How will the Sheffield Retail Quarter Planning Application affect Cycling?

Please come along to our event on Tuesday evening when we’ll be walking around the site, explaining the planned changes and discussing how CycleSheffield should respond, followed by a pub trip. Everyone is welcome – you don’t need to be a cycling expert or planning geek! It’s a great chance to get involved and meet people if you’ve not been involved before. We’re starting at 18:30 in Barkers Pool in the city centre. More info here.

You can read the final CycleSheffield response to the Sheffield Retail Quarter planning application here.

KEY PARTS OF THE PLANNING APPLICATION AFFECTING CYCLING & WALKING

When trying to assess how highways schemes and transport plans will impact on cycling it’s crucial to look not just at cycle routes themselves but also driving and bus routes and how these will interact with and impact on cycle and walking routes.

Increased traffic caused by new carparks must be carefully planned to avoid compromising cycling and walking routes

The plans include two new multi-storey carparks in the city centre, meaning two new key destinations where private motor vehicles will drive.

Cars heading to carparks

  • From the south: access via Charter Row and Rockingham Street.
  • From the north: access via Broad Lane, Rockingham Street, West Street and Westfield Terrace

Cars leaving carparks

  • Heading south: Via Wellington Street to Fitzwilliam Street and Charter Row.
  • Heading north: Via Rockingham Street to Broad Lane.

What this means is that Wellington Street, Fitzwilliam Street, Westfield Terrace, West Street and Division Street will all see increased levels of motor traffic, but Moorhead and Pinstone Street will see reductions in traffic. The area around the two car parks will be a complicated system of one ways streets, restricted turns and bus gates. A lot of things are changing and walking around it on Tuesday will help us to understand.

Overall Traffic Map

Protected space for cycling is needed where traffic is set to increase

Increased traffic on Fitzilliam Street with no protected space for cycling planned (the junction of Fitzwilliam and Charter Row is being widened to accommodate increased motor traffic). This road is fairly heavily used by cyclists and forms an important route in the city centre.

Fitzwilliam Street

Built-in hazards such as cycle lanes on the outside of parked cars are not acceptable

The route from the bottom of Devonshire Green along Wellington Street past the Devonshire Cat and Bike Rehab will become one way towards Fitzwilliam Street and will be used by traffic leaving the car parks. The plans show a contraflow cycle lane, but it is shown on the outside of on street parking next to oncoming traffic.

Bike routes must be convenient if they are to provide a viable alternative to driving

When the cycle lane on Wellington Street reaches Trafalgar Street, the straight ahead movement is not possible because the car park entrance and exit is a one way street with no cycle contraflow. If on a bike, you’ll have to join car park traffic on Trafalgar Street going north. This is both an unnecessarilly uphill (straight on is flat to the City Centre), and there be lots of traffic with no protected space for cycling.

Wellington Street

The new Cycle Hub must be safe and convenient to access

There are plans for a cycle hub, with parking, facilities and a shop inside the main multi-storey car park, however it is in the place with the most motor traffic and providing a comfortable environment to actually cycle there will probably be difficult and require some compromise.

Vibrant streets like Division Street must be protected from increased motor traffic

We may see additional traffic on Division Street leaving the multi-storey car parks, heading towards both Glossop Road, and St Georges Terrace. It’s possible that some traffic won’t use the prescribed route to Broad Lane via Rockingham Street and will cut through here. It’s not appropriate to increase traffic levels on these streets, they don’t have any protected space for cycling and are key ‘places’ and hubs of pedestrian activity and city life.

People must be able to cross roads safely & conveniently

Another concern is increased levels of traffic at the junction between West Street and Rockingham Street. This is a crossroads which is crossed by thousands of people every day but only one arm has a signalised pedestrian crossing. There is a question mark over whether pedestrian crossings on the other three crossings will be provided, the planning application has conflicting information on this.

Rockingham Street

Rat-running must be prevented

Under the current plans it will remain possible to drive right through Sheffield City Centre bypassing the ring road. From Broad Lane to Ecclesall Road, and also in the opposite direction. It shouldn’t be possible to do this and these routes should be closed.

The city centre should be a destination, not a through route. Catering for through traffic in the city centre restricts our ability to create a nicer place to cycle and to live.

It’s not all bad…

A chance to create protected space and improve journeys from the south of the city

Charter Row will be closed to private motor traffic at Charter Square which means that there will be no cars crossing Moorhead or driving up Pinstone Street. The plans show cycling facilities running from the old Charter Square roundabout to Moorhead and the uphill direction on Pinstone Street will become bicycle only. This will be a great route into town from the South of the city. However these changes are outside the scope of the Retail Quarter, Sheffield Council are planning to develop this themselves using money from the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF).

Moorhead

Requiring all private motor traffic to turn off Charter Row into Rockingham Street (a single carriageway in each direction), means that space will be freed up on Charter Row which currently has multiple lanes in each direction. This space could easily be used to provide protected space for cycling, again, improving journeys massively into the city centre from the south of the city.

If you’d like to join us on Tuesday evening to discuss these issues (even if you don’t understand them), then please do come along. Everyone is welcome and it’s an excellent opportunity to get introduced to the work that CycleSheffield does. Hope to see you all soon.

 

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