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Sheffield Council announce radical transport vision

City planners have set out ambitious plans for a city-wide transformation, including walking, cycling and public transport improvements.

Visualisation of Arundel Gate to Eyre Street 002

How Arundel Gate could look with more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Sheffield City Council.

Sheffield City Council have announced ambitious plans to improve transportation links across the city over the next three years.

A series of projects including active travel schemes, bike storage hubs and bus improvements will fall under a new 'Connecting Sheffield' brand.

The schemes are the result of a successful bid to the government's Transforming Cities Fund, and must be completed by March 2023 as a condition of funding.

"Connecting Sheffield is a major first step in overhauling our transport network to put walking, cycling and public transport at the forefront of travel choices available in our city," said Cabinet Member for Transport and Development Bob Johnson.

The plans focus on 'key travel corridors' including the city centre, Ecclesall Road, Abbeydale Road, Kelham Island, Darnall and the Don Valley route between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Sheffield City Region, which includes Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, has been awarded £166m from the Transforming Cities Fund, of which £50m is for Sheffield.

One proposal would see the roundabout at Furnival Gate removed to create more space for cyclists, pedestrians and greenery.

Other plans include a new tram-train stop for Magna and Tinsley, and smart traffic lights that would speed up late-running buses along major routes like Abbeydale Road.

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Visualisation of Town Hall Square.

Sheffield City Council.

All schemes will be put to public consultation starting in the coming weeks, with construction due to take place from November 2021 to March 2023.

Dan Jarvis, the Mayor of Sheffield City Region, said that the Transforming Cities money would help create a transport system in South Yorkshire "fit for the 21st century."

“Revolutionising how we travel to include modes which are beneficial to the health of both the planet and our people is vital as we develop a stronger, greener and fairer economy and society for South Yorkshire," he said.

The Council also want to create a Dutch-style bike parking hub in the city centre, similar to the facility already in place at Sheffield Station. Users will be able to book spaces via an app, with further bike hubs planned for Kelham Island, Ecclesall Rd and Broomhill.

It's anticipated that future transport improvements supported by other funding bids will also fall under the Connecting Sheffield banner.

“I am delighted to see Sheffield launch Connecting Sheffield which will deliver their active travel plans over the coming years," said Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner at Sheffield City Region.

"We have been working closely with Sheffield City Council to enable their ambitions for walking and cycling to become a reality."

In response to coronavirus and the need for social distancing, a number of temporary measures have been put in place across Sheffield to make walking and cycling easier.

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Plans under the Connecting Sheffield project funded by the Transforming Cities Fund.

Sheffield City Council.

These include the pedestrianisation of parts of Pinstone St and Division St, and the removal of parking spaces at Broomhill to create more space for pedestrians.

Pavement cafe licenses have also been made free, leading to hundreds of applications for outdoor seating in the sunnier months after the first lockdown.

Vittles Cafe, a family-run business in Broomhill, have embraced the scheme, telling Now Then in September that it made up for capacity lost inside for social distancing.

"We get comments about how 'cool' our setup is and I am amazed that people are happy to be seated outside in cold or even rainy weather," said owner Mick Caswell.

Caswell now wants to see the scheme extended past the planned end date of 31 December, saying that it "suits both cafe owner and customer."

“It’s a winning scheme and we thank the Licencing Service at Sheffield City Council for allowing us to proceed with this.”

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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