Petition for safe road crossings at Sheffield woods reaches over 5,000 signatures

A petition urgently calling for a safe crossing on a ‘dangerous’ road near a popular Sheffield woods has reached its target of 5,000 signatures.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:53 pm

Ecclesall Woods is, possibly now more then ever, one of the most important and desirable locations for a walk or exercise in Sheffield.

However, its location off a busy main road with a 40 miles per hour speed limit lacerates through its very heart, and crossing from the Woodland Discovery Centre to get to the other side of the woods is becoming increasingly ‘dangerous’, with families and older people becoming more and more ‘nervous’ about making the crossing.

Now, a petition has been set up by Friends of Ecclesall Woods, a group formed in 1993, to make Sheffield Council add a safe crossing, such as a zebra crossing, to Abbey Lane.

A campaign has been launched to create a safe crossing on Abbey Lane at the entrance to Ecclesall Woods

Claire Cruikshanks, from the Friends of Ecclesall Woods, said on the online petition: “There are no crossing facilities along the woodland stretch so you normally have to race across the road.

“The bend in the roads, double parking of cars, and the hazardous junction with Whirlowdale road make this worse.

"Crossing between the woods is hazardous and difficult, particularly for older people, people who are less mobile and those travelling with young families.

“We urgently need safe ways to cross this busy road to ensure better access for everyone in Sheffield to this beautiful green space.”

The petition now has over 5,000 signatures, enough to be raised as an issue at a council meeting. Photo: Chris Etchells.

Members of Friends of Ecclesall Woods even dressed up in zebra costumes over the weekend to highlight the aim of the petition, holding placards and protesting against the lack of safe crossings for residents.

The petition has already reached over 5,000 signatures in less than a month, showing how ‘fed up’ people of Sheffield are with the lack of safe crossing points. Hitting that target means the issue will now have to be discussed at a meeting of Sheffield Council.

The Sheffield City Region Active Travel Map, an online forum for the community to talk about the best walks and cycles around the city, has a number of worrying complaints about the lack of safe crossing.

One user said: “Crossing Abbey Lane from the Ecclesall Woods bridleway over the busy 40mph Abbey Lane (to Whirlow Lane) is dangerous, especially when walking from the east because you can't see what cars are coming round the bend.

"Road is very busy on the weekends and so is the amount of walkers. I'd like to see a 30 mph limit and a zebra crossing to join the bridleways.”

Maxine Gregory, from Grenoside, visits the woods with her son and dog regularly and doesn’t ‘know how there hasn’t been an accident’.

She previously told the Telegraph’s David Bocking: “I go up there on foot, and there are families, kids on bikes and dog walkers all trying to get into the woods on either side of the road.

"I was up there in the fog recently and said I don’t know how there hasn’t been an accident here today.”

The petition closes on March 30, and The Friends of Ecclesall Woods group is aiming to take the petition to the council on March 31.