Letter: Broomhill and Ecclesall Road are not attractive shopping areas as they are so congested that being there is often an unpleasant experience

This letter was written by Karin Hessenberg from Sheffield 10

Monday, 6th December 2021, 1:18 pm

Over the past few weeks, bus services in Sheffield have deteriorated markedly. And now there is a strike. However that dispute is resolved, it seems that the two largest bus companies, First and Stagecoach, want to reduce services.

Meanwhile, just when the South Yorkshire City Region is debating bringing buses under local control, it faces losing one of the few privately run buses that was a public transport improvement. Hulleys, which bravely tried to restore the missing link between Sheffield, Glossop and Manchester, plans to end its Snake X57 service because it hasn't attracted enough passengers. This is a great shame as the X57 also provided access to parts of the Peak District hitherto inaccessible without a car. The Covid pandemic has undoubtedly been a major factor with people avoiding public transport and opting to use cars.

Sheffield council is attempting to improve the reliability of buses with proposals for new bus lanes and extending their operating hours. Unfortunately, some motorists and shopkeepers are concerned about loss of parking spaces.

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Buses around Sheffield City Centre. Picture Steve Ellis.

Research has shown that traders do better business from those on foot or bike. Where places have restricted cars and improved conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, businesses have found increases of 40% or more in turnover. It is a myth that trade comes mostly from car drivers. In reality pedestrians spend far more in shops and cafes because people are attracted to peaceful and safe areas.

Broomhill and Ecclesall Road are not attractive shopping areas as they are so congested that being there is often an unpleasant experience. Traffic dominates, there is air pollution, noise, danger, and it is difficult to cross the road.

Sheffield urgently needs good bus services and far better conditions for walking and cycling to tackle the climate emergency. It's better for business, too.