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Sheffield public art project on hold after widespread protest from cyclists

£160,000 art project leaves cyclists without proper provision

A decision on a £160,000 art work in Sheffield has been suspended after cyclists complained it would be better to spend the money on a cycle lane instead.

The project, Grey to Green, was supposed to narrow the route from West Bar to Castlegate to two lanes instead of four while showcasing public art with wildflowers, plants and grasses planted. but cyclists say the resulting shared use path is not sufficient.

Councillors say they were overwhelmed by messages of concern from cyclists, but argued that there was not a problem.

Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s deputy leader, told The Star the amount of traffic that used the road was ‘very light’ and it would be ‘very cycleable’.

He added: “I think it is important that we give proper consideration to how we’re spending it, it’s about getting the best decision for the scheme.”

According to local planning documents, “the ‘Grey to Green’ scheme has grown out of proposals in the City Centre Masterplan update of 2013.

“It is a key step towards expanding the boundary of the city centre back to its historic origins around the River Don and Castlegate and it will also complement Sheffield’s bid for the location of the High Speed 2 station at the nearby former Victoria Station. 

“Phase 1 of the project will focus on a half kilometre stretch between West Bar and Lady’s Bridge, including the Magistrate, Crown and Family Courts and the former Exchange Brewery. 

“The overall project will transform redundant roads into an attractive new linear public spaces incorporating innovative perennial meadows, an interlinked sustainable urban drainage system, rain gardens, public art and high quality paved footways and street furniture that will create a high quality setting for a number of key development sites in the area particularly at West Bar and Exchange Place.”

One local cyclist, Graham Allsopp, said “The council still hasn’t grasped the scale of change that they need to put in place if they want to achieve their stated aim of 1o per cent of all journeys being made by bike in nine years.

“A 3.5 metre pavement is not satisfactory for cyclists and pedestrians to share – having a separate bike lane is beneficial for drivers and pedestrians too.”

As we recently reported, Matt Turner, Chair of Cycle Sheffield said: “According to the plans you'll have a choice between riding on the busy but narrowed road with buses and taxis or riding on a shared used path where lots of people are walking. We know people don't like walking along and worrying that there's a bike behind them; what we need is a separate cycle path.

“We don’t think that this is a good use of the money,” says Turner. “We only have a few days to make our voices heard before the decision is made.”

Cycle Sheffield is asking people to contact their local councillors, asking them to challenge the decision.


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therealsmallboy | 8 years ago

I know this area very well because I work behind the Court (the building on the left of the artist's impression). I ride to work every day and purposely avoid this road, choosing instead to use the dual-carriageway A61 with it's slightly dodgy cycle lane because it is safer! This road is actually a major route out of the city centre to the A61 and M1 motorway. It's basically a short-cut straight through the city up-and-over to join up the ring road without going all the way round.

Wherever they came across the idea that this road is quiet baffles me. It is a major bus route (there's even a Stagecoach bus in the bloody graphic!!!) and West Bar Police station is a little further on, so there are either buses thundering along or Police cars responding with blues and twos going- or both. Add to that the handful of carparks in the local area where the thousands of people park up and walk to their offices etc.

To use the phrase "redundant roads" to describe this section is ludicrous. I cross it every day when walking up into the city centre for lunch and can promise you it is not quiet or redundant. To make matters worse, they're planning a shared-use path that will run along right in front of the Crown court and the family court, where many people- simply due to the activity that goes on in these building- convene outside on the paths, often just standing about talking, smoking, crying etc... Planning to allow cyclists to zoom through on a shared lane is an awful idea all things considered.

If this is going to go ahead, they should be installing a kerb-protected bike lane on the left of the road between the road and the green area. It should be two-way with a lane divider down the middle. The footpath and the cycle lane need to be seperate here or it will cause some problems I'm certain of that.

It's nice to see some money being spent to make this area look nicer as at the moment it is a bit ex-industrial and grey. It's next to the River Don where the factories and workshops used to be, so is under constant re-development.

I do wish the planners would engage their brains before signing the contracts though....

Toast | 8 years ago

And if it's a light use road anyway, surely this art won't be seen by any but a small minority? Aren't they basically admitting to throwing money at art on a road nobody uses - what am I missing there?

langsett | 8 years ago

So many questions, how will narrowing a road, help a bid for a busy transport interchange, without making sure that there is a safe choice for people to cycle to the station rather than drive?

Where is the money coming from ?

Simple way for the Council Leadership to prove the route is safe? Cycle it at peak periods themselves?

CarlosFerreiro | 8 years ago

If the traffic is very light then there's no problem, go filtered permeability and design in low speeds and your bike use is sorted and the enjoyment of the space improved for others at the same time.

severs1966 | 8 years ago

"Coun Leigh Bramall, told The Star […] it would be ‘very cycleable’."

Coun. Bramall does not ride a bike in the city.
As usual, this is a non-cyclist judging what cyclists need.
Or in other words, the councillor has no idea whatsoever about the subject they are discussing.

This is not acceptable. However, this is the norm in road planning.

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