The news that safer cycle routes are planned for Sheffield is good news. It benefits all road users if it reduces people’s reliance on cars.
The pandemic has caused a notable shift in public attitudes – we need to take action to improve air quality and make roads safer for all road users. How we achieve that is the issue.
Having a reliable, frequent and affordable public transport system is key to this but developing one has suffered a huge setback due to Covid and we won’t see significant improvements there for some time. However, the Government has released money for authorities to improve their cycleways. The catch? The routes must be in place by next March.
In Sheffield we are all too aware that cycle routes imposed in a hurry and without consultation tend not to work as intended.
Shalesmoor is a case in point. This time route planners are consulting but they have a difficult brief.
They need to make use of existing routes as much as possible, ensure they are cycle-friendly to encourage more of us who are able to get out of our cars, ensure businesses can continue to have access to their premises and ensure routes for motorists do not increase their journey times and lengths.
All this in a matter of months and that limits the choices which ideally could be available.
The Sheaf Valley Cycle Route, which runs from Woodseats Road into the city centre, is one of the routes to be upgraded, with the consultation running until August 13.
The three of us decided to walk the route so that we could make meaningful contributions to the consultation.
One of us is a regular cyclist who already uses sections of the route, another is a cyclist and a walker familiar with it and the third is a walker unfamiliar with most of it.
We certainly earned our drink at the end.
We have submitted our comments. We would strongly urge others to do the same using the link https://connectingsheffield.commonplace.is/proposals/sheaf-valley-cycle-route
Small tweaks on the route can make a significant difference to its useability and it’s better to try to get changes incorporated now than put up with problems afterwards.
Sheffield only gets money for this once so let’s get it spent right.