Monthly Archives: September 2014

Penistone Road Pinch Points Scheme – Improving traffic flow at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists

Part of the Penistone Road Pinch Points & Better Buses scheme is across the two main desire lines to Hillsborough college. From Hillsborough and the public transport interchange there, and from the bus stop on the west side of Penistone Road. You can review the scheme drawings here.

The design decisions made for this junction show complete contempt for anyone walking or cycling to college (or accessing the Penistone Road cycle track). It’s abundantly clear  that when designing this scheme Sheffield City Council had zero regard for their needs and have given zero consideration to their needs.

The desire lines look something like this. The crossings over Penistone Road that pedestrians and cyclists can use are numbered.

The biggest impact for these users is that the crossings over Penistone Road have been changed.

  • Crossing #1 – Stays the same but gains users that would have used #2
  • Crossing #2 – Removed, people now use crossing #1
  • Crossing #3 – Introduced, this is a new crossing

So, with crossing #2 removed, crossing #1 is now significantly overloaded and hasn’t been designed for the volume of people using it. This photo shows just how bad it can get. People have to wait on intermediary islands because there’s not enough space on the next. A bit like the computer game frogger!

Real life Frogger

Real life Frogger!

This video shows the impact on crossing #1 since crossing #2 has been removed.

In summary this video shows.

  • People waiting in the road because there’s not enough room on the crossing island.
  • People not crossing and waiting for the next phase before they cross because there’s not enough room to cross.
  • Huge conflict between bicycles and pedestrians, there isn’t any separation and it is a very crowded area (this is a toucan crossing!)
  • People crossing against a red lights
  • People not having enough time to cross Penistone Road in one phase
  • Green lights for motor traffic before people have finished crossing and vehicles driving towards people still crossing.

Crossing #3 has been introduced. It is a 4 stage crossing, the first two stages are unsignalled (one has a crossing phase, the other doesn’t, there are always cars turning in on a green light), the other two stages are a toucan crossing.

It is not on the pedestrian desire line and people who used to use crossing #2 will not use it, it’s in the wrong direction!

PR Crossing 3

Penistone Road Crossing #3 – 4 stage crossing, 2 signalised, 1 unsignalised and 1 without a crossing phase at all

Crossing #2 used to take 40 seconds to get across the road, it’s now gone 🙁 And crossing #1? It’s an epic 4 stage crossing, with pens for pedestrians and tiny islands. It takes 4 minutes to get across if you wait for the green man at each stage.

In this video, crossing #2 (removed) is in the top left corner. Crossing #1 is in the main window.

So, in summary: Not good at all.

The solution? I’ll quote from the Sheffield University Masterplan

The experience of walking or cycling around the campus is not a positive experience. Car movement prevails, and the Masterplan must give maximum priority to redressing this imbalance.

Alignement of crossing points to be direct and generous, eliminating staggered crossings

Sheffield University Masterplan - Convenient well placed crossings on desire lines.

Sheffield University Masterplan – Convenient well placed crossings on desire lines.

 

 

Funding for cycling in Sheffield facing 25% cuts

Last week the draft Local Transport Plan spending plans for 2015/16 were presented to the Highway Cabinet Member Decision Session. The headline is that the transport funding allocation is being slashed by 40% and cycle funding is dropping by 25%.

  • Current Year LTP allocation – £4.523m (cycling = £600,000) (20mph £413,000)
  • Next Year LTP allocation – £2.540m (cycling = £450,000) (20mph £400,000)

LTP funding has been diverted away to the Growth Plan Fund by central government. This fund builds large infrastructure projects designed to deliver economic growth (with no other considerations like health or environmental benefits).

An overview of the cycling projects for the past few years is below.

Project Funding 2013/14 (source) £491,000 Funding 2014/15 (source) £600,000 Funding 2015/16 (source) £450,000
Little Don Link £100,000 £50,000
Upper Don Valley £80,000 £80,000 £20,000
Blackburn Valley £85,000 £80,000 £20,000
Signs £10,000 £10,000 £40,000
Green Routes Network £20,000 £80,000 £120,000
Streets Ahead Opportunities £100,000 (later cut to £50,000) £250,000 £200,000
Connect2 £86,000
Lower Don Valley £14,000
City Centre Cycle Ring Route £100,000

*Note* This is Local transport plan spending only. Other grants such as LSTF, Better Buses, Pinch Points are not included.

Quesion: Why is funding for signage increasing 4 fold from £10,000 to £40,000 per year?

On a related note, this year sees the end of LSTF funding (and South Yorkshire seems to be  struggling to spend all the money). Next year we’ll see a new funding source from the Local Growth Fund – the ‘Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme’ which will spend £3.3m in 2015/16 and 13.0m in the following 2 years. This is a South Yorkshire funding stream, it’s not clear how that will be divided between the local authorities, or what it will be spent on.

If we look at this year’s Sheffield LSTF capital expenditure, £360,000 is for cycling out of £2,000,000, 18%. And Sheffield’s share of LSTF overall is perhaps, I’m guessing, 50% of the South Yorkshire spend. That will add £297,000 in 2015/16 and £585,000 each year for the following years in cycling capital expenditure.

The latest I can find on this is from Dick Proctor in a September 2014 report which states that “[4.9] The majority of these new 3 years funds are being unpacked and prioritised by the SY/SCR partnership, and further reports will be brought back to the Committee as appropriate”

 

Yes to 20mph speed limits, but we need to remove through traffic too

20mph Space for cyclingThere are some nice public comments in the latest council report about new 20mph areas in Sheffield.

Fully support the proposal. My husband has a wheelchair and has difficulty crossing because of speeding traffic.

I support the proposal to place a 20mph speed limit around our neighbourhood. Children play out in the streets, and there are also lots of cyclists and to my mind it’s important to prioritise safety over speed.

The proposal should see more people walking, cycling and using active transport as a way of getting around the neighbourhood. It could also lead to more people, taking more responsibility for the general appearance of their neighbourhood and being more neighbourly in general.

It’s about time people remembered their responsibilities instead of grizzling about their rights and recognise what a privilege it is to not only travel faster than your feet can carry you; but to be able to do it sitting down. 20mph is plenty fast enough in a heavily built up, double parked area such as this.

20mph areas are part of the solution to reducing the barriers to cycling and it’s included as one of the Space for Cycling policies.

Space for cycling logo and 6 demands

 

But it’s important to remember that residential streets need 20mph limits AND removal of through traffic. Until high volume traffic is removed from residential streets (including those where 20mph speed limits are applied) people will still be at risk and too afraid to cycle in them. 

I live on a 20mph street which is used by over 10,000 vehicles per day and is definitely not a place where people feel safe enough riding bikes.

If we replace speed with ‘speed and volume’ in the council’s approach, then we get a much more robust and effective policy.

Reducing the speed [and volume] of traffic in residential areas will, in the long term, reduce the number and severity of accidents, reduce the fear of accidents, encourage sustainable modes of travel and contribute towards the creation of a more pleasant, cohesive environment.

I think that this point has been missed and forgotten, and that while our residential streets carry significant volume of traffic we won’t see the full benefits of these 20mph areas.

The council report includes a paragraph on relying on the residents of areas to make these schemes a success. This is true if the vast majority of people who drive too and from these areas are residents or visitors, but while people use these areas as major transport corridors, the needs of high volume motor traffic will continue to dominate the environment.

The key to realising substantially lower speeds on our residential roads lies in affecting a fundamental shift in attitude. The aim therefore is to build a widespread and longstanding community acceptance that 20mph is the appropriate maximum speed to travel in residential areas. Ultimately, the success or otherwise of these schemes lies primarily in the hands of the residents of this area.

Yes to 20mph speed limits, but we need to remove through traffic too.

For more information on reducing through traffic, David Hembrow has lots of information on how segregation can be achieved without building cycle-paths, and how unravelling of modes makes conditions better for cycling.