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Sheffield City Council is launching a new project, Connecting Sheffield, which will focus on encouraging active travel and supporting the shift towards sustainable transport in and around the city.
Connecting Sheffield will encompass a range of transport schemes focused on delivering change in the city’s walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure.
The new scheme follows a successful bid made by Sheffield City Region, supported by Sheffield City Council, for funding from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. Sheffield will receive £50m which will be used to improve public transport, walking and cycling links to encourage people to leave their car at home.
The funding will deliver the first major step in the Council’s vision to transform travel in Sheffield and make it possible for more people to choose walking, cycling and public transport first. The reduction in a reliance on car journeys is a priority for the city’s future, not only to help ease congestion but to help address climate change and improve air quality in Sheffield. Future funding will support further schemes brought forward in subsequent phases.
Lower traffic levels have been seen during the pandemic as people have taken to walking and cycling on more journeys. It is hoped that this continues, as changes to travel infrastructure are prioritised.
The first phase of the project will focus on key areas that have been identified as locations where people are making short car journeys from home to work in the city centre and Lower Down Valley, including Neepsend, Kelham and Nether Edge. The proposed schemes will enable these to be made more safely by cycling, especially for shorter trips, and more quickly and reliably by bus.
The Transforming Cities Fund will focus on improving travel links through the following schemes:
All of the proposed schemes will be subject to public consultation, and the feedback received will help to inform the development of the routes identified. Under the current terms of the funding from the Department for Transport, all work must be completed by March 2023.
Councillor Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council, said:
“Connecting Sheffield is a major first step in overhauling our transport network to put walking, cycling and public transport at the forefront of travel choices available in our city.
“We know that for lots of people, travelling by car is sometimes the only feasible way of getting from A to B, but we want to make sure that walking, cycling and public transport offer a realistic option, especially for getting to work and for shorter journeys.
“It is disappointing that we did not receive our full bid for funding from the Government. Equally, we could never deliver everything we want to in this first phase. Other schemes will come in later phases. However, these projects still represent a major first step in developing our plans to create a more inclusive and diverse travel network that over time will transform how people move around Sheffield.
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen an increase in walking and cycling as people have taken the time to get outdoors and explore both their local communities and our wonderful parks and countryside, and we hope to make it possible for more people to continue to do this.
“Despite current restrictions, bus services will also remain a crucial part of our transport infrastructure into the future, helping thousands of people to get about. Although improving travel infrastructure may not seem like a priority right now, this work is vitally important in making sure our transport system is fit for purpose so that people can get to work, access services and visit family and friends now and in the future.
We know we have a long way to go to get where we need to be, but we are excited to be able to make a start.”
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said:
“The Transforming Cities Fund will help to achieve our ambition of a transport system for South Yorkshire that is fit for the 21st century.
“By enabling walking and cycling, and improving public transport, these Connecting Sheffield schemes will reduce congestion, improve air quality and allow people to live more active lives, which will improve their mental and physical health.
“Revolutionising how we travel to include modes which are beneficial to the health of both the planet and our people is vital as we develop a stronger, greener and fairer economy and society for South Yorkshire.”
Martin McKervey, Chair of the Sheffield Property Association, said:
“Our cities are evolving. Both investors and people living and working in cities are increasingly looking for quality of life, a city that’s easier to get around and people friendly, with a cleaner environment. Sheffield is ideally placed to deliver on this but it needs the right infrastructure in place. That’s why we wholeheartedly support this new vision for Connecting Sheffield and look forward to hearing more about the detailed proposals.”