Councillor Barbara Masters, representative for Ecclesall ward, has campaigned with the Friends of Ecclesall Woods and others for a safe crossing on Abbey Lane for more than a year.
It was confirmed today that Sheffield Council intends to implement a crossing on the busy stretch as part of its active travel plans.
Coun Masters said: “In Sheffield, funding for pedestrian crossings is based on accident statistics so it was clear that safety measures for Abbey Lane would never qualify under the criteria used. As City Councillors we had to try a different approach. I have been following trends in travel for some time and it was a matter of anticipating when a push for safety measures here after years of requests being ignored could be effective.
“A combination of factors made us think the time was right to move forward on this. The growing realisation that cars form a barrier to access to our green spaces, the pandemic which encouraged many more out into our green spaces and reconnect with them, the need for Sheffield to build on its Outdoor City offering and the release of money for active travel initiatives from the government have all been factors.
“I pressed for highways regulations to be reappraised for this area and for funding streams to be identified for which safety measures on Abbey Lane would qualify. The Friends of Ecclesall Woods conducted a survey which provided the data underpinning the need for this and council officers were diligent in considering where highways regulations allowed flexibility and in monitoring funding streams for which this scheme would be eligible.
“Many months of anxious waiting are over now that it is official. It’s a relief all round to all involved in bringing it this far. It’s not a done deal yet but we remain optimistic the bid will be approved.”
The council’s plan to put a crossing in place is part of a £11.5 million bid for funding from the government’s Active Travel Fund.
Speaking on the bid, Coun Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “I am particularly pleased with the schemes to make access to nature safer at Ecclesall Woods and for the safety of new and returning students on the busy Crookes Valley Road.”
A petition was launched by the Friends of Ecclesall Woods for the crossing.
Nearly 6,000 people signed it and many left comments sharing experiences of trying to cross the road.
Nicola Pazdzierska said: “My 89 year old mum has enormous difficulty crossing Abbey Lane to the woods. The road is lethal.”
Maisie Langley said: “Abbey lane always feels unsafe and it’s a shame because I love going to the woods but I worry about people’s safety. Also, cars drive far too fast causing harm to people and local wildlife.”
Harry Moore said: “Nearly been run over on multiple occasions, as have many people.”