'We have already murdered Sheffield city centre, next on the list seems to be Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road' - reader's letter

I feel compelled to write to The Star about this consultation for the bus lane, Ecclesall Road changes. I know that The Star are trying to show a balanced opinion but the comments made in support so far from random people don’t seem the slightest bit relevant.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 2:21 pm

I am sure it is currently a hot topic but I wanted to put some points of view forward in the hope that someone might actually listen to the damage that this is going to do to local businesses – we have already murdered the city centre, next on the list seems to be Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road.

This proposal massively overlooks no end of factors and I would love to read the research done before this was actually even accepted as a suggestion. If there has been extensive research done into the volume of traffic and the differences these proposed changes could make, this should be openly available to local people so that we can form opinions based on facts.

However, in the meantime, comparing our public transport system to London is laughable. We can only presume they are trying to compare Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road to central London (CC zone) where they have comprehensive transport options of the underground, electric taxis, proper cycle lanes, and a proper bus service that operates with safe camera-ed buses, electronic reliable waiting time updates within bus stops, safer bus stops, where all children under 11 travel free on public transport and where Oyster cards can make public transport affordable etc. If you were to hold a map of transport options, regularity of public transport, and routes, side by side for Sheffield and central London, it would be simple to see where this comparison falls flat on its face. There has been plenty of comment online surrounding unreliability of buses, quality of the transport, regularity of services, and locations of bus stops to prove that we are by no means comparable to such a place as central London. You will also find that travelling around Sheffield on public transport is more expensive, and we are therefore allowing bus companies to print money already with the charges, where often it is substantially cheaper to drive, and with current strikes for pay increases, it is simple to see which way charges are going.

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Traffic lights on Ecclesall Road could be reprogrammed to turn green when a bus approaches at 20 lights for five miles from the city centre to the suburbs.

We then have to attempt to understand the impact on local businesses, who already can't park on side streets because of the volume of permits that are handed out to students where some properties have multiple permits for terraced houses, and where the volume of permits issued already is much higher than the number of available spaces, another fact that should be fully quantified and made public by the local authority who happily take payment for resident permits knowing that there aren’t enough spaces to park. Visitors to local businesses will not all take public transport, no matter what changes are made, meaning that either they will further exacerbate the parking problems, or give up and go elsewhere.

We also need to consider the cost of this, which would be how much? And who is paying? Is this another council tax increase to expect? We are talking about cameras in all locations where vehicle registration numbers can be recorded and owners fined, in areas of high local crime where there is already a lack of CCTV and monitored surveillance for everyday criminal activity - how this traffic system change can be considered above tackling day to day crime is mindless to say the least. More statistics need to be published by local authority to show the importance of reducing the volumes of burglaries, anti-social behaviour, shoplifting, and the most popular offence in S11 most recently which is violence and sexual offences, all which remain unobserved or monitored by acceptable CCTV systems.

We absolutely have to consider people with physical disabilities, not all buses are set up for wheelchair access, and under the new concept scheme they would be penalised if they stopped to be dropped off in this red zone, forcing people to potentially have to park on side roads on double yellow lines just to be able to get access to local shopping facilities.

Currently the local authority collect thousands in parking fees for parking on meters on Ecclesall Road, I presume they would hope to make this back in fines and private companies such as Capita would benefit, but the REAL problem here is that the problem DOES NOT EXIST! We have had an office on Ecclesall Road for 28 years and there is no problem with traffic flow between 9am and 4pm. I invite the local authority researchers to spend a month in my office looking out of the window to prove this fact. Making this change is a hugely costly and inappropriate action to take.

Nicola Spencer.

It is plain to see there need to be changes to various roads, like Rustlings Road, where buses are frequently stuck because of double parked cars, where the park-side of the street should be double yellow lines, and on roads like Oakbrook Road where people are often double parked making it barely possible for buses to get through. Other areas of traffic congestion sit around schools and drop off points for a short time in the morning and afternoon, which can't be helped in many scenarios because there is no safe school transport for smaller children.

This is not London - we do not have the volume of buses, the volume of bus stops, the infrastructure in place to properly police this. This is the wrong priority, will crucify local businesses, will inflate parking charges in private car parks, students should not have the right to multiple permits per terraced house, the motive should not be damaging to livelihoods, to penalise people who need their cars for work despite local authority thinking we should all conduct our business by public transport or by bicycle .... and don't get me started on traffic lights changing automatically as buses approach, I give it a week before someone gets run over!

This policy does not consider so many different aspects of society requirements and is painfully sad to see, although local businesses may be wise to offer to pay a reduced business rate contribution for the fact that only a very small percentage of the population will be able to access their services damaged by the local authority making knee-jerk policy decisions on behalf of the minority for all the wrong reasons. Make a start by improving public transport services, looking into how to reduce congestion on roads such as Rustlings Road, increasing the number of electric taxis on the road to reduce emissions, and by looking into the number of streets that have permit parking and how many permits can be handed out per household, only when things are in better shape all-round could there even be the start of an argument for such extreme policing of car use.