A revamp at the front of Sheffield railway station is being rolled out - to make it more attractive to cyclists and to tackle long-running problems of traffic congestion on the forecourt.
Over the next 12 weeks, East Midlands Trains, which runs the station, is creating one of the biggest station cycle hubs in the country and reconfiguring part of the area in front of and next to the station to separate taxis from other vehicles and to form a new short-stay car park.
“Once the work is done, the area in front of the station is going to be a lot safer,” said customer services manager Jay Khetani.
The whole process of traffic getting into and out of the station will be “a lot slicker and smoother”, he said.
Work is starting on the cycle hub, creating space for 400 cycles instead of 150 in a redevelopment that also includes toilets and bike-washing facilities and a privately-run cycle repair shop and hire centre.
Access will be by a smartcard system, with a £10 refundable deposit for cards.
Extra cycle spaces are also being provided on platforms six and eight for cyclists who enter the station from the Norfolk Park side.
“The cycle hub will be one of the biggest of its kind in the country,” said Jay.
It is hoped it will encourage more people to cycle to the station - and to help towards reducing long-running frustration over congestion in front of the building.
But the key is seen as separating traffic.
A new pick-up and drop-off point and a new 14 space short-stay car park, probably for up to 20 minutes, is due to be created in the next week or so.
The location is a staff car park at the side of the station, which is being moved to the large cleared area that is awaiting redevelopment, at the other side of the access road.
Under the revised arrangements, private vehicles will turn right from the access road to get into the new area, leaving via a new exit. Black cab and private hire taxi drivers will drive on, to a taxis-only zone immediately next to the station.
Some disruption is expected in the short term, while the new taxi area is completed.
A temporary system for allowing taxi drivers to pick up and drop off further away from the station, and to return to the main road, is being finalised.
The main scheme has been devised by East Midlands Trains working with the council and comes after years of complaints about traffic snarl-ups, ever since the large public square was developed as part of Sheffield’s lottery-backed millennium programme.