‘Missed opportunity’ as £160,000 art scheme goes ahead, says Sheffield cycling campaigner

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A cycling campaigner has described a decision to spend £160,000 on public art in Sheffield instead of a bike path as a ‘missed opportunity to create a world-class environment.’

Sheffield Council agreed to look again at the funding allocation as part of the Grey to Green scheme – a multi-million pound initiative to plant wildflowers, bulbs, plants and grasses along West Bar to Castlegate and narrow the road from four lanes to two – after cyclists said the priorities were wrong.

However,a decision has now been made to press ahead with the public art, to consist of five totem poles along the route.

Matt Turner, of Cycle Sheffield, said: “Grey to Green is a missed opportunity to provide a world-class environment for both walking and cycling.

“We love the concept, the idea of taking away the road space from motor vehicles and reallocating it.

“But narrowing the road, and expecting itwill create a good cycling environment is simply deluded. Then saying if you’re ‘not confident enough’ to ride with traffic, you can cycle on the pavement with pedestrians, demonstrates how the scheme has failed to deliver a good environment for cycling.”

He said there had been a new rat run created as people could now turn right from Snig Hill on to Bridge Street.

A council report said Coun Leigh Bramall, deputy leader, had reviewed the scheme and timetables and supported the revised art scheme and its procurement being agreed now, rather than ordering a further report to cabinet.