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No more Sheffield Highways Cabinet Member Decision Sessions. No more Sheffield City Region Transport Committee.

Sheffield City Council Highways Cabinet Member Decision Session

A little while ago, the Sheffield City Council Highways Cabinet Member Decision Session meetings were cancelled. This wasn’t announced, the final meeting didn’t include any mention that there would be no more, just cancelled.

When a friend wondered when the next one would be, he was told.

Highway Cabinet Member Decision Sessions will no longer meet at the request of the Cabinet Member. Decisions will be taken by the Individual Cabinet Member as previously and future decisions will be advertised here http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/mgListPlans.aspx?RPId=123&RD=0

Representations on any issue can be made direct to the Cabinet Member who is Councillor Jack Scott who can be contacted as outlined here http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=123


The Sheffield council meetings provided significant information about the decision making process about transport decisions in the city, and the opportunity for members of the public and media to listen to council officers explain their proposals, read the reports(which I think will still be available), ask questions at the meeting and see decisions being made. Now, the decisions are put on a list on the website, no meeting, no discussion (unless in private, “Representations on any issue can be made direct to the Cabinet Member”).
Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee

Now, it turns out that the Sheffield City Region (Combined Authority) Transport Committee has been cancelled too. This is the body who are in charge of HUGE devolution transport spend.

When asked, the authority said:

The Combined Authority is currently reviewing its Governance arrangements and this includes the Transport element of its remit. All transport related issues which require necessary approvals will be considered through the Combined Authority until such time these new arrangements are adopted.

This is the organisation who’ve been given control over very significant amounts of devolution investment and they are the recipients of the Integrated Transport Block funding for the whole of South Yorkshire. The final meeting (in May) didn’t discuss that there would be no more meetings. The subsequent full Combined Authority meetings (June and July) haven’t had any items regarding transport that would normally be discussed at the Transport Committee, no transport project programme updates and no budget/spend monitoring. I also can’t find and mention of the Transport Committee being cancelled in any minutes or agendas anywhere.

What’s going on!?

Byelaws and fining people for leaving vehicle engines running unnecessarily

Sheffield City Council has a consultation open at the moment about giving fines to people who leave vehicle engines running when not driving (idling). I fully support this, and everyone should respond positively to the consultation.

However, I’m confused about one aspect of the consultation, byelaws.

This consultation asks your views on whether Sheffield City Council should introduce and enforce new byelaws … for “no vehicle idling”

…if Sheffield City Council were to undertake enforcement and issue fines we would need to progress a local byelaw

Does Sheffield City Council need a byelaw to give fines to people who leave engines idling? I don’t think so.

The example used in the consultation is Westminster, where they recently passed an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order to enforce this.

The Order will prohibit engine idling by waiting vehicles, with certain exceptions, to facilitate civil enforcement of the contravention

Not a byelaw, but an experimental traffic regulation order. It’s not clear to me exactly how this offence can be enforced by a TRO, I can’t figure out the relevent laws, they’re too confusing. However, sometimes, traffic enforcement in London is very different to the rest of the country and the laws are different. I’ve emailed Westminster to ask but haven’t heard back.

Elsewhere (and in London?) the The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, and before that, the The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) Regulations 1997 could be used. To do that, the local authority has to apply for permission, train some people, and they’re good to go. No TRO, no byelaw, that’s it.

Examples of authorities who’ve done this include, OldhamIslington(2006), Brent(2006), Reading(2016), Kensington & Chelsea (2005), Winchester (2004), North Lincolnshire (2009), and Westminster (2015, before the recent TRO).

So, where did the idea of a byelaw come from? I suspect directly from recent NICE guidelines.

Consider taking action to reduce emissions within the clean air zone. For instance: Introducing fuel-efficient driving initiatives including: Bylaws and other action to support ‘no vehicle idling’ areas

Where did NICE they get this idea that byelaws are required to enforce this in England? I don’t know!

Looking at the DCLG advice for creating byelaws, I don’t believe that a byelaw is allowed to be created for this purpose. They’re very clear that

A byelaw cannot be made where alternative legislative measures already exist that could be used to address the problem.

So, what’s going on? Is this just a case of sloppy terminology in the consultation? Or a more fundamental misunderstand of the law?

I hope Sheffield Council don’t try to create a byelaw covering engine idling. I don’t think it would be legal given other powers they already have and it’s a long, arduous (and probably expensive) process to create new ones. 

Sheffield Council should apply to the Secretary of State for Transport (as other local authorities have done), and start enforcing this law ASAP. Nice and simple. No byelaw needed.

Sheffield still keeping consultations hidden, under wraps, and suppressing responses – Adding pedestrian crossing phases to a crossroads

I’ve written before about consultations in Sheffield, how they’re not advertised, hidden away, and hard to respond to. This is another example. This time it’s about a new pedestrian crossing in Crookesmoor at the junction of Barber Road, Crookes Valley Road and Crookesmoor Road (map).

Consultation about a new crossing at Barber Road / Crookes Valley Road / Crookesmoor Road in Sheffield

Consultation about a new crossing at Barber Road / Crookes Valley Road / Crookesmoor Road in Sheffield

If you think pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes are a good thing, or a bad thing, then you can reply to the consultation, if you receive this letter.

If you search for it in the press, you won’t find anything.

If you search for it on the council’s website, you won’t find anything.

If you search for it on the council’s consultation portal, you won’t find anything.

You have to be on a special email list, or live on one of the houses near the junction to hear about this, then you’ll get a letter.

This was the very first thing I ever contacted Sheffield council about, 9 years ago, in 2008. I crossed this junction daily on foot, I was fed up with there only being traffic lights for cars and no pedestrian crossing phases. I would want to know about this consultation, I would want to reply to it in support, but the only way I know about it was because CycleSheffield are on one of those email lists and wrote about it on their Facebook page.

Why is everything so hard in Sheffield?

A traffic count on Tonbridge High Street, 13,600 vehicles per day

Tonbridge High Street 1st March 2017

I did a quick traffic count on Tonbridge High Street a few days ago.

It showed that at about 17:00, there are about 1,360 motor vehicles per hour using the road.

Using the rule of thumb, 10x hourly peak traffic = day traffic, that gives 13,600 motor vehicles a day using Tonbridge High Street.

Putting this into perspective for cycling,

  • London Cycle Design Standards give a critical failure to any street where total volume of motor traffic is > 1,000 vehicles/hour at peak and cyclists are not separated. Green is <200 vehicles per hour at peak.
  • The Welsh Active Travel Guidance gives a critical failure to any street where total volume of traffic is > 10,000 vehicles per day, and cyclists are not separated. Green, is 2,500 vehicles per day.
  • The UK LTN2/08 says that for > 10,000 vehicles per day, cycle lanes or tracks are required.

So, Tonbridge High Street is not a place where many people would find it comfortable to cycle.

(My data is available here – Tonbridge High Street Traffic Count 1st March 2017)

A masterclass from Sheffield City Council in suppressing consultation responses by making it difficult to respond

Sheffield Council are “consulting” on a major public realm redevelopment (Knowledge Gateway) in the City Centre, they’ve made it very difficult to respond by hiding the details of how to respond in a pdf, in a zip file, under the business section, of the local tourist information website.

This is how the council have advertised the ‘consultation’:

Official Sheffield Council consultation portal.

Sheffield Council: Published a press release about the scheme on official press release page.

  • No way of participating is provided other than attending an exhibition.
  • Doesn’t include any drawings or detail.
  • Doesn’t link to any drawings or detail.
  • Doesn’t list a consultation closing date.
  • Provided a link to the Sheffield City Region website with the exact same information.
  • Hold an exhibition in the city centre during working hours and for 2 Saturday mornings

There will be public and trader consultations over the next few weeks. Exhibitions featuring the proposals will be held at Sheffield Hallam’s Sheffield Institute of Arts (the former head post office) café from Monday 13 February to Saturday 18 February 2017 (9am – 6pm, weekdays; 9am to 4PM) and then at the Site Gallery cafe, Paternoster Row from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 February 2017, (10am – 6pm weekdays; Saturday, 10am – 1pm.)

Sheffield City Region: Published a news item on their website.

  • Everything above applies, no further information! Straight copy paste.

Welcome to Sheffield (tourist information website)

  • Created a page under the ‘Developments in Sheffield’ page, under the ‘Business Sheffield’ section for the consultation.
  • Includes a link to a zip file labelled ‘Download The Knowledge Gateway Exhibition Materials’
  • Include 8 PDFs in the zip file, some of which are layout drawings, some of which are exhibition panels.
  • In the final pdf, include details on how to respond to the consultation including the closing date.
  • Include an email address and postal address for responses.
  • Don’t publish a comments form. Copies were only available at the city centre exhibition.

Hidden on a tourist information website, under the business section, within a zip file, in a pdf.

A masterclass in suppressing consultation responses by making it difficult to respond.

What WE do makes a difference. Why Sheffield Council needs to be more air aware.

How do you effectively persuade people to choose a more sustainable mode of transportation?

Is it by telling them what do to? Or are their choices influenced by our streets, our public spaces and bigger structural issues?

When we live in a country designed around the car, are people really free to make their own choices?

For the past few months Sheffield Council has been running a campaign under the title ‘Air Aware, What You Do Makes a Difference’ (Twitter, Website).

We want to help make everyone in Sheffield more air aware so that you can make choices which help to protect you and your loved ones.

I think that what the council do makes a much bigger difference, the council needs to be more air aware so that their choices help protect the people of Sheffield.

Putting the emphasis on changing individual behaviours through a campaign like this is a distraction and a waste of time. This is why I’ve created a series of new images with the strap line ‘What we do makes a difference’, we being Sheffield Council.

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These are the original images.

South Yorkshire’s Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme – Update November 2015

As part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Deal, announced in 2014, a £16.3m investment allocation was made towards a Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme (STEP). Let’s look at how that’s going. This information is from item 13 of this meeting.

STEP Funding Profiles

STEP Funding Profiles

The full list of projects is available here. The ones in Sheffield are in the table below. As of 30/09/2015 no money had been claimed.

2015/16 Funding as 02/03/2015
2015/16 Funding as 23/11/2015
Claimed (30/09/2015)
Comment
SS01
Greenhill Parkway / Greenhill Avenue
£350,000
£0
£0
Project cancelled – ‘intentionally delayed, and its 2015/16 funding allocation reallocated, whilst SCC officers consider an alternate funding regime’
SS02
Grey to Green Phase 1 – Sheffield Riverside Business District
£250,000
£225,000
£0 CycleSheffield have campaigned to improve this scheme because of problems with cycling provision.
SS03
Lower Don Valley Cycle Route
£265,000 £185,000 £0
“Lower Don Valley Cycle Routes – Weedon Street Link” – I’m not sure what this is.
SS04
Upper Don Valley Cycle Route
£200,000 £375,000 £0 I’m not sure exactly what part of the route this is, but it goes from Oughtibridge to Stocksbridge, it has been called the Little Don Link before.
SS05
Tinsley – Victoria Cycle Route – Canal Towpath
£50,000 £0 £0 This project isn’t included in STEP anymore, I’m not sure if it’s been cancelled.
SS06
Sheffield City Centre Cycle Routes
£0
£50,000
£0 Design and preparation works only in 2015/16
SS07
Blackburn Valley Cycle Route
£0
£50,000
£0 Design and preparation works only in 2015/16
PS04
Chesterfield Road – Heeley Bottom
£0
£760,000
£0 CycleSheffield have strongly criticised this scheme. It includes permitting parking in 1.5m painted cycle lanes.
Total
£1,645,000
£0

So… lets me honest here, the STEP is definitely not a step up in provision, it’s more of the same, and as far as I can tell, there’s zero road space allocation towards cycling.

And the Meadowhall Car Park extension which had £670,000 allocated to it for this year? That’s been pushed out, £1.45million next year, and £1.25million the following year, £2.7million, 16% of the entire STEP budget, on a car park.

My previous blog post on this subject is here.

Write to your MP NOW! Tell them to support the Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill

Even Sheffield Police park on the pavements. In this case, blocking a dropped kerb which they conveniently drove up.

Even Sheffield Police park on the pavements. In this case, blocking a dropped kerb which they conveniently drove up.

Please write to your MP and ask them to support the Pavement Parking Bill which is being debated in a couple of weeks in Parliament.

Click here to use the Living Streets tool to email them, or use WriteToThem.

The email I’ve sent is below.

Dear Harry Harpham,

I’m writing to you because I’d like you to support the Pavement Parking
Bill that’s being debated for the first time on Friday 4th December
(second reading).
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/pavementparkingprotectionofvulnerablepedestrians.html

Pavement parking is a huge problem in Sheffield, especially on the main
roads in the city centre where people seem to be able to leave their
vehicles with impunity. I try to work with Sheffield City Council (as
part of CycleSheffield) to get the vehicles ticketed and moved on, but
often they say there isn’t anything they can do because there are no
double yellow lines.

It’s a problem for me, both walking around, and cycling, because the
same rules apply to cycle paths. It’s often not possible to prevent
people from parking on cycle paths, blocking them. Just yesterday
(Saturday) cars were parked blocking the Penistone Road cycle path.

I would like you to attend the debate of this bill and speak in support
of it to give our local authorities the powers they need to keep our
pavements clear of parked cars.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw vehicles parked 3 abreast on the pavement
on West Bar Green. I watched as people walking in the dual carriageway
to get around. Neither the Police, not the council, would/could do
anything about it.

I understand the pavement parking bill would not introduce a blanket
ban, but would instead only allow pavement parking to take place on
streets that have been specially designated to allow it, making it the
exception rather than the rule. I understand that in lots of
residential areas, the problems would need significant work to solve.

This bill could make a big difference to people in your constituency
and more vulnerable people in general, and it needs your support to
reach its progress to the next parliamentary stage.

Please let me know if you plan to back the bill on 4 December.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Turner

Sheffield’s Rutland Road/Pitsmoor Road Junction – Rated Zero/30 on the London Cycle Design Standards Junction Assessment Tool

Pitsmoor Road/Rutland Road

Pitsmoor Road/Rutland Road

As part of Sheffield’s Better Buses programme, the Rutland Road/Pitsmoor Road and Rutland Road/Cooks Wood Road junctions have been identified as causing delays. The council’s reports are available here, and the full design is here. The junctions are next to each other, Google map link with Streetview.

“Buses are delayed due to congestion, and limited road width, along Pitsmoor Road.”

The solution is “a scheme to address the delays, which comprises road widening, revised road markings and a new pedestrian crossing point”, costing “around £300,000 which includes for design, construction, supervision, contingency and commuted sum. It is to be funded from the Passenger Transport Executive’s 2016/17 Better Buses programme”.

The fundamental problem is that the right turn lane into Cooks Wood Road from Pitsmoor Road is of insufficient capacity to cater for the number of vehicles. Consequently this queue blocks other movements and causes delays. The scheme addresses this by widening the carriageway on the northern side of Rutland Road, allowing the right turn lane to be extended. Pedestrians also have difficulties crossing at the junction, so a new refuge island is to be provided to offer better crossing opportunities without causing undue delays to traffic.

“Without causing undue delays to traffic”, says it all really, happy to do anything, unless it delays traffic, and by traffic, they mean motor traffic. Putting aside the problem with widening the road to ease congestion in the name of bus improvements… I’ve tried to assess this design using the London Cycling Level of Service junction tool (page 14/15) to see what it means for cycling.

Indicative criteria for scoring junction assessments from the London Cycle Design Standards

Indicative criteria for scoring junction assessments from the London Cycle Design Standards

Every motor traffic movement is signal controlled. There is no protected space for cycling, there are no cycle specific signal stages, and there are no signal controlled pedestrian crossings. Speed limits are 30mph and traffic volumes are about 1,325 motor vehicles per hour (16:00 on Saturday afternoon) on Rutland Road, with higher numbers on Pitsmoor Road.

Rutland Road/Cooks Wood Road T-Junction- Score 0 out of 12

The volume of traffic (at 16:00 on a Saturday) is 1,325 motor vehicles per hour, >1000 vph is the critical failure threshold (at peak, and where cyclists are not separated).

Cooks Wood Road/Rutland Road Junction. All cycle movements are shown and coloured according to their LCDS score.

Cooks Wood Road/Rutland Road Junction. All cycle movements are shown and coloured according to their LCDS score.

Travelling from Rutland Road South, there is a 5m deep advanced stop line with a 1.5m cycle lane leading into it, but there’s no cycle infrastructure continuing into the junction. The left turn into Cooks Wood Road isn’t protected at all. Going straight on Rutland Road, the cycle lane doesn’t continue across the junction and there is no protection from left turning traffic (approximately 1/3 of traffic). Both of these movements score 0, but it’s possible that the left turn should score 1.

Travelling from Rutland Road North, there is a 5m deep advanced stop line, but no cycle lane leading into it. There are two lanes, a straight on and a right turn. Going straight on, there are no cycle facilities and there is a pinch point 3.9m wide (width of 3.2-4.0m should be avoided). Turning right cyclists have to move into the outside lane with no protection and then don’t have any protection through the junction and there is oncoming traffic. Both of these movements score zero because of pinch points, speed of traffic, volume of traffic, multiple lanes and oncoming traffic when turning right.

Travelling from Cooks Wood Road there is a 5m deep ASL, with a 1.5m feeder lane, the road has two lanes of traffic, one for left and one for right. Making the left turn, there is no protection from left turning traffic and the ASL feeder lane begins beyond the start of the traffic queue. Turning right, cyclists have to move into the outside lane, there is no protection in the junction and a pinch point of 3.9m on the exit of the junction. Both of these movements score zero.

6 Movements, all scoring 0, out of a total score of 12.

Rutland Road/Pitsmoor Road Crossroads – Score 0 out of 24

Rutland Road / Pitsmoor Road Crossroads. . All cycle movements are shown and coloured according to their LCDS score.

Rutland Road / Pitsmoor Road Crossroads. . All cycle movements are shown and coloured according to their LCDS score.

Travelling from Rutland Road, there are two lanes, one left (a sliplane), one combined straight on and right, there is no ASLs and no cycle facilities. All of these movements score zero, left turn because of the left turn slip lane, straight on because of the need to move out into the outside lane to use the junction and because of the lack of separation, and the right turn for the same reason with the added risk of having to sit in the middle of the junction with traffic passing on the left going straight ahead, and oncoming traffic on your right.

Travelling from Pitsmoor Road South, there is a 1.5m wide feeder lane to a 5m deep ASL. There is a single general traffic lane. The speed limit is 30mph and there are > 1000vph, a critical failure. Turning left, the radius is being increased, there’s no dedicated space in the junction for cycling. Going straight on, there is no protection from left turning traffic and there will be conflict with vehicles trying to overtake cycles while oncoming vehicles are waiting to turn right into Rutland Road. There is no dedicated space for cycling in the junction. Turning right, you will have to wait in the middle of the junction with traffic passing on your left, as well as oncoming traffic. All of these movements score zero.

Travelling from Pitsmoor Road North, there is a 5m deep ASL with no cycle lane or feeder lane. The speed limit is 30mph and there are >1000vhp. There are two lanes, a combined straight on and left and a right turn lane. Turning left, there is no dedicated space for cycling, no protection and a large junction radii. Cycling straight on, there is no protection from left turning traffic and no dedicated space for cycling through the junction. Turning right, cyclists need to move into the outside lane and wait in the middle of the junction for a gap. All of these movements score zero.

Travelling from Minna Road from the east, the story is the same. Speed limits are 30mph but I don’t know the volume of the traffic. There is a 5m deep ASL with a 1.5m feeder lane. Turning left, there is no dedicated space for cycling. Going straight on, there is no protection from left turning traffic or dedicated space for cycling. And turning right, there will be a need to wait in the middle of the junction with traffic on both sides. All of these movements score zero.

So, a scheme that scores zero (possibly one) out of 30. Not great. We’ve got to up our game in Sheffield if we’re ever to get to 10% of journeys made by bike in 10 years. Feedback on how I’ve applied the LCDS tool is more than welcome, especially if you think I’ve missed anything or given any movements incorrect scores.

No More Investment in Cycling – Write to your MP now

Osbourne's Halloween Horror - From The Private Eye

Osbourne’s Halloween Horror – From The Private Eye

I’ve just written to my MP about the news that investment in cycling is going to dry up at the spending review at the end of this month.

You should write to your MP too, it’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes. http://www.writetothem.com/?a=westminstermp

Dear Harry Harpham,

I’m writing to you about the news that investment in cycling is due to be cut in the November spending review at the end of November as reported in The Times yesterday.
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article4601075.ece

I’m dismayed at this news. We must keep investing in cycling, not for cyclists, but so that everyone has the freedom to ride a bike. Helping to revitalise our neighborhoods by reducing congestion, noise and making them nicer places to spend time. To give our children the freedom to travel independently, to reduce the burden on our health service, to begin to tackle climate change and especially poor air quality (which all cities in the UK suffer from), and fundamentally, to give people a the choice to move about without relying on a car (especially given 1/3 of households in our constituency do not have access to one).

I understand that a big focus of this review will be on transport infrastructure, but cycling seems to be missing out. Back in March the government published research into the benefit cost ratio (BCR) of cycling investment compared to other transport investment, it showed completely that the BCR was far higher for cycling than for any other form of transport. I simply can’t understand why cycling investment wouldn’t be a key part of infrastructure investment in the UK.
Link:
http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/348943/vfm-assessment-of-cycling-grants.pdf

Please could you let me know what you think and if there’s anything you could do to help? I think the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is amazing and it’d be great if you were to talk to them about this.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/cycling.htm

Yours sincerely,

Matt Turner