Wednesday, January 18, 2023

News: £3.6m grant for Rotherham cycle scheme

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A council cycle scheme in Rotherham has been granted £3.6m even though it is expected to make queues longer at a roundabout on the edge of the town centre, and has a poor benefit–cost ratio.

Funding is being sought via the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) for improvements on Wellgate, Broom Road and Broom Valley Road to provide better conditions for cyclists, and pedestrians, travelling between the south east of the town and central Rotherham (including its onward rail and bus services).

This week, the SYMCA board approved a grant of £3.6m from various government pots to fund 660 metres of unidirectional cycleways on Wellgate and Broom Road. The rationale for the scheme is to encourage a mode shift away from private car use and to enable cycling in an area identified as a priority in the Rotherham Cycling Strategy. The work on Broom Valley Road does not yet have funding.

The proposals, which went out for consultation in 2021, are considered to be the most deliverable and acceptable means of achieving safe conditions for cycling and meeting key strategic policy objectives.

The consultation showed new one-way cycle tracks on each side of Wellgate between Hollowgate and Clifton Roundabout and some parking spaces and a redundant loading bay would be removed.

Clifton Roundabout, along with its approaches, will be narrowed to a single lane to control vehicle speeds, provide space for cycle tracks, separate from traffic and pedestrians, all the way around, and improve the refuge areas for pedestrians and cyclists crossing each arm of the roundabout.

The proposals mean that the current bus lane on Broom Road would end before the roundabout where two lanes will merge into one (at around Broom Terrace), with the cycle track alongside. The existing westbound bus lane will be kept, and goods vehicles will be newly allowed to use the bus lane.

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A report to the SYMCA board states: "There are disbenefits to car users specifically at the Clifton Roundabout caused by increased congestion due to reduced carriageway available for general traffic. Modelling has been undertaken to consider the potential impact, which was a requirement of the outline business case (OBC) approval. It has been concluded that additional journey time (a mean delay of 17.3 seconds to a driver’s overall journey time) and increased vehicle operating costs (PV of these over 60 years = £0.679m) will be imposed on the road users, as well as environmental costs on adjacent residents.

"It is noted that the impacts are expected and part of the Strategic approach and policy decision to enhance opportunities for cycling, and that the bus priority improvements on the A631 corridor proposed under Transforming Cities is expected to bring about a modal shift from car to bus, which may have impact on demand at this point. It is also noted that the forecast uplift in cycling will have a negligible, although positive impact on network performance."

The benefit–cost ratio (BCR), which assesses a project's value for money, was deemed as being "poor even if highway disbenefits are ignored" but the grant was approved as: "arguably (with evidence), some “sticks” as well as “carrots” are necessary to encourage more active travel."

In addition £2.3m has been set aside from Transforming Cities Fund Programme for the A631 Rotherham to Maltby bus corridor and more cycleways are proposed for the Broom area using another £1.5m from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS).

The council said that there had been over 100 responses received during the consultation covering Clifton roundabout and the predominant view was in favour of the scheme. Approximately 16,000 people travel in or out of Rotherham town centre via Wellgate in a typical weekday, per the SYPTE annual cordon count for 2019. Of these, around 17% arrive by non-motorised means (i.e. walking or cycling). In 2019 the number of cyclists was low, making up around 0.5% of passenger traffic.

Opponents had called for the use of cycleways through Herringthorpe playing fields instead of on the highway.

Cllr. Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment at Rotherham Council, said: "The Council has been keen over the last few years, where Government funding has come along, to create safe spaces for cyclists, particularly in and around the town centre. This Council has wanted to embrace those opportunities, and this was the case for Broom Road. The Council did understand residents’ viewpoints and they have purposefully sought to take onboard the views of all residents as the work has been undertaken."

Meanwhile, a scheme to connect the cycle route created through Templeborough to the town centre is under review.

Phase three of the scheme went out for consultation last year and included new traffic management measures to deter people driving through the town centre.

An update to the council states that "scheme design was revised following feedback from the public consultation. The revised approach has been discussed with Active Travel England (ATE), the recently introduced advisory body for active travel, and received positive endorsement. The Council is engaging local residents and businesses on the revised proposals in late 2022 with a view to submitting a revised scheme to South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) in early 2023 for completion in early 2024."

Images: Google Maps

11 comments:

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 1:02 PM  

As a cyclist my self ,I'm all for making my life safer on the road,but can't help but think that this is a massive waste of money ,in these times when that money could be used on things that far more people would benefit from.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 2:24 PM  

I am also someone who already cycles up Wellgate and can see this being a disaster. On most days you will see many cars parked on double yellows and ignoring the No Parking areas. Will this stop when the cycle lanes are built, I doubt it. It will just push the cyclist back into traffic as they manoeuvre around the cars.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 3:02 PM  

The plans were for the cycle tracks on Wellgate to be separated from the road by a kerb. Would that stop cars parking?

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 4:17 PM  

Hopefully it'll get more use than Sheffield Road, I've yet to see a cyclist using that yet.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 7:07 PM  

Shame improved cycling access wasn't introduced to Bawtry Road at Hellaby and Cumwell, Kingsforth Lane rather than the muddy roads left behind by the landfill lorries. Ah well, I'm sure it'll get better when the monstrous warehouse is operational at M18 J1, along with the air quality.......

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 7:16 PM  

That money is for cycle lanes and road management regarding it,it can only be spend on sustainable transport,it's a grant from the city region sustainable transport fund.
That grant money can not be spent on anything else but sustainable transport.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 7:19 PM  

It's from a grant from the city region for sustainable transport,it's a grant to do just that.It can not be spend on anything else whatsoever.

Anonymous,  January 18, 2023 at 9:27 PM  

The money may come from another source as a grant,but that money isn't from a magic money tree,it is money from central government,so therefore tax payers money,it should be spent wisely,not in crap like this ,as said above something many more people would benifit from ,not a couple of cyclist a day!

Anonymous,  January 19, 2023 at 3:26 PM  

If there is kerbs that may stop people parking on the cycle lanes, but in this day and age who knows.

Anonymous,  January 20, 2023 at 8:05 AM  

I've seen a few but not many, the problem with these segregated lanes with curbs, is they dont get cleared like the main carriage way. Most of the time the bike lanes are full of debris and during winter only the road gets gritted leaving the segregated bike lane full of ice, snow and/slush.

Anonymous,  September 27, 2023 at 4:26 PM  

Rotherham Council care so much about the cycling community that they recently allowed the two year closure of the canal tow path between Rotherham town centre and Holmes lock. This was an established route for both walkers and cyclists who used it as a valuable alternative to using cars and buses. Many workers along the Don Valley used it to connect them to their workplaces when buses were not available. This was the only place in Rotherham I have seen heavy cycle use and it has since failed to recover from its two year closure which, incidentally, was given no public consultation whatsoever. Hypocrites. They literally make it up as they go along.

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