Tuesday, June 9, 2020

News: New Rotherham active travel projects


Parking bays are set to be suspended to increase footpath widths and provide additional cycle lane lengths in Rotherham town centre as part of a number of new active travel interventions.

Future schemes for the borough are proposed in a multimillion pound Active Travel plan.

£265,000 of Government funding is set to be diverted to the borough as part of a national emergency active travel fund.

It comes as the Sheffield City Region (SCR) publishes an ambitious plan to create a network of more than 620 miles of accessible walking and cycling routes across South Yorkshire to enable people to leave their cars at home.

£1.437m from the fund has been allocated to the SCR who were already developing a COVID-19 Active Travel response and partner authorities were already drawing up and implementing schemes.

SCR documents show that the Rotherham scheme aims to deliver additional active travel space by rapid deployment of carriageway re-allocation on corridors around the town centre and within principal towns.

This will include:
- suspension of parking bays to increase footpath widths / provide additional cycle lane length;
- crossing improvements and re-timing of signals in higher volume locations;
- implementation of one-way streets to prevent constriction of available space whilst enabling two-way cycling; and
- point closure to provide quiet streets and enable extended use of active travel.

The Government will undertake an assessment of the proposal to confirm the allocation of funding to SCR.


£166m has previously been secured from the Transforming Cities Fund, with half allocated for active travel, but more investment is required from the Government to make Mayor Jarvis and Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey's Active Travel Implementation Plan a reality.

By enabling active travel, it is forecasted that walking and cycling could be increased by 21% and 350% respectively, by 2040. To do this, Mayor Jarvis and Dame Sarah are committed to providing high quality, safe infrastructure which is accessible to all users, including adapted bikes and wheelchairs, and will empower local communities to co-develop ambitious future plans for walking and cycling in their neighbourhood.

A number of Rotherham elements have been included which could be delivered over the next five years. These include:
- Connecting Maltby to the main urban centre of Rotherham with localised enhanced active travel routes within the corridor
- Connecting the housing and employment growth area in the Dearne Valley to the local centre in Wath for active travel modes,
- Providing better active travel routes to enable more walking and/or cycling through Rotherham town centre, including links to Forge Island
- A new high quality segregated cycle route along the A6178 Sheffield Road to help support active travel links between Rotherham, Meadowhall and Sheffield
- Promoting active travel for accessing employment opportunities in Sheffield City Centre, the Lower Don Valley (including AMID) and Rotherham

Mayor Dan Jarvis said: "Active travel has always been at the heart of my transport vision for South Yorkshire. The benefits walking and cycling bring to all aspects of our lives are great and I am proud of how quickly we have developed this plan alongside our local authorities. Active travel is good for our health, good for the planet and good for the economy.

"We are in the midst of one the largest public health crisis in a generation and as we recover from coronavirus, we have an opportunity to change

"No one wants to return to gridlocked roads and polluted town centres, and this landmark strategy sets out how we can build back better. The aim should not be to go back to the status quo, it should be to make this a moment of fundamental change for our region and our country.

"Active travel should be part of an even wider strategy – a green new deal to transform our economy, create millions of new jobs, and counter the economic damage the pandemic has caused.

"I am pleased that the Government is allocating emergency funds to enable us to make space for pedestrians and cyclists in the age of social distancing, but this money must be released promptly.

"In the short term, we need to take the pressure off a stretched public transport system which is running at a fraction of its normal capacity, and prevent the gridlock which will be caused by people turning to their car. In the long term, we need sustained funding for active travel to enable us to deliver a green new deal for South Yorkshire."

Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, added: "During the first year of my appointment there has been an unwavering commitment to create this plan and I am delighted we can now publish it for all to see.

"Our local authorities have risen to the challenge to create an ambitious plan and are committed to redistributing road space and enabling active travel in a way that hasn’t been seen before. Our plan gives a clear goal – a network of routes linking up low traffic neighbourhoods.

"During the coronavirus pandemic we have seen an even greater demand for safe space for walking and cycling, as social distancing reduces public transport capacity and people look to maintain new exercise habits that were formed at the height of the lockdown.

"Creating space for active travel is creating space for everyone. It means that not having access to a car will no longer be a barrier to getting around. From safe streets for children to get to school, to pavements free from inconsiderately parked vehicles that block the way for people in wheelchairs and parents with pushchairs, walking and cycling provision ensures everyone can enjoy they place they live and travel safely and easily to the places they want to go.

"I was pleased to see the response from Government to the letter written by Mayor Jarvis and I about prioritising active travel in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic but we need this money now so we can begin to make our roads more pleasant places to be for those on foot or on bikes."

SCR website

Images: SCR


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