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Traffic-free Division Street: Trial closure deemed 'wonderful'

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Division Street was closed to cars on 19 and 20 October.

The trial closure of Division Street has been hailed as a success by local residents and business owners.

Most of the city centre road was closed to traffic between 10am and 4pm on 19 and 20 October.

"It was wonderful as people were more relaxed," Karl Hallam of independent opticians EYEYE told Now Then.

Sheffield always feels a bit choked up with cars

"The air was fresher, we were busier with browsers. Make it permanent please."

Sheffield City Council have told Now Then that they have arranged a meeting with CycleSheffield to discuss the recent trial.

"They have been asking people who attended the event and local businesses for their feedback," said Tom Finnegan-Smith, Head of Strategic Transport, Sustainability and Infrastructure.

"We will discuss with CycleSheffield whether they are interested in holding further temporary closures on this street or at other locations."

CycleSheffield will present the collected feedback to Council officers at the upcoming meeting.

Finnegan-Smith said that the Council was already considering measures to improve active travel through the Future High Streets Fund and the Transforming Cities Fund.

So far I've been hearing an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the businesses

The two-day closure was overseen by volunteer marshals working alongside professional stewards. Cars could cross Division Street at Rockingham Street.

"Sheffield always feels a bit choked up with cars," volunteer marshal Brooke told Now Then. "It's a nice chance to see how things are when we get rid of cars and have more space for people."

"Everyone I've spoken to has said 'it's brilliant, why don't you do it sooner?'," she added. "So far I've been hearing an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the businesses."

Traders along the street expressed support for the trial, saying that it led to a boost in footfall.

"It's so lovely seeing kids playing in the streets already", tweeted Debbie Moon of MoonKo, adding that Sunday is normally "dead in the morning."

The trial also received an overwhelmingly positive response from members of the public.

"There was a fantastic atmosphere," said Liz Glover on Twitter. "Really hope this happens again. And again."

Finnegan-Smith suggested that the Council were open to the possibility of permanently closing the street to traffic.

"Any potential permanent schemes will need to be considered carefully so that they best support the future needs of the city," he said.

Sam Gregory

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