Sheffield City Council issue major update on future of controversial pop-up cycle lane

A controversial pop-up cycle lane on one of Sheffield’s busiest roads will be removed at the end of August, the Council have confirmed.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 10:09 am

The A61 inner ring-road will return to a two-lane capacity in each direction over the bank holiday weekend at the end of month. The low traffic neighbourhood in nearby Kelham will remain in place and under review.

The temporary traffic measure was implemented in July without consultation as part of Sheffield City Council’s emergency work to create space for social distancing and encourage people to continue walking and cycling following a bicycle boom during the coronavirus lockdown.

Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and sustainability at Sheffield City Council, said: “We have been monitoring the impact of the scheme since it was implemented and feel that with traffic rising to close to normal levels and the summer holidays coming to a close it is now time to end this trial to minimise disruption in the area.

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"This was always intended to be a temporary scheme and it has given us the valuable opportunity to see how active travel infrastructure can be incorporated into our highway network moving forward, at a time when traffic has been at an unprecedented low.”

Coun Johnson said feedback received during the scheme will be used to inform and improve future projects.

He added: “The concept of active travel and creating the infrastructure to support this is a key priority for the Council and is central to our plans for improving Sheffield’s air quality, becoming carbon neutral and reducing congestion in the city.

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many of us incorporating walking and bike rides into our daily routine and as we look to the future it is essential that we do everything we can to encourage people to maintain these healthy habits.”

The pop-up cycle lane on the A61 inner ring-road will be removed at the end of August.

Temporary changes across the city have included widening pavements in busy pedestrian areas to support social distancing, including on Pinstone Street and Fulwood Road, Broomhill. They have divided opinion, however. Critics, including business owners and motorists, have expressed frustration at trade being negatively affected and longer wait times, while some cyclists have welcomed safer routes to get around the city.

Peter Harrold of Shalesmoor-based H Harrold & Sons said: “We are pleased the Council has listened to the issues we put forward and acted on our concerns about the increase in congestion the scheme has created and the associated problems with access this has caused.”

Traffic levels in Shalesmoor were monitored throughout the trial and data shows motor traffic has risen from a low of 38 per cent of usual volumes to 82 per cent in recent weeks.

Cycle Sheffield said: “We feel the creation of a Kelham Island as a low traffic neighbourhood is sufficient at the current time as it has introduced low traffic links for people cycling in the area and has wider benefits for people who live, work and socialise in Kelham.”

Changes have been made in areas across the city as part of the scheme.