Motorists’ victory as bus priority traffic lights to be removed at last

Chesterfield Road, Woodseats
Chesterfield Road, Woodseats
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REMOVAL of controversial bus priority traffic lights on the A61 at Woodseats is set to be formally approved by Sheffield Council this week.

A report to the authority’s cabinet highways committee has recommended the traffic lights on the Meadowhead approach to the suburb should be removed and the bus lane extended downhill.

It would join the restored bus and left turn lane on approach to the Abbey Lane junction.

The A61 used to be two lanes in each direction until it was narrowed to a single lane each way five years ago as part of a £4 million scheme designed to improve traffic flows and speed-up public transport.

The project caused so much congestion traffic fell 16 per cent as drivers used alternative routes - but bus journeys were just 30 seconds faster.

In the report, officers say: “The current traffic control measurements on Meadowhead are too complex and not supported by residents and drivers. Available space on Meadowhead is not being used effectively.

“Changes are proposed which will not materially affect bus operations but which will be much more acceptable to the public.”

A separate, independent study commissioned by Sheffield Council found the Meadowhead approach to Woodseats was “very unpopular with the travelling public to the point they are seen as a key reputational issue for the council”.

Funding for the work, which would result in the loss of a small number of parking spaces, would come from the 2011/12 local transport budget.

Coun Simon Clement-Jones, Lib Dem councillor for Beauchief and Greenhill and cabinet member for finance, said: “Many of my constituents pass through this junction daily and have been incensed by the change put in by Labour back in 2007.

“It’s great news for them that we have got the officers to admit it was a mistake and a change is on the cards.

“It’s just a shame Labour didn’t properly consult with local people in the first place and imposed their anti-car ways to the detriment of all road users.”