Sheffield city centre traffic ban: long-term plan needed for Pinstone Street, says business chief
A Sheffield Chamber chief has called on politicians to come up with ‘a long-term plan for the city centre’ as debate rages over whether to reopen a key street to traffic.
Alexis Krachai, executive director at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said travel patterns had changed for good due to the pandemic, and the climate emergency ‘means we need to do as much as possible to encourage low carbon transport’. He added that more should be done to explain new bus routes into and out of the city centre.
Mr Krachai spoke out as Labour and the Greens - who run the city council in a coalition - argue over the future of Pinstone Street.
Labour leader Terry Fox wants to see it reopen to about half of the bus services it used to carry, all electric. But the Greens want the ban to stay to promote walking, cycling and the environment.
Pinstone Street was closed in June 2020 to allow social distancing, with 27 bus services rerouted to stops a quarter of a mile away, prompting ongoing complaints from users.
Mr Krachai, who is also co-chair of the Sheffield Covid-19 Business Response Group, said the business community wanted political leaders to set out a long-term plan.
He added: “As we get used to living with Covid-19 and focus on the long-term future of the city centre there is question of whether we should go back to how things were or whether now is the right time to think about making some more permanent changes to how we travel about the city centre.
“Anyone who has been on Pinstone Street recently can see how much regeneration work is taking place. Our city centre is changing. These developments mean changes also need to be made to ensure travelling into, around and out of our new city centre is as safe and as conveniently as possible.
“A lot of focus has been changes to bus services. A key priority should be to do even more to explain the new bus routes that come into and out of the city centre.
“We also need to recognise that we are not yet out of this pandemic. We need to have a plan for the city centre...decisions made now need to be made with the long-term in mind.”