Plan for all day bus lanes on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road in Sheffield
Buses are set to sail past congestion on two major roads in Sheffield under new plans to downgrade driving and get commuters out of their cars.
Bus lanes could operate from 7am to 7pm on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road and be enforced by strict London-style ‘Red Routes’ which ban all other vehicles from stopping, waiting or loading.
Traffic lights could be reprogrammed to turn green when a bus approaches for up to five miles from the city centre to the suburbs.
The proposals are part of the £55m Connecting Sheffield scheme which aims to encourage people to switch to walking, cycling or public transport, ‘particularly when commuting to work’ to combat climate change and improve health.
Both roads suffer badly with congestion at rush hour. Outside of these times cars can park in bus lanes.
Coun Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, environment and transport at Sheffield City Council, said faster, more reliable buses would encourage commuters to leave cars at home.
He added: “We know it is difficult for people to use public transport because buses don’t get priority - they need faster routes to make sure they are consistently reliable.
“Public transport is a critical part of our future, we will need people to catch the bus to take cars off the road. I know it’s been said, but it’s so important I will say it again; we need to make it easier to travel by public transport so people can choose to leave the car at home. This will help reduce traffic congestion, improve the air we breathe, and make us a healthier city.”
So far, five schemes have been consulted on over the past year. Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road are the final set of proposals.
Improvements to bus stops are in the plans, including better seating and real-time updates.
New 12-hour bus lanes could operate from 7am to 7pm during the week - and some restrictions could be extended to the weekend, based on feedback.
Officials are also undertaking surveys to judge the impact on parking.
Green light priority for buses would apply at 20 traffic lights in the five miles from the bottom of The Moor up Ecclesall Road to Abbey Lane, and 3.7 miles along Abbeydale Road to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet in Beauchief.
At Hunters Bar Roundabout, the outbound bus lane just after the roundabout would be removed to improve traffic flow, as would the bus stop.
The inbound bus stop in front of Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club, would be moved closer to the entrance to Endcliffe Park off Rustlings Road. It would have a new layby for buses out of the traffic.
Meanwhile, on Abbeydale Road, ‘inbound’ bus lanes could be removed to improve flow, including between Knaresborough Road and Springfield Road and between Sherwood Glen and Abbey Lane.
The plan follows COP26, the Department for Transport’s National Bus Strategy: Bus Back Better and the submission of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, all of which commit to making public transport better and more accessible.
The proposals are funded through the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority was awarded £166m, with £55m going to Sheffield for active travel and public transport improvements across the city.
Consultation runs on these ‘initial ideas’ until Thursday December 16. A formal consultation will follow next year.