Sheffield Council bid for £85 million to improve buses and cycling

Sheffield Council is bidding for an ‘exciting’ £85 million which they say will make massive improvements to public transport and active travel.

By Molly Williams
Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 12:07 pm
What the city could look like if the council win the bid.
What the city could look like if the council win the bid.

The money comes from the Transforming Cities Fund from the Department for Transport and the bid is part of a wider push for money by Sheffield City Region.

Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and development, said the money would have a ‘massive’ and noticeable impact for residents.

He said it would help with issues such as making buses more reliable, cycling safer and easier, easing traffic on the roads, improving wellbeing and tackling air pollution.

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He said: “We want to get people in Sheffield cycling, walking and using public transport more. But we know this is a big job and we need to support people to do this. These changes won’t happen overnight. That’s why we’re asking for this funding from government.

“If we are successful this money will pay for a mix of cycling, walking and bus corridors running throughout the city where we know they are most needed.”

Coun Johnson added they were confident the council would win the bid and said progress on drawing up plans would happen quickly.

They are planning to split the money to use 60 percent on active travel and 40 percent on public transport, over a period of three years.

Areas where they are looking at improving the links between the city centre and outer edges include Abbeydale Road, London Road, Ecclessall Road and others. Part of the plans would also include putting in segregated cycle lanes with routes that avoid steep hills and better routes for buses that avoid heavy traffic.

He said: “We need to make sure we’re going to get the best bang for our buck so making sure the active travel infrastructure goes into places where its going to be used.

“It’s about making these alternatives more viable as well. You’ll hear other parties saying we need to discourage car use – that’s all well and good, we all agree with that, but without that alternative it’s a really difficult ask.”

Greg Challis, of transport planning, said they would aim to have plans drawn up before summer 2020 and would be consulting with the public before any plans are finalised.

He said: “It’s probably the biggest thing we’ve had in a long time in Sheffield – we haven’t had this level of spending in ages. It’s very exciting but it’s very early stages but we have to move quite quickly.”

Coun Johnson said: “It’s not about doing politics to people, it’s about enabling what they want. So we’ll put in that bid, we’ve got an idea where these places should go and its up to people to tell us whether we’ve got it right or how they feel that money could be better spent to deliver those objectives in those areas.”

They added there is likely to be some disruption as they make the changes but that it would be beneficial in the long term.

Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region mayor, said: “Our transport network here in South Yorkshire simply isn’t fit for purpose. That’s why, through our ambitious Transforming Cities bid, we aim to make it fit for the 21st century.

“We’ll do this by improving our infrastructure and public transport services, to reduce congestion and journey times, enable more people to walk and cycle, create better access to major employment sites, and improve punctuality, affordability and reliability.

“We’ve been working closely with partners including Sheffield City Council to ensure we get this right, and that our Sheffield City Region bid for £220m in funding – of which half is for Active Travel schemes – will drive the transformational change our communities deserve.”