How depressing to read that King Edward's swimming pool is “organising a petition” to overturn the long awaited and very welcome decision to ban parking in the Clarkehouse Road cycle lane.
Has it really come to this? Has a selfish car culture become so deeply embedded in Sheffield over recent years that such a petition can be contemplated? The parking ban has been introduced to prevent injury to cyclists and ensure safety for pedestrians using Clarkehouse Road and it has been supported by 101 out of 111 local residents and businesses consulted, including King Edward's. It has been pointed out that there is ample public parking provision only a short walk from the swimming pool. Schools, colleges and universities are now beginning to return to work for the autumn term and the usual nightmare of traffic congestion, pollution and frustration will return. Sheffield is already one of the most congested and polluted major cities in the country so it makes sense to look at alternatives to the private car. Other cities do it… look at the imaginative Beelines project in Manchester or the new cycle superhighways in London and the surge in cycling (and walking) which accompanies these initiatives. But, just as importantly, look at the massive enthusiasm shown by Sheffielders and their families who turn out on their bikes for the regular bike days when major roads are closed to traffic. Days such as the Sheffield Big Ride offer a tantalising glimpse of what a great place Sheffield could be to travel around if viable alternative walking and cycling possibilities were opened up. The extraordinary debate about whether or not motorists should be allowed to park in cycle lanes is the precise opposite of what we should be discussing to create a healthy and vibrant city. Unless cycling and walking are encouraged and made safe (and pleasant) in the city, Sheffield will become a more unhealthy place to live, with ever increasing air pollution and, eventually, gridlock.
Robin Parrish and Karin Hessenberg