'Confusing' bus gates in Sheffield could be changed after 'lash-up' complaints

How the Glossop Road bus gate looks when in operation
How the Glossop Road bus gate looks when in operation
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Campaigners fighting to end confusion over bus gates in Sheffield, which appear to have baffled many motorists, have made a breakthrough.

Numerous drivers have either been caught out by restrictions along Glossop Road in the city centre or avoided the street altogether, which some businesses say has cost them thousands of pounds in lost custom.

How the bus gate looks when restrictions are not in place

How the bus gate looks when restrictions are not in place

The westbound stretch of Glossop Road, between Regent Street and Gell Street, is off-limits to drivers on weekdays between 4pm and 6.30pm to prevent delays to buses and trams, but it remains open to all traffic at other times.

Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group (SCCRAG) claims the signs and road markings in place are misleading.

It has been lobbying Sheffield Council to change them but with little success - until now.

The council, which has previously insisted the restrictions are clearly indicated, appears to have had a change of heart.

Businessman Tibor Killi claims confusion over the restrictions has cost him thousands of pounds in lost custom

Businessman Tibor Killi claims confusion over the restrictions has cost him thousands of pounds in lost custom

Its roads contractor Amey has drafted plans for an overhaul, based on SCCRAG's recommendations, and the costs are now being calculated.

The proposals are backed by the University of Sheffield, whose pedestrianisation project outside its Diamond building resulted in the controversial changes to the bus gates on nearby Glossop Road. It is understood to be prepared to fund some or all of the cost of the work.

SCCRAG chairman Peter Sephton described the current system as an 'awful lash-up' which had cost businesses, caused problems for residents accessing their homes and proved potentially hazardous, with drivers making dangerous U-turns on encountering the gate.

"We have campaigned long and hard to get something done and I’m pleased to say that, with support from the University, plans are in hand to alter the signs and reduce many of these problems considerably," he said.

A map of the area with stars indicating the bus/tram gates

A map of the area with stars indicating the bus/tram gates

SCCRAG has objected to the current system since it was first proposed in 2015, though the council only began issuing fines to drivers caught contravening the restrictions by the Regent Street camera in March this year.

The changes now proposed include replacing the variable signs at the gates, which only flash on when the restrictions are in place, with permanent signs indicating the hours of operation.

The road markings would also be altered from 'BUS, TAXI, CYCLE ONLY' to 'BUS GATE'.

Councillor Jack Scott, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "I am really pleased to be working with the University of Sheffield to make much-needed improvements to the road signs in the area.

"Our contractors are currently working on the changes and we expect to share these designs with SCCRAG later this month. I am grateful to SCCRAG for their recommendations and look forward to working with them in the future."

A spokesman for the University of Sheffield said: "We have been working closely with SCCRAG and Sheffield City Council on this issue and we're very pleased that a solution is close to being agreed which is acceptable to all parties."