Late last year researchers at the University of the Cambridge, led by Anna Le Gouais (https://twitter.com/AnnaLeGouais) published their work evaluating the £175 million pound Sustrans Connect2 programme. The Connect2 programme had originally used £50 million of investment from Big Lottery Funding to tackle physical obstacles on cycle and walking routes. Sustrans worked to grow this funding by working with stakeholders such as local government, local community groups and other agencies, eventually funding 84 schemes across Britain. The study shows how the scheme boosted cycling journeys on these routes on average by 52% and pedestrians by 38%, and that for every pound spent £3.70 was generated in benefits, a ‘very high’ value for money according to the Department for Transport.
Our Very Own Connect2 Scheme
One of these schemes was the Halfway-Killamarsh Connect2 route linking Halfway tram terminus with the Transpennine Trail at Killamarsh bypassing the busy B6058 Station Road. The scheme provides a link for Killamarsh residents to the tram terminus and superstore at Halfway and provides a safe route for Halfway/Westfield residents to access the Transpennine Trail both North towards Rother Valley Country Park/Sheffield and south towards Staveley/Chesterfield. The scheme comprises of a new 33 metre bridge over the River Rother, a new 31 metre bridge over the railway line and tarmac 3.5 metre paths linking to the new bridges from Old Lane (in Halfway) and Forge Lane (in Killamarsh).
Value for Money?
According to the report, before the scheme there were approximately 139,000 users per annum, with the scheme in place this rose to 179,000 per annum, a rise of 40,000 people or 29%. Due to the benefits of decongestion, increased access for residents to work, leisure, shopping, education and other transport and significant health benefits for those who had become more active this meant the scheme returned benefits valued at £5.20 for every pound spent!
So with the success in Killamarsh, where should we improve next? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below, but are here some we thought of.
In terms of low cost interventions you can’t beat school streets. Low, or sometimes no cost (especially if they use ANPR), these involve making streets outside schools safer for walking and cycling by restricting access to cars. School streets reduce road traffic danger to children, reduce levels of air pollution (both around schools and in general) and increase activity levels in children. These were trialled last year for short periods last around several schools in Sheffield (see articles in the Star https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/education/sign-scheme-make-roads-safe-outside-schools-sheffield-3045761 and the Telegraph https://www.thestar.co.uk/education/why-busy-road-outside-two-sheffield-schools-could-be-closed-traffic-month-1343359 ). Hopefully we will see some more soon!
Killamarsh current has a greenway route through its heart, village, shown on a Sustrans map of the area, below.
However as can be seen in the images of the crossing of Walford Road in Killamarsh Below, the route could do with a substantial upgrade. The current A frames, lack of tarmac pathing and narrow width of the greenway preclude people with disabilities, families with buggies and people of bikes from using the route to it’s full extent.
Crystal Peaks – Transpennine Trail/Rother Valley Country Park
One of the things that has made the Killamarsh – Halfway path such a success has been the link to Rother Valley Country Park. At the North end of Rother Valley the Transpennine Trail heads towards Sheffield via Beighton (shown on map below).
As can be seen from the map above the Transpennine Trail heads west from Rother Valley before heading north once it meets Sothall Green. However there are many narrow off road footpaths, such as the one shown below that could be upgraded to properly accommodate people with disabilities and people on bikes. A very simple upgrade would provide access to the Crystal Peaks shopping area.
Malin Bridge – Hillsborough
Malin Bridge is currently the start point for two very popular walks, up the Loxley and Riverlin Valleys. However the river Loxley itself continues down to meet the Don in Hillsborough. Building a new path, shown in red on the map above, would allow a relatively flat riverside walk to extend these routes (highlighted in yellow) into Hillsborough. This would encourage people in the Hillsborough area to be able to walk and cycle more, as well as encouraging existing walkers to visit shops in the Hillsborough area. A new link would also provide an alternative to the busy, and tramlined Holme Lane, providing potential routes for people’s everyday journeys and providing a low/no traffic route for people from Sheffield to be able to access the excellent countryside on our doorstep.
Club Mill Road
For those unaware of the Upper Don Trail Trust, they propose a link following the Upper Don, all the way from Lady’s Bridge on the Wicker to Stocksbridge. (Website available here: https://upperdontrail.org.uk). The route in the Owlerton area involves upgrading Club Mill Road so that people with disabilities, those pushing buggies and cyclists are able to use the route. This would enable residents to have access to the river, people accessing Wardsend Cemetery Heritage Park and provide a safer route from the city centre to Southey.
Asda – Clifton Crescent
A Multi-user bridge over Sheffield Parkway linking the ASDA shopping centre with Clifton Crescent would provide a pleasant, traffic free and safe route between Darnall and Handsworth. The current route along Handsworth road is an underpass of the Sheffield parkway with dark, pedestrian unfriendly pathways and no facilities for cyclists. An alternative bridge involves a half mile detour away from busy areas.
Twentywell Lane – Bradway Paths
A successful element of the Halfway Scheme was the link to the tram stop, so why not see if there are any other tram/train stations that we could improve access to. The current direct walking route from Dore & Totley station to Bradway involves a narrow pavement on Twentywell Lane and difficult, sometimes muddy surface off road. An upgrade of these routes would make it easier for all people to access the station at Dore and Totley.
Full article available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140520301729
Figure 1 – Map of the Scheme (Source, Sheffield City Council) http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet%20Highways%20Committee/20110908/Agenda/11a%20Connect%202%20Halfway-Killamarsh%20Phase%201%20Detail%20Design.pdf
Figure 2 – Map of Connect2/Killamarsh Greenway (Source: Sustrans)
Figures 3 & 4 – Killamarsh Greenway at Walford Road (Source: Google)
Figure 5 – Killamarsh (Source: Sheffield Cycle Map, Sheffield City Council)
Figure 6 – Entrance to Ochre Dyke Path, Beighton (John Prosser, 2007)
Figure 7 – Proposed Transpennine Trail – Crystal Peaks Link (Source: Google)
Figure 8 – Proposed Malin Bridge – Hillsborough Link (Source: Google)
Figure 9 – Club Mill Road (Source: Upper Don Trail Trust)
Figure 10 – Handsworth (Source: Open Street Map)
Figure 11 – Dore & Totley – Bradway (Source: Google)
Figure 12 – Dore & Totley – Bradway (Source: Google)