'There are no simple answers when it comes to the future of Sheffield street usage'

If we were to sit down and design Sheffield from scratch today, how would we handle the balance of providing access for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians?

Friday, 1st October 2021, 6:00 am
Martin Greaves from Williamson Hardware in Broomhill.

Would we reduce the amount of car parking available to help tackle climate change, expand the Supertram network to make public transport more accessible, or as one person suggested to me this week, bring in ski lifts to enable cyclists to get back up the hills a tad easier?

Or would you make the roads wider and more direct and then pedestrianise certain quarters?

It would be a challenge, to say the least.

What’s even more of a challenge is trying to deal with all those issues when a complex network of roads already exists, many of them half full with parked cars because not all houses have drives, or clogged with traffic.

There aren’t enough bike lanes and some of them end in the middle of nowhere. Buses are often the subject of complaints and let’s not get started on the changes to bus stop locations in the city centre.

So I don’t envy Sheffield Council the job of trying to come up with any solutions to what seems like an unsolvable problem. Repeatedly.

The divisions are clear from reading the latest story on this same theme, that of permanently removing parking from outside shops in Broomhill.

It began as a temporary measure to promote social distancing during the pandemic, as did stopping traffic on Pinstone Street in the city centre. Now it could be here to stay.

It’s quite easy to see both sides of the coin. On one, shopkeepers and shoppers who fear a loss of livelihood or access. On the other, the need to promote greener transport and safer spaces.

What isn’t as easy is coming up with a workable solution, especially when the council still has some 400 spaces reserved for its staff and councillors (awkward). But might it be an idea to start looking at this as a whole city problem? Answers on a postcard, please.