Penistone Road cycle route

Penistone Road has a shared use cycle path which goes from Kelham Island to the junction with Clay Wheels Lane. It is about 3.5km long. At the junction with Hillfoot Road it becomes the ‘Upper Don Valley Cycle Route’ which you can see on Sheffield Council’s map of green routes.

In 2014/15 Sheffield Council spent around £5 million on Penistone Road to improve motor traffic flow. They claimed that this money could not be spent on improving conditions for people walking or on bikes, although this was untrue.

I cycled the route on the 29th of October and recorded it.

What is good about this route?

The route is direct and flat, it is free from motor vehicles apart from a short stretch along a back street between Bamforth Street and Hillfoot Road.

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What is not good about this route and how could it be improved?

The Penistone Road cycle path has the potential to be a high quality route into Sheffield centre from the north of the city. However, there are a number of problems with it which prevent it being more widely used and undermine its value to those who do use it.

Dangerous beginnings

At the beginning of the route, crossing from the contraflow cycle lane to the shared use pavement on the slip road off Penistone Road is potentially dangerous as you do so in the face of traffic turning left from Penistone Road. 

Width of path

The shared use path along Penistone Road is far too narrow in places and clearly could not cope with any significant numbers of people walking or cycling. Best practice standards for the width of a two-way path is 4 meters.

The path is also cluttered and Sheffield Council continue to introduce unnecessary obstructions like these advert boards which further reduce the useful space.

advert

This is a misuse of public space and demonstrates the lack of consideration Sheffield Council gives to active travel.

Surface of the path

The Penistone Road path is tarmacked but of a poor quality, it is often unclear that it is a shared use path and it needs to be resurfaced.

Unsignalised crossings

This route has many unsignalised crossings where the shared use path crosses side roads. Rutland Road is the most hazardous example but there are also problems at Bamforth Street, Livesey Street, Beulah Road, Tanfield Road, Bastock Road and Herries Road South. These junctions are all signalised for motor vehicles on the road but do not provide a safe crossing phase for vulnerable users, either pedestrians or people on bikes. These crossings are inconvenient and potentially dangerous. Cycle infrastructure should be built so that it can be used safely by people aged 8 upwards and this is not the case here. This demonstrates the lack of consideration Sheffield Council gives to active travel. 

The junction with Herries Road South was supposed to be improved with a toucan crossing installed in 2014. However, Sheffield Council abandoned this due to the impact it would have on motor traffic flow.

Crossing side roads and entrances

There is inconsistency of design at the crossings of side roads and entrances on Penistone Road . Those travelling in the direction of the main road (including cycling and walking) should have priority over both side roads and entrances to premises.  Markings are erratic and sometimes it is unclear who has priority (see the picture below where it appears that the side road and cycle path give way to each other).

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The lack of consistency means that all road users are unsure who should have priority and this is potentially dangerous. The path needs to be clearly marked at junctions and entrances (as in the picture below).

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Crossing the Penistone Road junction with Clay Wheels Lane

To get from one side of this junction to the other requires using 4 separate crossings, which is time consuming, frustrating and demonstrates the lack of priority that Sheffield Council gives to active travel. Note in the video that the recording has been sped up.

2 thoughts on “Penistone Road cycle route

  1. I’m the chap that helped with the creation of the N627. In my view the number of crossings is the main problem. I’d feel uncomfortable with the idea of taking my children down it and that should be a fundamental criteria for a Sustrans route. There is no way of getting away from the need for regrading of minor road crossings. I would suggest a Dutch style crossing where bikes have priority. That however is unlikely to be accepted on a UK road. Perhaps the crossings should be narrowed to a single Lane for road users and land taken up to allow the crossings to be further set back from the road – to improve sighting distsnce/time and make it easier for cars to access the minor roads and brake safely. Anything less a solution would be a compromise. A parallel route up club Mill Road would require significant work to connect with Herries Road and this would miss out links to Hillsborough.
    Tim

  2. I use the path on a regular basis, from Bradfield Road. There are just too many problems to list, I will highlight a few. Poor road surface, unmarked as a cycle route, vehicles parked on the pavement and on the cycle lane and the biggest problem of all, the Rutland Road junction, where cars turning left from Penistone Road dont always signal their intention. There is no cycle or pedestrian crossing at this junction, its a nightmare.

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