Long post, sorry. Report back on last night’s Cycle Forum, which was a Q&A with members of the Transport Committee.
Sustrans Volunteer John Kirwood led off with a question specifically about the access barriers on NCN6, which at this point is the bridleway leading around the side of the cafe and lake area. It is located on a steep hill and pretty much makes it impossible for an able-bodied person to cycle up, let alone a disabled user.
This led to a discussion about the more widespread replacement of barriers across the city (it would be wrong to use the term removal as they are pretty much always replaced by something conforming to LTN1/20) Quite a few have been replaced across the city – the 5WW no has no barriers, the Netherthorpe Road tram stop subway ones have gone, very usefully for me as I can now get the Sustrans trailer around much more easily. There are more to come, notably on NCN627 out to Beighton. I also reiterated concerns about Amey not taking the opportunity to replace barriers when they are resurfacing.
The police continue to have some concerns and there have been some instances of criminals accessing farmland on quad bikes, but I feel it must be up to landowners to ensure their property is secure.
Living Streets campaigner Helen raised a question about Ecclesall Rd South, would there ever be a scheme for a protected cycle track along this road? The officer present responded that there was no plan in the pipeline at present. I suggested that while we were waiting for such a scheme more use could be made of the quiet streets in Greystones, which are 20mph and there is a School Streets scheme at Greystones Primary. Helen responded that there could be problems passing oncoming traffic on the narrow and heavily parked streets and that crossing Ecclesall Rd to access the area is difficult. I certainly agree with the latter – we have asked for better crossings in the past e.g. as part of the “smart routes” initiative which was scrapped when the Amey PFI started – but have to say the former is not my experience although I appreciate that riding a solo bike is somewhat different from a bif “Tern” – style cargo bike with kids on board.
A question was asked on progress with the Active Travel (AT) Schemes, which do seem to be progressing rather slowly given that Leeds has implemented all of theirs. I think it was agreed that progress had been slow but work on Asline Rd is starting soon.
It was noted that Little London Road had seen an uptick in AT usage of up to 91%. Officers were going to check these figures and make them available for wider promotion of the schemes.
The Lane Campaign was at the meeting.Adrian Lane was the cyclist who was killed recently at the junction of Common Lane and Ringinglow Rd – we don’t yet know the circumstances of the collision. There is a recent proposal to divert NCN6 from the Porter Valley onto this road and there was a petition in April 2021 about cycling safety on the road. I find this a tricky one – I use it frequently myself. It is much used by road cyclists, speeds on the downhill are high. I don’t think many of these cyclists will comply if an attempt is made to channel them onto an off-road path along with walkers, joggers and horse riders.(Horse riders already use the footpath although it is not a bridleway.) On the other hand the motorised traffic is mostly leisure traffic along with drivers who have been guided this way by their GPS instead of the A625, then there are the owners of over-powered cars who use it for a burn, mostly in the evening.at a time when a low sun makes for poor visibility These users shouldn’t be prioritised and slower speeds should be a first step. At the moment we go from 20mph in the suburban area, 30 up to the end of the built-up area, then 50 upto ringinglow where it’s 30, snd 60 between there are the Sheffield boundary where it’s 40 between the cattle grids – crazy. Sustrans policy is that if a road is used for an NCN route the max speed limit has to be 40. Other proposed solutions have been; return it to a single track road with passing places, making one lane available only for non-motorised users; block it off above Ringinglow so through traffic is forced on to the A625. Let’s hope something is done on the back of this latest tragedy anyway. The police are conducting a road safety operation on Ringinglow Rd today, 21/10.
I got s last question in, fortuitously at a time when Mazher Iqbal had joined us, which was, given that he city has an obligation to reduce its carbon footprint to net zero why is it going ahead with schemes such as the Shalesmoor Gateway which will increase capacity at this junction by 20%, and conversely given this commitment how can we not proceed with AT LTN and School Streets schemes?
Mazher responded that the Shalesmoor Gateway scheme was necessary to unlock the potential of the remaining vacant land in that area and that at the moment the key priority was to restore Public Transport to a reasonable level (I think we can all get behind that) . He professed to be on board with Active travel implementation (although some reports suggest otherwise) and recognised that even if the entire road fleet was electrified we would still have congestion problems. (One might add onto that heart disease, obesity and mental health issues – I happened to be cycling through Treeton and Brinsworth at school letout time recently and was shocked by the number of obese kids I saw) Mazher also recognised that consultation on the schemes has been poor and said that this was to be improved.
Think that’s about it – again, apologies for the long post!