South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) are consulting on the future of the Supertram network. The tram network requires substantial investment (around £240m) to continue running after 2024.
A high quality mass transit system is vital to provide an attractive alternative to private car use for people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. CycleSheffield therefore support the renew and modernise option in the consultation. We also support the expansion of the tram network.
However, the current system is the biggest cause of accidents and injuries to people cycling in Sheffield. CycleSheffield has received over 560 tram track accident reports since January 2015 and it is likely many other accidents will have gone unrecorded in this period. Therefore since the Supertram opened in 1994 many thousands of people will have had accidents and injuries whilst cycling as a result of the tram tracks. Sheffield Council are well aware of the issue and have produced a number of reports about the problem. The presence of the onroad tram tracks also act as a barrier to more people cycling due to understandable safety concerns.
Any renewal or expansion of the system needs to take this into account and provide safe cycling routes and crossings designed in from the start. Tram lines should be accompanied by parallel, separate cycle routes. Particular attention should be focused on tram platforms and places where the tram tracks join or leave the carriageway at an acute angle – these are the locations where the majority of cycle accidents occur.
Trams should carry bikes to allow better integration between cycling and public transport, as they do in Edinburgh, on the Newcastle Metro and London Underground.
Better integration between tram and cycling infrastructure has the potential to greatly increase patronage by extending the reach of the tram network. For example, by providing bike stands and secure bike storage at tram stops together with high quality cycle routes to the tram stops.
Photo of Amsterdam tram with seperate cycle paths @projectsfromNL