Tenter Street Sheffield: More consultation planned on controversial changes to busy rush-hour road
Plans to halve the capacity for vehicles on one of Sheffield’s busiest roads have yet to get final approval.
Senior politicians will be asked whether to give the green light to the Tenter Street scheme once a full business case has been completed, The Star can reveal.
The proposals would see the road, which links Broad Lane with West Bar, reduced to one lane in each direction and a two-way cycle track, a ’continuous footway’ giving priority to pedestrians and landscaping on both sides.
They are part of ‘Connecting Sheffield’ a £50m plan to improve public transport, walking and cycling. It is administered by Sheffield City Council.
Officers are now working on a full business case set to include costings, timescales and a second round of consultations, this time on new traffic regulation orders.
It is set to go to the ruling executive on Sheffield City Council in about 12 months. If approved, completion of the scheme is required by March 2023.
Some motorists fear the changes will make a rush hour-choked street worse, others welcome the chance to promote active travel and improve the environment.
David Cross, director at Sky-House Co, said the infrastructure had to be in place for people to switch to greener modes of travel.
He said: “Building more roads leads to more traffic. Build less and it leads to less. The grey-to-green initiative has been brilliant.
“More of this and perhaps people will choose a greener way to live and travel. It’s an ugly road that may become more beautiful and encourage more people to live in the city. Think Copenhagen, Scandi countries and the Netherlands.”
Gareth Heald, mobilisation and property management at Transport for London, thought such a change was ‘very unlikely’ due to big differences in culture, needs, population densities and cities ‘designed better for traffic flows from inception’.
He added: “What does happen year-upon-year though is population growth and under-investment in proper transport infrastructure.”
‘PEOPLE NEED CARS’
People ‘needed cars to go about their lives’.
He added: “I’ve no argument to building a proper cycle network in Sheffield but existing busy roads that are/were designed to be used by cars and other motor vehicles shouldn’t be cannibalised in the process for the satisfaction of a militant minority.
“Most people who frequent Sheffield city centre live comfortably outside of it, public transport is limited and has low coverage/penetration into the surrounding suburbs.
“It’s easy for example for London to push bike lanes when buses and tubes are every one or two minutes, cover the entire city and stops are most of the time about a mile apart maximum.
“Sheffield doesn’t have any of that and until it does cars should be given priority.”
Matt Bowker, managing director at CODA Studios, said ‘we have a different culture’ was just an excuse.
He added: “Amsterdam used to be choked with traffic but they made a choice to create a better city.
“Paris is going the same with a visionary mayor showing leadership. New York has shut off Times Square to cars.
“The idea that more roads, cars and traffic makes city centres better and more successful is for the birds with increasing evidence there are all kinds of environmental, economic, and quality of life benefits to doing this. It has to start somewhere to create a network that is better for everyone, not just designed entirely around cars.”
Electric cars weren’t the answer either.
He added: “Electric cars will lower emissions and improve air quality but won’t solve the problem of gridlocked streets full of cars in city centres which are hostile to all other road users, people who pay taxes and have a right to use that road as much as a motorist.
SAFE AND ATTRACTIVE
“If you provide a proper network that is safe, attractive and easy to use more people will use it. The argument that we shouldn’t build a proper cycling network in Sheffield because the council cordoned off a lane with a few traffic cones and thousands of cyclists didn’t turn up to use it doesn’t hold. It takes time to build a proper network that people will use and this scheme can be a part of that.”
In 2020, Sheffield City Region was awarded £166m to improve public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. Some £50m was for Sheffield - an unprecedented sum - resulting in projects across the city.
Today, there are ‘sustainable travel’ schemes planned in the city centre, Neepsend-Kelham, Darnall-Attercliffe and Magna-Tinsley.
The city also has bids into the Active Travel Fund for a Sheaf Valley Cycle Route out to Woodseats and ‘active travel’ neighbourhoods in Crookes and Nether Edge.
The Connecting Sheffield website states: “We are taking a major first step to transform the transport infrastructure that people use to get around the city as part of their everyday lives. Connecting Sheffield is part of the long term vision for the future of travel in your city.
“Over time we want to transform travel in Sheffield by creating high-quality, convenient and safer routes into and around the city for cycling, walking and public transport.
“Following successful bids to Government by Sheffield City Region we have funding from a number of sources to start the work that will transform our city and enable people to make better travel choices.”
It also states the Tenter Street cycle track will travel up Townhead Street and link into the new bike lane on Leopold Street that joins into Pinstone Street, which was closed to traffic in June 2020 to allow social distancing.