CycleSheffield response to Sheffield BID consultation

There is a proposal to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in Sheffield.

The area will be the within the “old” inner ring with the boundaries being West Bar/Castlegate/Sheaf St/St Mary’s Gate/Hanover Way/Broad Lane/Tenter St.

Businesses will pay a levy (a proportion of their business rate) and in return there will be a BID company that will work with SCC to improve footfall, turnover and the ‘liveliness’ of the city through promotional activities and suggestions wrt to the development of the city centre.

CycleSheffield took an interest because we have views on shared space and pedestrian and cycle access and the BID prospectus claims that BID will improve bike access and parking.

The voting company directors will be mainly businesses and there are no votes for city-centre residents so there could be issues to do with democratic checks and balances of the city centre.  The BID will not have a huge budget so they will not be able to fund property developments but they will be able to act as a lobby group for business interests in the city.

We submitted the comments below on New Years Eve 2014 and have received a welcoming response so far.

CycleSheffield responses to BID consultation

Mick Nott, Chair, CycleSheffield,

31 Dec 2014

CycleSheffield welcomes a regeneration of the city centre.  It would like the BID leadership to note:

  1. the development that has already been done with inspiring social and commercial spaces like Fargate, Cathedral Precinct, Tudor Square, The Moor, Peace Gardens, Sheaf Square, Howard St, and Barkers Pool;
  2. the University Masterplan which promotes shared space, encourages cycling and walking and segregates vehicles into off street parking or away from meeting places and buildings;
  3. the City Council’s Vision for Excellent Transport and the Move More! plan that puts walking and cycling at the heart of transport policy and seeks to improve citizen’s health and wellbeing and the city’s air quality by reducing the use of cars and promoting active travel;
  4. cities across the world are promoting shared space, segregating motor cars away from work, shops and play, providing safe, secure off street parking for cars, and promoting & investing in inexpensive-to-the-user, high quality public transport;
  5. shared space increases footfall in shops and public spaces, allows streets to be used for social interaction and ‘play’, increases the value of adjacent property and leases, and improves the quality of everybody’s life;
  6. city centres need jobs other than those in retail, leisure and tourism (cf the legal sector in Sheffield).  These may be high-value jobs and the way to attract companies to relocate to a working city centre is to have attractive public space that allows employees choices about how they travel.  Good quality public transport and good quality cycling and walking routes are an integral part of those choices.

B We make the following suggestions

  1. The inner ring road acts as a conduit for motor traffic but as a boundary for incoming and outgoing pedestrians and cyclists.  It needs good quality, well designed intersections for entry and exit, eg the Bridgehouses Gyratory deters both pedestrians and cyclists, BID should recognise that the University Masterplan should lead to improvements around Brook Hill, etc;
  2. BID should note that the city already has clearly designated cycle routes through the city and around it both internally and on the Inner Ring Road (IRR).  Development should be sensitive to the routes during planning and any future construction works.  SCC is committed to developing and starting to develop a strategic network of cycle routes.  It has also set a target of 10% of all trips by bike by 2025 and 25% of all trips by bike by 2050.  The development of the city centre should be a key part of fulfilling those targets by ensuring good quality cycle routes are in place.
  3. BID should support the development of cycle hire in the city which will need cycle parking stations as well as routes (NB the University (we think in partnership with SCC) will be introducing a bike hire scheme in 2015 and the cycle hub at the station already hires bikes on an hourly basis – available shop opening hours only)
  4. the whole city centre within the IRR should be a 20mph zone, including Broad Lane/ Tenter St (no longer an official through route and centre of many new  developments, including student flats, and The Diamond).  Similarly Charter Row, Arundel Gate and Furnival Gate have been changed from motorways of the past to urban streets of the present by narrowing carriage-ways and increasing footway widths, but there are insufficient crossings and traffic is too fast and takes too much of a priority over people wanting to cross the roads.  Pedestrian and cyclists movement should be prioritized;
  5. Any shared space needs to allow cycling as well as walking, eg the ‘Gold Route’ from the station to the university can be cycle as well as walked.  This is not the case for the ‘Steel Route’ from Castlegate to Moorfoot, but should be so.  It makes no sense to allow cycling across Barker’s Pool but not down The Moor
  6. There is a need for undercover, secure bike parking. Any new car parking development should have a developers premium of building in bike parking,  [The Station Cycle Hub and the Eyre St/Moor Market Car Park already provide 24/7/365 undercover and secure bike parking. (One is free, the other requires a one-off £10 payment for a fob)]
  7. CycleSheffield notes that the evidence indicates that removing moving motor traffic and parking from outside shops INCREASES footfall and spend in urban centres.  Urban parking should be off road.

C What CycleSheffield may offer.

CycleSheffield is willing to present and discuss the evidence for the assertions above.  Developers of city urban space across the world are recognising the social and economic importance of making cities attractive and ‘liveable’ for all, eg New York, Detroit, Seville, anywhere in Holland & Scandinavia, and in the UK, Sheffield has much to learn from London, Brighton, York, Bristol etc

[We suggest the BID leadership listen to this “pedcast” about how a transformation to an urban street in Hackney has made for a better civic life and how people care about their streets.  The  public need enjoyable public realm, like Barker’s Pool, by reducing traffic flow and stopping traffic conflicting with peds and cyclists.

Perhaps BID could consider signing up to Living Streets (national champions for the public on foot) and extend the public open shared spaces we have in Sheffield to create a vibrant welcoming city centre.  The example on this podcast could be applied to Pinstone St or Division St or both!]


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