffic in the city centre, saying that he wanted to saw down "every bloody gate" used to filter traffic.

In a statement sent to Now Then, Fox said he wanted to make the city look "more attractive and welcoming", adding that he was going to look at the consultation to "make sure we've got things right."

"I need to speak to elected members and the Co-operative Executive, and I need to look at the evidence," he added.

When asked about Cllr Fox's comments, Cllr Johnson told Now Then that although some of the temporary gates "need tidying up" he wanted to "protect the measures in principle that have really improved the public area, improved the air quality and improved the public use of space [in the city centre]."

"There's no real way that you can just open that up to traffic again without undoing everything that we've made progress on over the last year or so, and I think Terry's onboard with that."

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