Increasing the speed limit on Sheffield’s second busiest road was a priority for residents, a council consultation has shown.
Sheffield Council dropped plans to raise the limit from 30 to 40mph on Penistone Road between the city centre and Hillsborough – saying it would save only seconds and cost £500,000 extra due to new Government standards for traffic signalling.
However, opposition councillors are calling for a new public consultation after a 2009 report showed residents supported raising the speed limit.
Increasing the limit was the second most popular topic in the 2009 consultation.
And a second report said it would lead to a ‘slight improvement in air quality due to fewer cars and less idling of bus engines’ although it could cause extra congestion at Shalesmoor roundabout.
Coun Ian Auckland, Sheffield Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, said: “We know during the last serious consultation increasing the limit was one of the biggest demands of residents, so it’s hard understand why Labour politicians blocked the plans.
“We need to reopen the consultation and develop a plan that benefits all modes of transport.”
The council said recent analysis showed air quality benefits were ‘questionable’, motorists would save less than 30 seconds if the limit was increased and could get caught in additional congestion at Shalesmoor.
A spokesman said: “The main issue slowing journey times is congestion and the current scheme achieves better journey times for all transport, while avoiding incurring an extra £500,000.”
Coun Leigh Bramall said opposition councillors were quoting old papers to make ‘political capital.
He said: “We have far more information than when the scheme was first mooted and know air qualitywould not be improved overall.”