THE future of one of the busiest junctions in Sheffield city centre has been thrown open to a public vote.
An online survey is being conducted into whether a right turn should be reintroduced for motorists who want to cross from Pinstone Street to get to Charter Square.
At present, they – and bus drivers – have to turn left on to Furnival Gate and go around Furnival Square roundabout instead of taking the more direct route.
The council is carrying out the vote as part of its Driving Me Crazy initiative which allows the public to nominate unpopular traffic restrictions with a view to them being removed.
The Moorhead scheme has proved unpopular with some drivers since it was introduced on a temporary basis during roadworks in 2008.
Tim Hale, chairman of Champion Hire Ltd and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative on the Motorists’ Forum, is among those wanting to see the right turn brought back.
He said: “Access within the city for commercial vehicles and cars has been difficult for years, principally due to the bottlenecks artificially created by closing roads and effectively dividing the city into quarters where the only communication between them is through pinch points and unnecessarily created bottlenecks.
“The partial reopening of this important junction is to be welcomed as a first step in starting to address this problem”
The council accepts that “the current arrangement does not appear to make sense for drivers who wish to turn right out of Pinstone Street to go directly to Charter Square”.
At the same time, its highways officers believe traffic flows more smoothly and safely under the latest arrangements.
In order to safely allow the right turn, an extra stage of traffic light control would be needed, lengthening queues on Pinstone Street and Furnival Gate, it is argued.
Traffic would have to wait longer, and so would pedestrians waiting to cross the road between Pinstone Street and The Moor.
Bus operators want to stick to the existing situation. Brandon Jones, deputy managing director of First South Yorkshire, said: “It is important that bus users benefit from the quickest route. However, in this case, the direct right turn is not necessarily the quickest solution for every journey.
“By reintroducing the right turn out of Pinstone Street, an additional set of lights would be required which would reduce the green time out of Pinstone Street. The real danger is that this could create queues back through along Pinstone Street and Leopold Street with the potential to affect West Street and High Street, therefore delaying buses across the city.
“From the modelling carried out and as long as Furnival Square roundabout is kept clear, I am not convinced that the re-introduction of the right turn out of Pinstone Street would help speed up overall journey times for bus customers.”
Carole Robinson, store manager at Debenhams, which overlooks the junction, said: “I would not support any proposal that would increase delays to pedestrians crossing to and from The Moor at Moorhead.”
An estimated 22,000 pedestrians cross the road at this point during the week, and 40,000 on Saturdays.
To vote, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/schemes/moorheadvote.