CycleSheffield’s Response to the Sheffield Plan Consultation (Citywide Options for Growth)

Sheffield City Council has begun consultation on a ‘Sheffield Plan – the City-wide Options for Growth to 2034’. CycleSheffield has produced the following response to the 1st stage of the consultation which we submitted on the 15/01/16.

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Why Sheffield needs a high quality cycle network

 Health

It’s important to develop the city’s cycling infrastructure to encourage people to cycle. Developing cycling infrastructure is important to incorporate physical activity into people’s everyday lives. Danish levels of cycling in the UK would save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years. A high quality Cycle Network means that people spend time outdoors without even thinking about it. Moving around by bike is something that is accessible to everyone given a network of routes which are safe, feel safe and take you where you need to go. “[Cycling] is accessible and appealing to population groups that often have low levels of participation in sport and other forms of leisure-time physical activity (Buehler et al, 2011).”

Economy

To support our district centres, we must make them easier to get to by walking and cycling. Once people are used to travelling by car, it’s too easy to simply drive further to out of town shopping centres which will harm our local district centres, lead to an increase in congestion and air pollution, and harm our local high streets.

The Retail Quarter must do better for cycling, as per our detailed response to the planning application where we raised significant concerns around the transport plan. http://www.cyclesheffield.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CycleSheffield-Retail-Quarter-Reponse.pdf

We think we should recognise that creating a comprehensive cycle network will attract big business (and especially their employees) to Sheffield. A recent consultation about the London Cycle Superhighways received responses from businesses with a combined number of employees in the tens of thousands. It included responses such as the one below from Unilever PLC (1,200 London staff and €50 billion turnover). You can read them all at http://cyclingworks.wordpress.com.

‘We have tragically lost employees in the past who have been killed while trying to cycle to or from work. We do not want to lose any more. Our sister head office building in Rotterdam is surrounded by cycle lanes and an efficient urban tramway system. We see the benefits to urban mobility and quality of life.

We value employee satisfaction, health, and wellbeing and that’s why we proudly endorse the plans outlined by TfL to create new segregated routes through the heart of the city. Both the proposed north–south and east–west routes will help us attract and retain the employees our business needs to continue to thrive. These plans are good for business, for London, and for all Londoners whether they cycle or not.

We believe the proposals will make London a more attractive place to build a business, to work, and to conduct business. We also note strong evidence from cities around the world that more cycling increases spending in local retail businesses and lowers air pollution levels. We support the plans and hope they can be delivered as soon as possible.’

Doug Baillie, Chief Human Resources Officer, Unilever (1,200 London staff, €50 billion turnover)

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It is clear that to create the environment of ‘urban mobility and quality of life’ which is so attractive to businesses such as these we must improve our city environment. We must make spending time outside a normal part of people’s daily lives through the creation of a high quality cycle network.

People who cycle tend to spend more than people who drive – “Visiting cyclists spend an average of £25 per day on locally provided food and services, compared to car-borne visitors £7.30. Car users bring what they’ll need with them, whereas cyclists can’t” (European Cyclists Federation). A 2014 New York City Department of Transport Study found that streets where protected cycle lanes were installed saw an increase in retail sales by up to 24% greater than comparator sites without cycle lanes.

Inclusivity

Cycling is an inclusive method of transport, especially in Sheffield were ⅓ of households don’t have access to a car (census 2011), we must do much more to give people freedom to move around by giving them the choice to cycle. The only way to achieve this is via a high quality, comprehensive cycle network. Shifting just 10% of journeys from car to bike would increase mobility of the nation’s poorest families by 25%.

Environment

Sheffield currently suffers from very poor air quality mainly as a result of vehicle emissions, it will continue to do so until people can make their journeys by walking, cycling or public transport more easily, quickly and conveniently than they can by car. Shifting just 10% of journeys from car to bike would reduce air pollution significantly. Cycling saves a third of road space compared to driving and will help cut congestion.

What is needed

We think that Sheffield needs a real cycle network connecting the entire city region not just improving existing infrastructure which is patchy and of varying quality. Sheffield needs to adopt high quality standards for cycle infrastructure which is included in all new developments not added on as an afterthought or if there is room. It should be a given, just as pedestrian pavements are included on a street, that safe space for cycling is included.

The transport network must include cycle network which allows people to make journeys safely and conveniently by bike. It needs to link residential areas with workplaces, leisure opportunities, schools, shops etc. Increasing cycling will reduce congestion and air pollution which would make the city more attractive to residents and businesses. The cycle network needs to extend out into the Peak District to provide fair and equal access for all.

It is important to have good cycling links between the city centre to other residential areas so people can travel easily and safely between them. Encouraging private car use will add further congestion, making places less attractive to visit, and people will choose to visit out of town developments instead.

Answers to specific questions in the Sheffield Plan

Q32 – Should parking policies be changed so that less off-street parking is required (meaning more parking on-street)?

No

If parking is encouraged informally on a street then there are problems for people cycling and walking. Some of the problems are people cycling having to swerve, parking on pavements, and the risk of running into open car doors. If on street parking is permitted then it should be designed into the street into designated areas.

On road parking is an extremely inefficient use of space in a city, especially if it hasn’t been designed in from the start.

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However we do need to provide parking for bicycles, both on street and off street. Bike parking takes up 8 times less space than cars, helping to free up space.

We need to provide parking for bicycle where people live, not just at people’s destinations. If it’s difficult for someone to get on their bike, they are less likely to choose to travel by bike. I would refer you to Dutch housing regulations which state that each home must have a place to store bicycles. This article outlines the approach well and includes a video. We would support this approach in Sheffield. https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/parking-your-bike-at-home/

Q49: Where should the Supertram network be extended?

The Supertram network should be extended, we don’t have an opinion on where. However it should be designed so that it doesn’t endanger cyclists. CycleSheffield have been collecting reports of crashes on the tram lines for over a year now and have had over 250 reports. A map of these is available here  https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zUOBSdPNPOfg.k1ohLkAyXvek&usp=sharing

We’d refer you to the draft Cycling/Tram Network report that’s currently being produced by David Caulfield’s team which identifies the key dangers.

Whenever people have to cross tram lines by bike, they are at risk, these crossing should be minimised. Either by providing separate off road cycle routes where possible or alternative cycle lanes which are direct and continuous alternative route must be provided and clearly signed.

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Q50: Do you support the proposal to expand Park and Ride in the south of the city? Please provide reasons for your answers

Yes.

We would argue that instead of just the bus/train/tram being an option, the park and ride sites should link into the cycle network and allow people to continue their journey by bike.

As well as a good cycle network, having facilities for people to borrow bicycles would also help.

Q51: Do you support the principle of segregating the cycle network from other traffic?

Yes!

In July 2011, the Department for Transport produced the report “Climate Change and Transport Choices”. It found that when people were presented with the statement “it’s too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads”, nearly two thirds agreed, with only a quarter actively disagreeing. Almost a half of the respondents said that they simply will not cycle on roads.

Agreement with the statement “it’s too dangerous for me to cycle” rose with age, and was significantly higher from women, with almost three quarters of women agreeing to around half of men. The results applied equally to urban and rural dwellers.

This is consistent with evidence a number of other sources including more DfT studies, Sustrans, Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester, The BBC, London Cycling Campaign and the Northern Ireland Executive.

We would point to these studies as evidence that for more people to cycle, they need protected space away from motor traffic.

We would refer you to Sheffield’s draft cycling network standards. We feel that these are an excellent basis for designing roads that make cycling an option for all. David Caulfield’s team are coordinating this.

In summary:

  • Where there are busy roads (>200vph), protected cycling infrastructure needs to be provided.Untitled
  • Shortcuts need to be provided through Green Space. Rather than green space being a destination, it can be used to achieve transport connections for walking and cycling that other modes cannot use.Untitled 1
  • Where roads are less busy, through traffic should be removed via filtered permeability and speeds should be lowered.

Filtered permeability is a road design that still allows through-access for walking and cycling, but removes it for motor traffic.

This can be achieved either by a straightforward physical closure with bollards (or other engineering), or by the use of opposed one-way streets (with exemptions for cycling), or simply by signs.

Once a road or street has been ‘filtered’, it remains accessible to motor vehicles, but is no longer usable as a through-route.

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