Comments from CycleSheffield re University Masterplan

Comments from CycleSheffield re University Masterplan

CycleSheffield welcome the opportunity to comment on the Masterplan.  We recognise that the University has really supported cycling for students and staff

We understand that routes through the University will be open to the public.  We welcome that as these routes are already used by the general public and would help all vulnerable road users avoid the ring road and other busy roads

We understand the priorities of the Masterplan are these

  1. ​Complete Durham Rd multi-story car park which will give space to get car parking off the university site  (access to new car park via Clarkson St, exit via Glossop Rd​(?))
  2. Put in two surface crossings on Western Bank as per drawings (UoS would like to get rid of crossing on Western Bank next to Brook Hill roundabout but SCC may want to keep it as pedestrians from Netherthorpe flats use that route​)
  3. Pedestrianise ​(make car & bus free​) ​Hounsfield Rd, Leavygreave Rd from Upper Hanover St​ ​to Portobello and Gell St from Leavygreave Rd to Glossop Rd​
  4. Improve Upper Hanover St crossing at University tramstop to ease flow
  5. Explore with SCC (and hopefully put in) one way gyratory up Western Bank, down Clarkson St, down Glossop Rd back on to Upper Hanover St

We make the following comments

A. Cycle Hub

We welcome the plans for a new cycle hub adjacent to the Hick’s Building.  We trust that will also be a priority.

B. Air quality

Air quality in Broomhill is a public health issue and the major cause is motor traffic.  We trust that the charges for the multi-story car park will make walking, cycling and public transport attractive choices for all who visit, or work and study at, the university.

C. Consideration of displaced parking

We are concerned that parking may be displaced elsewhere.  For example, we draw your attention to the car parking on cycle lanes at peak times on Clarkehouse Rd by both NHS and UoS employees which is abuse of cycle facilities.  We trust that the big employers in Broomhill can work with SCC Traffic enforcement on this issue.

D. Gyratory

  1. We understand the reasoning for a gyratory and the effect this could have on the Brook Hill roundabout.  However, gyratories are not always cycling-friendly and in London many are being  removed or adapted, for example, to allow cycle contraflow at key points.
  2. Currently there is a cycle lane going up Clarkson St and it may be a good idea to keep this as a mandatory contraflow cycle lane.   Otherwise/cyclists heading from Glossop Rd (city bound) to Weston Park/Children’s Hospital would have to go round the gyratory.
  3. Currently Glossop Rd is a relatively busy cycling route (inbound in the mornings/outbound in the evenings).  Consideration should be given to providing an outbound route from Upper Hanover St (and the junction with Wilkinson St) and access for cyclists from Clarkson St to Glossop Rd (outbound).
  4. If there is a gyratory then access to Durham Rd for cyclists needs to be considered.  Will Durham Rd also be one-way, ie Clarkson St to Glossop Rd?  At the moment cyclists exit the campus via the Octagon and can turn left and right onto Durham Rd and cyclists can enter Durham Rd from Glossop Rd to access the campus via the Octagon.  We would appreciate these routes being kept open.
  5. If there is a gyratory then we are uncertain as to what the flow of motor traffic would be for access in and out of the Durham Rd multi-story and whether this would create jams and queues at busy times of day.  Jams and queues can block access or go across cycle facilities and may make traveling more hazardous for cyclists
  6. Every opportunity should be taken to provide dropped clearly signed kerbs/surface access points in and out of the campus for cyclists from Western Bank, Glossop Rd, Clarkson St, & Upper Hanover St see section on crossings below.
  7. Plans for the gyratory are sketchy, but consideration could be given to a mandatory cycle lane around the campus on the road

E. Crossings

  1. We welcome the plans for the surface crossings on Western Bank.  We hope that these can be surface crossings, ie at the same level as the footway, but we acknowledge that this may not be possible.  We ask you to look at the crossing on Arundel Gate from SHU to Surrey St.  This is a toucan crossing with dropped kerbs on both sides of the road that enable cyclists to exit Arundel Gate to access the crossing and cycle routes, eg down Howard St.  We trust that similar (toucan crossing, dropped kerbs) could be installed on Western Bank at least on the crossing planned for the desire line to and from the Arts Tower.
  2. We think the crossing on Upper Hanover St near the tram stop should  be a toucan crossing. This is the crossing on the gold route and it is the main route for cyclists from the NW into town (it basically provides the best link from Crookes Valley/Arts Tower/Concourse/Hounsfield/Leavygreave to Leavygreave/Portobello etc into town.  It is the safest, most convenient, quickest route for many cyclists daily and it follows an obvious desire line). At the moment it is a dog-leg with ‘sheep pen’ fencing to stop people falling into the ring road.  It needs to be wider and access from the Leavygreave Rd side needs to be widened for the projected number of pedestrians let alone any cyclists (has the University bought the Henderson’s site yet – it still shows up as the same old building in the drawings?). The crossing should enable cyclists to keep on the gold route without getting off and pushing one’s bike.  (If the tram company object on safety grounds then just point out the open access across tramlines from Castle Square up the High St where pedestrians and cyclists can travel across, uncontrolled, not just tram lines but also lines of traffic and the junction with York St)
  3. The crossing from the campus between Hounsfield Lane and Brunswick St, which allows two way cycling, should also be a surface toucan crossing with appropriate access for cyclists from Glossop Rd so they can get in or out of campus and cross the road,
  4. We are very concerned that there is little mention of the crossings on Bolsover St/Winter St and access for cyclists off and onto the campus from these roads.  This is hazardous and known to be a collision spot especially for cyclists, and in particular the issue of the R turn into the Uni Arts Tower car park after the Star and Garter. The access to Weston St complicates the situation. This could be a good chance for the Uni and SCC to work together and provide a safer option. See Appendix A for suggested options.  Winter St then becomes Crookesmoor Rd, and cycling up to and from Harcourt Rd can be hazardous. We refer you to a member’s comments on cycling this route (Appendix B) and his suggestions for what should or could be done to improve the situation

F. Pedestrianisation

  1. We welcome making areas traffic-free.  We trust that essential deliveries can be facilitated by considering hours of delivery and/or designated places for delivery vehicles to park so that pedestrians and cyclists do not have their travel impeded
  2. At the moment the official inner city cycle route is along Victoria St parallel to Gell St. If Gell St is to be made traffic free then it may make more sense to make Gell St the cycle route.
  3. Pedestrianisation of Leavygreave Rd could ensure a continuity with Portobello for pedestrians and cyclists.  However the motor traffic from Regent St to St George’s Terrace will cut across this.  We think the priority at this junction should be for the pedestrians and cyclists and motor traffic from Regent St should give way.  We also refer you back to E2 above; the crossing should mean a clear gold route for cycling.
  4. We are concerned that there seem to be plans for steps from University Sq to  Upper Hanover St on what is now Leavygreave Rd.  This is the gold route and we would like to keep that a shared pedestrian/cyclist route as it currently is.  There does not seem to be any suitable detour for cyclists to get back onto the gold route on Leavygreave Rd on the other side of Upper Hanover St at all.  These steps will not accommodate mobility scooters or wheelchairs either. They may look nice but their inclusion shows a lack of consideration of cycling (or the infirm, disabled and visually impaired).
  5. The same consideration as in E3 for prioritising walking and cycling could be made at Portobello/Mappin St/Portobello St intersection with low cost, ie traffic travelling along Mappin Rd from Brook Hill should give way.
  6. Pedestrianisation of Hounsfield Rd should entail clear cycle access from and onto Glossop Rd/Upper Hanover St.

G. Speed limits

  1. The speed limit on the inner ring road is 40mph.  However the average speed of vehicles through this section of the inner ring road is much lower because of queuing, lights-controlled crossings on Netherthorpe Rd and Upper Hanover St, and traffic lights.  The projected speed limit according to the City Masterplan inside the inner ring rd will be 20 mph. We think the speed limit between Netherthorpe Rd and Glossop Rd should be dropped to 30mph in the belief that it will be a lot safer for vulnerable road users, more pleasant without racing traffic, will be a smaller drop or raise in speed for traffic turning in or out of the city centre, and make little difference to average journey time.
  2. We think the speed limit on the gyratory should be no more than 30 mph – for the same reasons as in the para above
  3. We think that UoS and SCC should work together to look at slowing all the traffic down around Brook Hill and the gyratory by designing the roads so that traffic, instead of stopping and starting with racing in between keeps moving but at a steady slow pace, cf Poynton roundabout.

Appendix A- improving cycle access to/from Bolsover Street

Options could be:

  1. a Left hand drop kerb ‘cycle run off’  after Weston St to deliver cyclists to a new Toucan crossing over to the Arts Tower entrance. (Prob where Pelican is now?);
  2. and for more experienced/confident cyclists who will not want to spend ages ‘Toucanising’ then install a red right turn ‘haven’ strips or ‘fillet’ in road centre, just prior to the toucan;
  3. both should lead a cyclist over to a dedicated cycle entrance lane, separate to the ped one, going into the Uni, avoiding cycle/pedestrian conflict as you leave the  crossing/road.

(We know these strips, like the Glossop Rd R turn into Brunswick St aren’t to everyone’s liking.  They also exist on Woodseats Rd for a turn into Ulverston Rd, and Saxon Rd for a turn onto a cycle path alongside Virgin Active.  They provide the more experienced cyclists with a R turn option instead of using the toucan crossing.  However we feel the the toucan crossing is important for less confident cyclists.  If  money/DfT guidelines dictate these 2 options conflict, then go with toucan+dedicated cycle entry point and the rest of us will have to take our chances turning right as we do now.

Appendix B- improving cycling routes to/from Crookesmoor/Walkey

In the morning traffic queues from around about Harcourt Rd as far as the roundabout. As a cyclist you have a pretty free run down the bus lane until the pinch point at Mushroom Lane where the bus lane ends for about 50m, before starting again at the Star and Garter. It’s always a tricky decision here, which side of the queue you go down. I believe accident stats show that this area as a hotspot.

Cyclist entering the University from Bolsover St. Well known issue, no official filter / crossing for cycles. Depending on traffic I’ve often seen people go through the Geography car park, along the pavement and on into the concourse. It’s not ideal as it has a potential conflict with pedestrians and involves bunny hops over kerbs, but I guess it’s safer than standing in the middle of traffic trying to execute a right turn.

In the evening, a queue builds up in the opposite direction. This can be more tricky to deal with as it’s a moving queue, by which I mean its rarely stationary but crawls up the slight gradient at 5 – 10mph. Cars leaving the car park at Bart House will often go left down the hill, then U-turn via Geography back into the uphill stream as it’s a quicker way in, but not really recommended for a cyclist.

Once in the queue most cyclists take the LHS by the kerb and undertake as far as the pedestrian crossing, some hardy souls go out right but you need to keep up to 20mph to do that. The queue isn’t uniform which means you can get halfway up it then meet a vehicle that way over to the left that you cant get by it. Then you still get the odd numpty who deliberately moves over to block cycles on the LHS.

As you get further up the hill you reach the pedestrian crossing and the Harcourt Rd junction, both of which have been recognised as dangerous (Harcourt road safety scheme still on hold due to spending cuts, probably incorporated into Amey work in 2017)

Once you get past Harcourt Rd the traffic thins out considerably. Harcourt is the main rat run, and you get far fewer vehicles turning left at the Crookesmoor Rd crossroads. From this point you are clear of what might be considered part of the University area.

From many years of cycling this way I find once you’ve cleared the Harcourt Rd / Beanies area then traffic is less of an issue and Barber Rd is officially a clearway evening and mornings

From the master plan drawings I see a major pedestrian crossing is proposed at Weston Park lower entrance / Arts Tower and another crossing point appears to be marked outside Bartolome House where the car park is eventually to be removed and turned into a green space (5-10 years). I can’t see a lot of detail in my print out.

My suggestion would be use these crossings to remove the pinch point for cyclists and provide a safe joined up shared route from the end of the bus lane on Crookes Valley downhill as far as the concourse. This would also incorporate a safe route into Weston park as this is a desire line for pedestrian, I see dozens everyday waiting outside Bartolome House trying to cross there rather than walk down the hill to the crossing past the Star and Garter (if only Mushroom Lane had been downgraded to Ped / cycle route this would have been easier)

Uphill, I know some have said we cyclist don’t need anything new but after years of riding it a proper uphill cycle lane, Dutch style using the large amount of available wasted space (I guess it was once a grass verge) up to a completely redesigned junction at Harcourt Road, taking into account the needs of the pedestrians on that crossing (light controlled) and then allowing cyclists to move across the Harcourt Rd junction with right of way before reaching Beanie’s where the traffic thins out considerably.

 

 

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