Big queues on major Sheffield road as one lane is given over to cyclists

There were big queues this morning after one lane of a busy Sheffield road was closed to make more space for cyclists.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 6th July 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 12:02 pm

The A61 Shalesmoor on the outskirts of the city centre has been reduced to one lane for motor vehicles between Shalesmoor roundabout and the Corporation Street roundabout to create a fully segregated cycle path.

The closure, which came into effect on Sunday, July 5, is part of temporary changes to roads and footpaths across the city in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the increase in people walking and cycling. Ball Street and Alma Street in nearby Kelham Island have also been closed to motor vehicles.

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Traffic on the A61 Shalesmoor in Sheffield, where a segregated cycle lane has been created

The move was welcomed by cyclists but it has not gone down well with some drivers and businesses in the area.

Peter Harrold, co-owner of H Harrold & Sons Ltd locksmiths on Shalesmoor, claimed it had been badly thought out and rushed through with no public consultation.

He shared photos of long queues and a video of a paramedic having to get out of an ambulance to move the barriers after getting stuck while responding to an emergency call.

“Whoever’s designed this has never been in business, I’m sure, because it’s ridiculous,” he said.

A map showing the changes to the road layout (pic: Sheffield City Council)

“There was already a cycle lane outside our premises and there’s just no need for this.

“I can’t understand why they’ve shut off access to businesses with no consultation. We’re just coming back from lockdown and if they want to close us for good this is the way to go about it.”Dave Newsam said: “This is one of the busiest roads in Sheffield and there’s already a cycle lane which is rarely used.

“I’m all for making more room for cyclists but there must be another way without halving what is a spine out of Sheffield to the north and creating big queues which are only adding to air pollution.”

Steven Clarke called the change ‘totally inept planning’, and Tom King said: “While sat in traffic due to this “new initiative” for 20 minutes this morning I didn’t see a single cyclist or pedestrian.”

Dexter Johnstone, of the campaign group Cycle Sheffield, said: “We know that congestion in Sheffield is caused by too many people making too many short journeys by car (within the city region 40 per cent of commuter journeys of 1km are made by car snf 64 per cent of commutes up to 5km are by car).

“This is why it is vital that Sheffield Council start to create attractive alternative options such as protected cycle lanes to enable more people to cycle, especially given the reduction in public transport capacity due to Covid-19.

“Protected cycle lanes are able to transport 10x more people than a car lane because cycling is a far more efficient use of valuable road space.

“We have seen in London that once protected cycle lanes are created these can be used by emergency vehicles to bypass motor vehicle congestion (just the same as bus lanes) and once protected cycle lanes are installed in Sheffield this will happen here too.”