Almost £5 million could be spent on new cycle schemes in Sheffield to encourage more people to get on their bikes.
Sheffield Council has unveiled plans for seven new cycle schemes – four city centre routes and three in green spaces.
Eventually the plan is to create a comprehensive network of safe cycle lanes across the city, which connect to routes in the countryside.
Sheffield Council is aiming to get 10 per cent of all journeys in the city made by bike by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2050.
Campaign group CycleSheffield has welcomed the new route plans, but questioned whether many of them will have the impact people were hoping for.
Here we take a look at all the routes individually.
PORTOBELLO STREET - TRIPPET LANE - BARKER’S POOL
This route will start at the University of Sheffield, head along Portobello Street, on to Trippet Lane and through Barker’s Pool, where it will hit a current route at Surrey Street, which goes to the train station.
Despite plans to build the route this summer, work was stalled because the council temporarily diverted traffic from John Lewis along Trippet Lane to Rockingham Street while the new retail quarter is developed.
Dexter Johnstone, of CycleSheffield, said that he approved of the new route, but feared it could be ‘many years off’ due to the new retail quarter development.
Sheffield Council said that work could commence on the route as soon as retail quarter designs were finished – not waiting until the development was built. This could be within a year.
SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY COLLEGIATE CAMPUS - SHEFFIELD STATION.
BUDGET: £546,590 FROM SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT EXEMPLAR PROGRAMME
This route aims to take cyclists off Ecclesall Road, which is one of the most accident-prone routes, via residential roads to the city centre.
Dexter Johnstone, of CycleSheffield, said this was a ‘really great route’ but questioned how people will safely get down Ecclesall Road to access the route. He also raised concerns that part of the route, between Trafalgar Street and Pinstone Street, could not be designed or built due to the new retail quarter.
ATTERCLIFFE - DARNALL BUDGET: £995,000 FROM STEP
Dexter said that CycleSheffield have ‘major issues’ with this route.
He said: “At nearly £1million, it is expensive and who exactly is going to use it?
“It also appears to be extremely winding and indirect therefore not an intuitive route.
“We think that the council should start with major routes into the city centre.
“It’s not a good way to spend the limited money they have.”
Sheffield Council said this route would eventually form part of an extensive Lower Don Valley network. They added that there are many workplaces in the area which stand to benefit from the route.
WAVERLEY - HANDSWORTH
BUDGET: CURRENTLY UNFUNDED
This route will connects the Waverley estate and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to the National Cycle Network route 627. The route will involve a bridge over Handsworth roundabout.
Dexter said this was a ‘very useful’ link that would be welcomed by CycleSheffield.
Sheffield Council said it was hopeful that this route would get funding from STEP – South Yorkshire’s Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme.
COMPLETION OF BLACKBURN VALLEY CYCLE ROUTE BUDGET: £950,000
The current off-road route runs from Meadowhall to Ecclesfield. The next section to Smithy Wood should be constructed by March 2017.
Dexter said that, while he welcomed any new cycle routes in the city, he said that the council should make city centre routes their priority.
He said: “This seems like a lot of money to spend on a leisure route while many parts of the city centre have no cycling infrastructure.”
Sheffield Council said that encouraging people to cycle had to be about more than simply riding to work and that leisure routes are as vital as commuting.
ROUTE SIX & SEVEN
LITTLE DON LINK
BUDGET: £1,725,000 FROM STEP
This cycle route is being developed to link North Sheffield with the Peak District, via Wharncliffe Woods, Deepcar, Stocksbridge and Langsett.
Sheffield Council plan to complete the Little Don Link by March 2018.
Dexter again stressed he believed that the council should make city routes their priority.
He said: “I worry that, as the STEP funding needs to be spent by March 2018, the council are spending money on green routes as they are much easier to achieve but won’t do anything to get people out of their cars.”
The council said that this route was a fantastic leisure option. Coun Steve Wilson, the council’s ‘cycling champion’, said: “We want to create routes where everybody feels safe.
“This will be a fantastic place for families and novices to cycle. It’s important we champion cycling as a leisure activity too.”
In other news:
http://www.thestar.co.uk/sheffield-wednesday-fixtures-results|Get all the latest Owls stats|click here}