Clarkehouse Road is a popular route for cycling into Sheffield and it has a painted cycle lane which should provide at least a small amount of clear space. Unfortunately the council allows this cycle lane to be used as free car parking except at peak times, and even then it is still abused making it largely useless.
There is no need to use this road space for parking. There is a multi-story car park with 702 spaces next to the Royal Hallamshire hospital approximately 100 metres from Clarkehouse Road and there is a Q-Park with 560 spaces next to the University of Sheffield approximately 300 metres from Clarkehouse Road.
The restricted parking times are routinely abused
People park up and sit in their vehicles from 8am onwards blocking the cycle lane. At 9.30am this parking becomes legitimate and most drivers will leave their vehicles parked there until 4.30pm.
This makes it even more difficult and potentially dangerous to cycle along a very busy road.
CycleSheffield and Sustrans have held events to monitor this situation. Whilst this deters the offenders on the day it only highlights the problem and doesn’t solve it.
What is the solution?
Due to the volume of motor traffic the long term solution is to provide a segregated cycleway along Clarkehouse Road.
In the short term the council could immediately remove the free parking along the road, meaning there was no benefit to parking on the road instead of using the multi storey car parks. Alternatively they could remove the on-road parking entirely. Or at least they could keep the parking restriction on the cycle lane in force until 10am. This would increase the time that people would need to remain in their vehicles and reduce the appeal of doing so.
Report the issue to the council
If you see this problem please report Sheffield Council parking services via email email@example.com (attach a photo if possible, clearly showing the registration number of offending vehicles) or by phone 0114 2736255.
The more often the issue is raised with council officers and councillors the more likely it that they will take action to resolve the issue.
We have contacted Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Councillor George George Lindars-Hammond and Tom Finnegan-Smith who are responsible for transport in Sheffield, as well as the three councillors whose ward Clarkehouse Road is in to raise this issue.
Grey to Green is a regeneration project in the centre of Sheffield, with Phase 1 completed in 2016.
Whilst it has created a visually attractive space, the scheme has still prioritised motor traffic over people walking or cycling, and failed to create any viable cycleway in a planned “priority cycle route”.
“Grey to Green… a linear green route for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport… giving streets back to people that were once dominated by the car”
What is the problem?
We are not criticising the greening of the urban environment, natural planting or sustainable drainage – these are welcome, innovative achievements, which have been muchcelebrated, and we need more of this in our city. But this should not and need not be at the expense of walking and cycling provision, which have both been badly overlooked or misunderstood here.
Why does it matter?
The council has an ambitious target for cycling reaching 10% of all journeys by 2025 (currently this stands at 0.8%). This will require large numbers of people starting to cycle who currently don’t, so any new transport or road development needs to make cycle journeys easier through high quality cycle provision. There is no other way the council will hit their target.
Sheffield City Council have said “West Bar is proposed to be one of a number of ‘principal’ cycle routes in the city centre”. This redevelopment was the ideal opportunity to create this route. Instead, it has been left with no useful provision for people who would like to cycle, and it will be far more expensive and difficult to introduce later.
The council knew the designs were not suitable for cycling
People can now either cycle on the road or on the shared use pavement. The Sheffield City Council development officer for this scheme, said:
“Cyclists have a high awareness of pedestrians in a shared space, tending to ride around them or give way … These interactions reduce the speed of cyclists, thus minimising risk of incidents. However, we also know that for many confident / commuter cyclists who will want to get from A – B in the most direct and convenient way possible, this off road route will not be attractive.”
This shows the scheme was designed assuming two different, but imagined, types of people cycling – those wanting “to get from A to B”, and anyone else. It supposes people who want to make their journey by bike ‘directly and conveniently’ don’t mind being squeezed into road space designed for motor traffic.
It assumes people who would prefer not to mix with traffic (almost anyone) are happy going slowly, taking a longer indirect route, stopping frequently for crossings, and having to dodge pedestrians. This conflict with pedestrians is seen as desirable to slow down people cycling.
And despite the blank-canvas opportunity and large width of the redevelopment, no better solution was offered.
There is no Space for Cycling. The volume of motor traffic on the road, particularly at peak times, means most people won’t feel comfortable cycling on the road.
West Bar is a major bus route into the city, so the “most direct and convenient” way to cycle is with heavy vehicles. This is not how to encourage people to start cycling.
Protected cycleways should have been included to provide comfortable, inclusive Space for Cycling which anyone can use.
Shared-use pavement isn’t good for people walking or people cycling
People on bikes do not want to share space with pedestrians and people walking do not want to share space with people on bikes, especially in the busy city centre. It creates unnecessary conflict, especially since the shared status of this path is almost totally unmarked. This is frustrating for everyone and can be hazardous, especially for visually impaired people. The 3.5m shared use pavement is only slightly wider than the minimum recommended by UK guidance.
It is inconvenient, hazardous or impossible to cycle to or from the shared path
The connections to the carriageway at each end of the shared use path are poor, particularly by West Bar roundabout.
The shared-use path and side roads/site entrances on West Bar are not linked. How do you access the shared use path from the side roads on the other side of West Bar? Or get to the side roads from the shared use paths (see image below)? Even the ‘less confident’ cyclist who is expected to use the shared use path will still need to use the road. Cycle movements have not been properly considered in this design.
And why is it bad for pedestrians?
Lack of continuous footway
Main roads, including the pavement, should have priority over side roads or site entrances. The main street will be carrying the larger flow of traffic and so should get priority irrespective of the kind of traffic. Grey to Green phase 1 has perpetuated old-fashioned street design where pedestrians need to stop, look and cross for every minor side street or entrance.
Road design should promote active travel by giving people walking along the footway priority over turning traffic, as in this example on West Street in Sheffield.
Inconvenient crossing still gives motor traffic priority
A two-stage, staggered crossing, surrounded by guard railings (a tell-tale sign of an environment designed for motor traffic not for people) has been retained. Compared to a direct, single-stage crossing, this is not a good pedestrian facility, and is an even worse shared cycle crossing. It serves only to minimise delays to vehicle traffic at the expense of the convenience of people crossing, who have to wait and make two separate crossings to get across one road. This becoming a ‘toucan’ shared cycle crossing causes extra conflict with pedestrians due to the narrow space to pass and turn within the railings.
The new wide pavements are regularly obstructed by parked vehicles. Neither the council nor the police, who are stationed immediately next to this scheme, have yet shown an interest in enforcing against this misuse of pedestrian space.
Creation of new rat run for motor traffic
The scheme has introduced a new right turn from Snig Hill onto Bridge Street – enabling a new rat run from Snig Hill to the Inner Ring Road. This was not possible with the previous road layout.
Cycle design standards would help prevent these issues
These mistakes have been made because Sheffield City Council have no cycle design standards. This means new schemes and developments can be approved with poor provision for cycling (or none at all).
Council agencies and private developers get no guidance on how to provide for cycling when they design schemes. As they have not made any standard mandatory, the council doesn’t challenge third-party developers when their proposals are inadequate.
We want Sheffield Council to adopt the London Cycle Design Standards, so all future developments are of a useful standard and contribute to their goal of enabling more active travel. To continue without any standards means Sheffield will continue to waste money on poor cycle design, and makes it harder to develop good provision in the future.
It needs to be made easier, safer, more pleasant and more convenient to walk and cycle in Sheffield. This scheme still puts the convenience of driving above walking and cycling. You can drive all the way along Grey to Green (Phase 1) and have priority all the way. You do not have this priority if you’re walking or cycling on, to, or from the shared path.
What it should have been like
The space for cycling in Grey to Green should look like this, offering separate, continuous routes for motor traffic, people on bikes and pedestrians.
Future phases will need to improve
In press releases Grey to Green sounds fantastic, and the intent of the scheme is ideal. But it’s precisely because the vision for Grey to Green, of “giving streets back to people” is so welcome that it is deeply disappointing for the reality to fall far short of this.
There are three more possible phases for Grey to Green. We hope that the designers and the council will take note of the problems with this first phase, and we look forward to the remaining sections delivering far more towards the goal of building a greener city genuinely shaped for people.
Sheffield Council install access barriers on some cycle paths. The intention is usually to prevent motorised vehicles accessing the path.
Older barriers tend to be ‘chicane’ style or ‘A’ frames, while newer ones are ‘K’ frame style (below).
What’s the problem?
They’re inconvenient for everyone
Even if you are physically able to get through them, any kind of barrier is a cause of inconvenience, making a walking or cycling journey less convenient and appealing. They are especially awkward and can be frustrating for people with pushchairs, shopping trolleys, crutches, walking sticks/frames, or holding children’s hands. This discriminates against more vulnerable people and isn’t what Sheffield needs when we are aiming to increase the amount of physical activity people do daily.
They’re impassable for some people
Narrow barriers are obviously obstructive to people cycling who are less physically able to lift and squeeze their handlebars through the gap.
Both chicane-type and K-type barriers can prevent use of paths completely for users of larger and less nimble cycles like tandems, some recumbents, various trikes often used by disabled cyclists, and cargo bikes. They also create access issues for wheelchair users, mobility scooter users and people with prams and pushchairs.
They don’t work
The barriers are not effective at preventing motorbikes and mopeds from accessing cycle paths. The new barriers on the Thoresby Road path (fitted in 2016) can be easily bypassed (also see photo at the top, showing the only way to get a cargo bike, which was funded by SCC, past the barrier) and so appear to have been a token gesture rather than a serious attempt to prevent motor vehicles from accessing the path.
They’re a waste of money
New barriers cost around £5000. Given the council’s limited budget for cycling improvements we would much rather this money was spent on better provision to allow more people to cycle rather than making cycle paths less accessible.
They may be illegal
There hasn’t yet been a test case to set a clear legal precedent, but it is possible barriers like these could be breaking the Equality Act 2010.
A better design of barrier?
We know of no design in the world which could do the job. Since motorcycles and various types of pedal cycles have similar dimensions, motorcycles cannot be physically prevented without also preventing legitimate cycle users (and inconveniencing everyone).
The London Cycle Design Standards (see page 73), recognised as the highest quality standards in the UK, recommends against the use of all barriers, because of the accessibility issues they create.
The latest cycle design guidance for Highways England (who are responsible for trunk routes, and cycleways associated with them) goes further and requires that barriers, specifically K type barriers as favoured by Sheffield Council, shall not be used (paragraph 2.3.8):
Bollards with a 1.5m gap are the simplest way of preventing access by cars and other larger vehicles. They do not prevent motorbikes, mopeds etc from accessing the paths, however, it is clear that neither do barriers.
It is illegal to ride motorised bikes, scooters etc on cycle paths and if this is a regular problem then this should be addressed by South Yorkshire Police. There are powers available to seize vehicles, which are used in other areas.
You should report anti-social behaviour to the police on 101 or online.
Campaigning for the removal of barriers
We have raised the issue with council officers, and Sheffield Council’s cycle champion Councillor Steve Wilson.
The only suggestion from the council has been that they could consider replacing chicanes with K barriers, despite the accessibility problems which these still cause.
They get knocked down…
The chicane barriers at both the underpass by Netherthorpe tram stop, and on a bridge over Mosborough, were removed this year by Sheffield council contractors. This was to improve pedestrian flow for the Tramlines festival for the former, and to allow resurfacing of the path for the latter. We asked the council not to replace them afterwards, but they did.
We have collected the locations of some known barriers on a map. Sustrans volunteers for the Trans Peninne Trail have also made a map showing the barriers along this route.
Please get in touch if you know of others we’ve missed, and share your experiences.
Sometimes they just don’t make sense.
It appears that Sheffield City Council are so keen on the K barrier brand that they are encouraging developers to fit them to paths by default. This saves the council from paying for them later, but means they’re placed without any existence of motorbike issues… or apparently much understanding of what the barrier is even meant to do!
I have reviewed the Penistone Road section of the route separately.
There is currently no cycle route between Beeley Wood and Wharncliffe Wood which means you have to cycle along Station Lane and Oughtibridge Lane. This is not an enjoyable because of the volume of traffic and steep gradient. There is also no traffic free route between NCN 627 in Wharncliffe Wood and the off road path from Hunshelf Road in Stocksbridge so you are required to cycle about 3.5km between the two sections on the road. Sheffield City Council should be spending £1.75m on these missing sections over the next year.
What is good about the Upper Don Valley cycle route?
The Upper Don Valley route is an enjoyable leisure route for people in north Sheffield which links urban areas with woodland. When it is properly finished it should serve as a utility route between Stocksbridge and Deepcar and between Oughtibridge and north Sheffield.
What’s not good about the Upper Don Valley cycle route and what could be improved?
Aside from being unfinished the route suffers from a number of issues – some common to many cycle routes in Sheffield.
There are a number of A-type and K-type barriers along the route. The London Cycle Design Standards (see page 73), recognised as the highest quality standards in the UK, does not recommend the use of barriers at all, because of the accessibility issues they create. They are obstructive to people less physically able to lift and squeeze their handlebars through narrow gaps. They can prevent use of paths completely for users of larger and less nimble cycles like tandems, some recumbents, various trikes often used by disabled cyclists, and cargo bikes.
Width of path
The shared use path through Beeley Wood 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 metres.
There is a distinct lack of signage directing you to the route from either end and informing you where you are once on the route. If you are not familiar with the route or area you have no idea where you are.
Surface of path
The paths through Beeley Wood and Wharncliffe Wood need to be properly surfaced and kept clear of leaves so they are accessible for people on all different kinds of bikes throughout the year. A cycle path through the countryside should be of the same quality as that of one in a town / city. The off road path in Stocksbridge is gravelled which is not a good surface to attempt a hill start after navigating the barrier.
After the four crossings taking you from one side of the Penistone Road/Claywheels Lane junction to the other there is another signalised crossing across the entrance to Sainsbury’s, a very short stretch on a shared use pavement then a brief section on the road, and then the route continues on the pavement again. This is very poorly designed and inconvenient to use, people on bikes were clearly only an afterthought here.
Links to residential areas along the route.
The route passes urban areas (such as Worrall, Middlewood and Birley Carr) but it does not link into them. If this is going to be a popular route it needs to connect to these areas rather than just run along the outskirts. When the missing sections are completed the same will be true for Stocksbridge and Deepcar.
Do South Yorkshire Police intend to run a ‘close pass’ initiative to improve the safety of cyclists, similar to the one that West Midlands Police and other forces are now doing?
We submitted the question to the Police and Crime Panel via Councillor Joe Otten. We also met the assistant Police and Crime Commissioner and discussed whether South Yorkshire Police (SYP) could adopt a ‘close pass initiative’.
If you are not familiar with the the ‘close pass’ initiative run by West Midlands Police you can read about it here.
West Midlands Police road policing blog has more detailed information and explanation for the adoption of this initiative.
SYP written response:
I am aware of this scheme and only a couple of weeks ago, the Assistant PCC, Sioned-Mair Richards attended a meeting with representatives of Sheffield Cycle groups as well as the city council about this.
Key roads are targeted and police cyclists ride the road. If someone drives too close to them then colleagues, including someone from the local authority waiting ahead are notified and the offending vehicle is stopped and either prosecuted or given education input. A similar scheme is run in Humberside – Operation Achilles applies the same principles except for motorbikes. The educational input is delivered by a local authority representative using an educational mat. The cost of this mat is approximately £900.
Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood has provided me with the statistics from the Safer Roads Partnership concerning collisions involving cyclists in South Yorkshire:-
Clearly one death per year is one too many, however, deaths involving cyclists in South Yorkshire are no where near the levels that they are in the West Midlands or other parts of the country. Whilst it is clear that the scheme has been well received in the West Midlands and is a good approach to tackling a key priority, this needs to be balanced against priorities that are force specific. The main cohorts in relation to road deaths or serious injuries in South Yorkshire are centred on pedestrians and car users – drivers or passengers – where SYP have seen a continual rise over the past 2 years. That said, West Midlands Police are hosting a workshop in Birmingham on 13 January and officers from SYP are looking to attend.
In addition to this, given the challenging demand that the police service is currently facing as a result of austerity, resources are carefully deployed to target specific activity. I understand South Yorkshire Police are not aware of any specific location (s) that is prominent for pedal cyclist Road Traffic Collisions. Neither, have any officers who are trained and equipped in the use of pedal cycles brought any concerns to the attention of Chief Inspector Suttenwood.
Enforcement should probably be used as a last resort to improve road safety, the most sensible solution would be to look at addressing the root causes of the problem – one of which is the layout of the roads. By creating segregated or shared cycle/pedestrian routes, improving lighting, awareness and signage, cyclists can use the roads with the confidence that they are safe to do. Some of this is being progressed in the county already:-
Next development at Meadowhall, segregated cycle route.
The new Ikea is to have cycle routes and crossings to it, as is the upcoming Charter Square improvements.
The Connect 2 route is a fairly recent cycle route between Halfway and Killamarsh mainly segregated from traffic.
Centenary Way and Canklow roundabout have all recently been upgraded to cater for cyclists. A cycle route has been created on the Waverley development to a Highfield Springs.
A number of crossings have been converted to Toucan crossings along with a new one on Leger Way to link the Bawtry Rd commuter route to town. Also a new cycle lane on Bennethorpe.
A cycle to work route has been built to service the large Asos factory at Grimethorpe.
Also a new route is being built currently from the Trans Pennine Trail at Pontefract Rd into the town centre.
Whilst naturally, all force areas will see a decline in cyclists on the roads during the winter, I understand Chief Inspector Suttenwood is discussing the prospect of delivering some educational workshops in schools for future drivers and cyclists with local LPTS during Spring 2017 following attendance at West Midland Police’s workshop.
We want to get lots more people on board so that we can have a bigger impact in the campaigning we do. So from now on we will not charge a fee for membership. This will be much simpler for us to administer, easier for people to sign up to, and won’t need it to be renewed each year.
We will now term everyone who joins us supporters.
Existing members will be automatically added to our supporters list and won’t need to do anything.
If you would still like to support CycleSheffield financially that would be great. You can simply leave any existing standing order in place as a donation, but it is up to you. We don’t spend much, so a little for costs like printing, web hosting etc goes a long way.
One of the good things about cycling is being able to cycle right up to your destination. Unfortunately in a lot of places in Sheffield there isn’t enough (or any!) cycle parking or stands to lock your bike to when you get there.
What do we want?
We want the council, businesses, shops etc to provide more cycle parking in Sheffield.
How could it be paid for?
Councillors in Sheffield have access to small pots of money which can be used to fund improvements such as cycle stands in their wards. Section 106 “community money” from developers can also be used by the council to fund improvements.
What should you do?
Tell us where you’d like to see cycle parking. We’ll ask the council
Ask your councillors directly via https://www.writetothem.com/
What have we asked the council for so far?
Secure bike storage in Sheffield city centre S1
Secure bike storage at Park Hill flats S2 5PN
More stands in Walkley along South Road S6
Stands in Crookesmoor along Barber Road, Commonside and Howard Road S6/S10
Stands in Kelham Island S3
Stands at Asda Chapeltown Superstore S35 2UW * we have also contacted Asda directly to request stands
Stands at Dore Village Co-Op S17 3EF * we have also contacted the Co-Op directly to request stands
Stands outside shops on the High Street at Dore village S17
Stands on High Street in Ecclesfield S35
Stands outside Ecclesfield Co-Op S35 9UA * we have also contacted the Co-Op directly to request stands
Stands at Rails Road car park in Rivelin Valley S6 6GF
Stands outside Ecclesall Road Co-Op S11 8SD* we have also contacted the Co-Op directly to request stands
Stands on School Road next to Crookes Practise Health Centre S10
Stands on Glossop Road outside Roco S10 2HW
Stands on Jaunty Way at Gleadless Town End S12
Stands outside Gleadless Town End Co-Op S12 3DZ * we have also contacted the Co-Op directly to request stands
Stands on Greystones Road outside the shops S11
Stands on West Street S1
Stands outside Sainsbury’s on Weston Street S3 7NQ *we have also contacted Sainsbury’s directly to request stands
Stands outside Go Outdoors Sheffield S2 4SZ *we have also contacted Go Outdoors directly to request stands
Stands outside Sainsbury’s Upper Hanover Street S3 7LR *we have also contacted Sainsbury’s directly to request stands
Stands outside Bath Hotel, Victoria Street S3 7LR
Stands on Crookes high street S10
Stands on Fulwood Road in Broomhill S10
Stands outside Asda Queens Road S2 4DR * we have also contacted Asda directly to request stands
Stands in the city centre on Fargate, Pinstone Street, the Moor S1
Stands outside Sainsbury’s Barber Road S10 1ED *we have also contacted Sainsbury’s directly to request stands
Stands outside Sainsbury’s Local Nether Edge S7 1PE *we have also contacted Sainsbury’s directly to request stands
Stands outside Morrisons , Hillsborough S6 2GY *we have also contacted Sainsbury’s directly to request stands
Stands outside Roco, Glossop Road S10 2HW *we have also contacted Roco directly to request stands
How much would it cost?
The total cost of buying and fitting 1 Sheffield stand at all 30 locations listed above would be around £7,500 (almost double what Sheffield Council would have paid prior to the Amey deal).
What have we done?
We have emailed the council with a list of the location requesting that stands be fitted, logged the requests on parkthatbike.info and contacted the various stores (Asda, Co-Op, Go Outdoors, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s) to request that they fit the stands themselves.
What response have we got?
The council responded to say there is no money to fit any stands but that they would add them to list of locations where stands where required. I think this raises wider questions about what exactly they are spending their cycle budget on.
Parkthatbike responded to say that the scheme was not running in Sheffield at the moment but would hopefully start again later this year.
Asda, the Co-Op and Sainbury’s responded to say that they would log the issue (or similar) but didn’t say they would do anything about it. Morrisons and Go Outdoors have not responded yet.
The stands could be funded through Local Area Panel funding for small scale council ward improvements. People should contact their councillors directly about this which is easy to do via www.writetothem.com.
They say that “we would like to make major changes to the layout of Charter Square. These changes, while benefiting pedestrians and cyclists, will mean changes to how traffic flows in the area. Tell us what you think to our proposals.”
There isn’t a single cycle infrastructure project on the list. Neither are there any being planned for the future (see the schemes in the section “Preparation for Implementation in Future Years”).
We are told there isn’t any money for cycling infrastructure but this is misleading. No money has been made available for cycling schemes; however, there is plenty of infrastructure money available. It’s a case of priorities. Long-term capital funding has been obtained for the region’s public transport ambitions, but not for cycling.
Sheffield Council claim they want to get 10% of all journeys made by bike by 2025, rising to 25% by 2050.The figure is currently around 0.8% according to the council’s most recent traffic survey.
To help resolve congestion, air pollution and people’s inactivity other cities such as London, Leicester and Manchester are investing money in high quality cycling infrastructure to give people the freedom to make their journeys by bike.
Why are these cities able to fund cycle infrastructure improvements but the Sheffield City Region is not? The authorities in South Yorkshire are doing nothing and the region is being left behind as a result.