Category Archives: council

‘Sheffield gets cycle-friendly’

StarThis was the title of a piece in The Sheffield Star newspaper this morning reporting on a petition to Sheffield Council discussed at last weeks general council meeting.

I’ve written about cycle audits in the past and Sheffield’s failed commitment to conduct them. Recently CycleSheffield members were encouraged to write to their councillors and ask for cycle audits to begin ASAP. Many many people did this and I’ve heard that the council was inundated with questions from Councillors trying to get information.

This campaign had the desired effect and Sheffield Council have announced that they will introduce cycle audits and will be creating a new staff position in the council to conduct them.

The cycle audits will review schemes from the very inception to the finished product (pre-planning permission, planning permission review, detailed design and construction). We should begin to see bicycle traffic considered at the inception of highways schemes in Sheffield rather than just added on as an afterthought.

PI_Councillor_166“We have made a commitment that in the next financial year we are putting someone in post to conduct cycle audits… in any schemes coming forward they will be conducted”
Councillor Leigh Bramall – Chair of Sheffield Cabinet Highways Committee

 

This is a huge success and wouldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of CycleSheffield members.

Well done.

Full words of the representation I made at Sheffield Full Council meeting last week.

In 2007 this council passed a motion from Councillor Peter Price and gave a commitment to consider bicycle traffic during the design of highways schemes in Sheffield.
In the 6 years since this motion passed, Sheffield still does not consider bicycle traffic as a matter of course when designing highways schemes.
This petition and related representations to councilors over the past few months has the aim of highlighting this problem and to ask Sheffield Council to follow through with this commitment by adding cycle audits to all highway design projects.”

Main roads in Sheffield – for confident cyclists only

P1050814.resizedI attended the Sheffield City Council Highways Cabinet Committee meeting earlier in the week and asked a question about a new preliminary junction design in Broomhill. A pedestrian crossing with a mid island is being introduced along with a new slip road to allow left turns.

Broomhill preliminary junction design - approved without any consideration being given to people on bicycles

Broomhill preliminary junction design – approved without any consideration being given to people on bicycles

“How have the needs of people riding bicycles been taken into consideration when evaluating the preliminary design options? I can find no discussion on this in the report”

The answer was very long winded and didn’t answer my question directly, so I replied

“So you haven’t given any consideration to cyclists at this stage?”

“No” was the answer.

A local councillor suggested that the council should place signs advising of alternative routes on quieter roads. Dick Proctor, Transport Planning Manager at Sheffield Council agreed and added that,

“We (Sheffield City Council) design main roads for confident cyclists only”

Others have long argued that this strategy will not encourage people to use bikes and I strongly agree. David Arditti wrote about this in his blog Vole O’Speed recently in relation to the London Cycling Network, I shall quote him.

But there were no answers to the simple observation that the minor roads are minor because, in general, they are not the most useful through-routes to anywhere that people need to go. Cycle route planning does need to start from the recognition that cyclists, or, should I say, people on bikes, are normal human beings who need to do the same things that everybody else needs to do: go to the same shops, schools, offices, stations, that are all linked, most usably and efficiently, by the main roads. Forcing an invariable, inevitable compromise between directness (and priority) and safety was never going to be a route to success. As I have said before, fundamentally, cyclists no more belong on the minor roads than do motor vehicles or pedestrains, and successful route planning in both the Netherlands and Denmark, to my knowledge, has been based on the procedure of looking first at where cyclists go already, and then providing safe infrastructure for them in those places: quite the reverse of the LCN approach.

It doesn’t look like this junction will be made safe for cyclists any time soon, Dick Proctor thinks there is no need because only confident cyclists will use it. This is the reason 1.9% of people’s journeys to work are by bicycle in Sheffield 🙁

The preliminary design was approved at the meeting.

No need for cycle infrastructure - it's a main road only confident cyclists will use it

No need for cycle infrastructure – it’s a main road only confident cyclists will use it (this is not the junction in Broomhill but another one in the centre of Sheffield)