Sheffield could soon have road "travel lanes" for walkers, runners and cyclists

Sheffield is about to join Scotland and cities like New York, Barcelona and Berlin by putting in emergency measures to help people walking and cycling under the Covid-19 social distancing rules.
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After consultations with groups promoting walking and cycling, Coun Bob Johnson, Sheffield Council transport chief, has announced a first tranche of ideas to support those methods of transport.

Thise include bringing forward planned road closures for low traffic neighbourhoods to help people walking and cycling, retiming pedestrian crossings to prioritise walkers and cyclists crossing busy roads, and using road space to provide emergency pedestrian areas near shops where people are struggling to keep two metres apart.

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He said: “At the moment I’m seeing more people walking and cycling than people in cars, so speed is of the essence for this work.

Runners could soon have their own lanes on Sheffield's roadsRunners could soon have their own lanes on Sheffield's roads
Runners could soon have their own lanes on Sheffield's roads

“I’d like to see these changes starting in the next week or two.” He said the council is also working with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to make two metre social distancing markings at bus stops and crossings, and looking at ‘temporary active travel lanes’, where road space is allocated for walkers, runners and cyclists to help people travel safely at a time when traffic levels are low, although some drivers are choosing to break the speed limit.

Coun Johnson said Sheffield has witnessed nearly an 80 per cent drop in traffic. He said it is now starting to rise, but still nowhere near ‘normal’ levels. He said the initial measures, supported by Sheffield City Region, could be followed by additional ideas to help maintain and increase levels of walking and cycling when the lockdown eases - the public are advised to mark areas they would like addressing on the SCR’s active travel map at cyclewalkscrmap.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk

Coun Johnson said: “I’d like to see these levels of waking and cycling to continue as we come out of the lockdown phase. What we certainly don’t want to see is everyone jumping back into their single use cars.

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“We’ve seen evidence of the use of public transport declining as Wuhan came out of lockdown and people using cars instead. That’s the last place we want to be in.”

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