Plans for 621 mile cycling and walking network across Sheffield region

A large scale plan to create a 621-mile network dedicated to cycling and walking across South Yorkshire has been unveiled.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 1:48 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 12:30 pm

Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield City Region active travel commissioner, has outlined a master plan to aspire to build proper cycle lane infrastructure and improved pathways for walking.

The blueprint is designed to change the way people travel.

Journeys of up two kilometres, or 1.25 miles, are urged to be taken on foot and those up to 5km, or 3.11 miles, on a bike.

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Sheffield City Region Active Travel commissioner Dame Sarah Storey. Picture Scott Merrylees

The network will aim to feature 800 safe crossings for people travelling on foot or by bike, and nearly 200 sq miles of low traffic neighbourhoods, which see streets ‘transformed into places where you can relax and play safely’, with very little through traffic.

At present, 40 per cent of current car commuting trips are journeys of less than 1km in length.

By enabling active travel, it is forecasted that walking and cycling could be increased by 21 per cent and 350 per cent respectively, by 2040.

One key aspect of the plan is to start looking at roads with speeds above 30 miles per hour, with more than 250 vehicles per hour, or significant flows of large vehicles which should segregate active travellers.

How Sheffield City Region hope the active travel network could look in 20 years

SCR bosses also want to signal ‘an end’ to painted cycle lanes and shared use footways, which it is said have ‘not proved successful’ in recruiting large numbers of new cyclists in the region.

In most cases this would require a two-metre-wide lane, clear of street furniture.

However, where bi-directional wheeled and cycle traffic is being planned, this would require a 3m-wide lane.

Dame Sarah, a multiple Paralympic gold medal winning cyclist, also revealed the SCR is looking at all routes to continue across junctions in a straight line and retain ‘priority over turning vehicles’.

It is said they are working closely with Chris Boardman, Dame Sarah’s counterpart in Greater Manchester and an Olympic gold medal winning cyclist, on the trial and implementation of ‘side road zebras’.

SCR active travel bosses want nearly all of pedestrian crossings to cross in a single phase, without having to wait in the middle of the road with a minimal wait time after pressing the button.

A report seen by council leaders admit at present the SCR does not have all of the necessary funding to deliver this plan.

The successful Transforming Cities Fund bid will support the delivery of some of the interventions, but further funding will be required to deliver what is desired in the plan.

In the first five years, SCR bosses want to complete 14 active travel schemes.

The 14 schemes include:

A new ,high quality segregated cycle route along the A6178 Sheffield Road to help support active travel links between Rotherham, Meadowhall and Sheffield;

Promoting active travel for accessing employment opportunities in Sheffield city centre, the Lower Don Valley, including AMID, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, and Rotherham, including from Attercliffe and Darnall, Kelham, Neepsend and Burngreave, and Nether Edge;

Improved access between Mexborough town centre and the rail station and Doncaster college and the rail station;

Connecting outlying settlements to the growing economic opportunity by providing a new connection into the iPort site from Rossington for buses and active travel modes and Thorne and Moorends to Unity by active travel modes;

Improving accessibility and connectivity by providing better walking and cycling routes in Armthorpe, Balby, Wheatley, Long Sandall and Edlington improving accessibility and connectivity by providing better walking and cycling routes through Doncaster town centre, including St Mary’s Gyratory, North Bridge Road, Cleveland Street and Bennetthorpe;

Connecting Maltby to the main urban centre of Rotherham with localised enhanced active travel routes within the corridor;

Providing better active travel routes to enable more walking and/or cycling through Rotherham town centre, including links to Forge Island;

New cycling route linking Barnsley town centre to the housing growth areas in Darfield and on to the housing and employment growth area in Goldthorpe and the wider Dearne Valley;

Improving walking routes into Barnsley town centre from the Hospital, including along Huddersfield Road;

Dame Sarah told South Yorkshire council leaders at a recent meeting: “I want to thank you for reacting positively and considering and implementing temporary infrastructure at haste to make it safe for pedestrians and cyclists in these times of social distancing.

“We know our ambitious plan sets out how South Yorkshire can be a leader in active travel provision, creating a network to join people from where they live to the places they want to go on foot or by bike enabling them to be less reliant on their cars for the shortest of journeys.

“As part of the plan, journeys of up to two kilometres for those who are able should be on foot and journeys up to five kilometres by bike and that part of the plan is to provide the facilities to enable that as well as looking at bike hire and secure parking.”