Plea for bus gate review

Start of Wicker bus gate at Park Square Roundabout
Start of Wicker bus gate at Park Square Roundabout
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They said it couldn’t be done...

But safety concerns used to justify 24-hour bus gate restrictions on the Wicker which traders say are killing their businesses have been overcome in another city.

Sheffield Council officers claimed it was impossible to stop motorists making a banned left turn onto the inner ring road into the path of a pedestrian crossing, if general traffic was allowed down the street during the evenings and overnight.

All vehicles except buses, cycles and taxis are banned from driving across the junction with the new inner ring road between the shopping side of the street and Wicker Arches.

Offenders caught on camera are fined.

Businesses say restrictions make the street a ‘no-go area’ and collected 2,000 signatures on a petition calling for the hours to be relaxed.

In Derby an identical junction has been created on a new inner ring road where safety concerns highlighted in Sheffield have been ‘designed out’.

An approach similar to the Wicker is open to all traffic - with warning signs, a sharp corner and raised kerb to prevent drivers making the banned turn.

Farooq Hussain, owner of Manu Salwar takeaway on the Wicker, said: “Trade is down 60 per cent since the bus gate was installed.

“The road should be reopened in the evenings.

If another council could find a solution to the safety problem, Sheffield should try harder. They should look at it again.”

Fellow trader Adam Sisman, of Sisman Electrical, added: “The council should solve the safety problem, if can be done elsewhere.

“The Wicker has a reputation as a no-go area with the bus gate.

“It should be like Hillsborough, so restrictions are only at rush hour.”

But bus company First said: “It’s important the 24- hour rule stays because any relaxation would encourage motorists to break driving habits.”

Derby Council says there have been no accidents since the junction was built.

Sheffield Council declined to comment ahead of a cabinet highways committee meeting on June 9, which will review how the bus gates are operating.