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Agenda item

Penistone Road Pinch Point and Better Buses Scheme

Report of the Executive Director, Place

Decision:

5.1

The Executive Director, Place submitted a report presenting the objections received following the advertisement of five Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) in relation to the Penistone Road ‘Pinchpoint’ and Better Buses scheme and the officer response to the objections.

 

 

5.2

RESOLVED: That:-

 

 

 

(a)

with the exception of the TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South, the objections be overruled to the TRO’s related to the Penistone Road ‘Pinchpoint’ and ‘Better Buses’ scheme and the orders be made in accordance with the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Orders be introduced;

 

 

 

 

(b)

a decision be deferred regarding the TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South, pending further investigation;

 

 

 

 

(c)

the decision to increase the speed limit to 40mph between Infirmary Road and Capel Street be approved in principle but further discussions be held as to its operation; and

 

 

 

 

(c)

those who made representations be informed accordingly.

 

 

 

5.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

5.3.1

The TRO to prohibit the right turn out of Hillsborough Barracks would mean that more green signal time could be given to traffic turning in and out of the junction, thereby reducing queuing traffic on Penistone Road and more efficiently releasing the vehicles exiting the Barracks.

 

 

5.3.2

The TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South would allow a signalised toucan crossing to be implemented across this junction, to aid pedestrian and cycling movements, without adding another stage to the junction’s traffic signals. However, there have been objections, to this particular proposal, that officers had not had time to fully consider before needing to report back to the Cabinet Member.

 

 

5.3.3

The TRO to add further loading restrictions to part of Bradfield Road would maintain the free flow of traffic from Penistone Road.

 

 

5.3.4

The TRO for the designated outbound bus lane would increase the attractiveness of Penistone Road as a public transport corridor. It would also allow the bus lane to be camera enforced should the need arise.

 

 

5.3.5

The TRO to allow the speed limit change would satisfy the recommendation set out in the speed limit assessment of the City’s ‘A’ roads, following the Department for Transport’s national guidelines on setting speed limits. The increase in limit would allow speeds to be consistent and appropriate for the surrounding environment and would provide an opportunity to highlight the change in character of the road where the limit becomes 30mph.

 

 

5.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

5.4.1

Although the ‘Pinchpoint’ and ‘Better Buses’ schemes both look specifically to tackle issues relating to ‘motorised’ forms of transport on the Penistone Road corridor, officers have built on the preliminary Smartroute proposals to achieve much improved access for pedestrians and provide facilities both on street and off for cyclists. These provisions have been at the forefront of the design process.

 

 

5.4.2

An alternative to the scheme put forward would be to further increase provision for one particular user group, i.e providing an additional lane for general traffic/providing further bus lanes or more crossing points etc, however officers consider that this would affect the balance of the proposals and due to private land constraints would be at the expense of another user group.

 

 

5.4.3

Officers could have advertised the 40mph speed limit for a much longer section (Herries Road South to Shalesmoor) as recommended following the speed limit review of all ‘A’ class roads in the City in 2010. However, following a more recent review (breaking the route into two sections) and considering the proposals to be implemented as part of the ‘Pinchpoint’ scheme, officers consider a new limit of 40mph only to be appropriate between Infirmary Road and Capel Street.

 

 

5.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

5.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

5.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Simon Green, Executive Director, Place

 

 

5.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Economic and Environmental Wellbeing

 

Minutes:

5.1

The Executive Director, Place submitted a report presenting the objections received following the advertisement of five Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) in relation to the Penistone Road ‘Pinchpoint’ and Better Buses scheme and the officer response to the objections.

 

 

5.2

Rupert Lyons, a representative of Transport Planning Associates who had been appointed by Tesco to assess the potential impact of the proposed Traffic Regulation Order to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South, attended the Session to make representations to the Cabinet Member. He welcomed the recommendations, in particular the recommendation to defer a decision on a proposal to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South pending further consideration.

 

 

5.3

In respect of the proposed no left turn, currently vehicles exiting the Tesco site were it occupied and travelling north could turn left on Herries Road South. If this left turn was banned vehicles would have to travel down the A61 and do a u turn on Livesey Street before travelling back North and this added an extra 1.29km onto journeys. This equated to an additional journey length for vehicles of 155km and 4 1/4 hours on any weekday. This would also impact on air quality. Mr Lyons concluded by stating that he welcomed the opportunity to work with officers to find an optimum solution to suit all.

 

 

5.4

John Bann commented that he welcomed Mr Lyons support for a deferral of the proposal for a no left turn. Officers were trying to create a balance between all users. The increase in delays was a valid point. He asked Mr Lyons if Tesco had considered other access to the store?

 

 

5.5

In response, Mr Lyons commented that currently there were 4 ways to access the store. The proposals would remove 2 vehicular crossovers and he had concerns about that. If the proposals were agreed there was potential on Penistone Road North for vehicles to slow down for cyclists and pedestrians which would have an impact upstream. Creating a balance for all users was key.

 

 

5.6

Councillor Jillian Creasy also made representations to the Cabinet Member. She stated that her specific concern was the proposal to raise the speed limit from 30mph to 40mph between Infirmary Road and Capel Street. She believed that the report did not fully address the impact of the proposals on air quality. It would not save time as there were a number of junctions with heavy traffic which would not change as a result of the proposal.

 

 

5.7

She questioned why there was a need to raise the speed limit at this time in the context of the recent Scrutiny Cycling Inquiry and the recently launched Green Commission. There had been no evidence presented of a positive impact on air quality as a result of the proposals.

 

 

5.8

Andrew Richards, representing Cycle Sheffield, commented that he was disappointed with the summary of the objections in the report as this did not fully reflect the objections submitted. He congratulated the Council on their commitment to encourage people to cycle but was concerned that with schemes such as this there would be no proper legacy of cycling in the City.

 

 

5.9

There appeared to be a ‘bolt on’ approach to cycle infrastructure and audits. Measures to encourage cycling were often an afterthought to appease cyclists. Cycle audits were not being done properly as a matter of course. There was a need to provide good facilities to encourage people to cycle.

 

 

5.10

Despite the proposals presented in the report the best way to reduce congestion on Penistone Road was to provide the infrastructure for people to cycle.  At Rutland Road there was nothing in the proposals for a pedestrian phase on the traffic lights at a junction already difficult for pedestrians and cyclists.

 

 

5.11

Mr Richards added that for many residents the design effectively barred them from using the healthy transport option and as a result many would drive and congestion would not be eased. The proposals would not reduce air pollution at a time when Sheffield was already on course to attract EU fines for breaching air quality regulations.

 

 

5.12

The new bus lane proposed had been identified as mitigation against the potential dangers in increasing the speed limit but as the bus lane only existed on one third of the proposed increase the mitigation would only be partial.

 

 

5.13

Matt Turner, also representing Cycle Sheffield, cited what he believed to be a lack of attention paid to non-motorised travel. He gave a multimedia presentation of the situation which currently existed on Penistone Road and the potential impact of the proposals. He expressed concerns at the planned removal of the pedestrian crossing used by some Hillsborough College students which would mean they would have to use the crossing on Bradfield Road which took approximately 4 minutes to get across as opposed to approximately 30 seconds with the crossing which was proposed to be removed.

 

 

5.14

The presentation highlighted how not many pedestrians waited for the green man at the crossing at Hillfoot Bridge and this had obvious dangers. The solution for this was for there to be a red light on the left turn when anyone was crossing.

 

 

5.15

Mr Turner concluded by stating that, as his presentation had shown, any scheme could prevent all the potential conflict between motorists and other users and such works did not need to come at the expense of cars and buses.

 

 

5.16

Councillor Janet Bragg, local Ward Member for Hillsborough, commented that it was Council policy to present alternatives to the motor car. The cycle route currently meant cyclists having to get on and off their bikes to avoid traffic on side roads. The signage for the cycle route was also currently not clear. If some motorists could be persuaded to use a bike instead this would ease congestion. To not make any improvements to the cycle route as part of this scheme would be a missed opportunity.

 

 

5.17

John Bann responded that he took on board all the points raised in relation to cycling and pedestrian facilities. The scheme was possible because of funding from the Government specifically targeted at easing congestion through easing the traffic flow and helping bus services.

 

 

5.18

Ian Taylor reported the findings of the air quality report carried out for the 2009/2010 Smart Route scheme. The report found that the Smart Route scheme, on which the Pinchpoint/Better Buses scheme was based, would lead to a slight improvement in air quality. The report was based on a 40mph speed limit throughout the scheme.  

 

 

5.19

Officers had considered cyclists from the outset of the design of the scheme. The Council’s Cycle Officer had worked with Andrew Marwood, Highways Engineer, to see what could be done for cyclists. The Council were still investing in other areas on cycling. 10% of the highways budget was spent on cycling.

 

 

5.20

Andrew Marwood reported that a speed limit assessment had been undertaken which had indicated that 40mph was appropriate for the whole length of the road concerned. However, officers believed this didn’t take into account the different environments of areas along the road and did not believe that it was suitable for the area from Herries Road South to Hillsborough Barracks.

 

 

5.21

Andrew Marwood added that 10 buses an hour were expected along Penistone Road. When no buses were there cyclists would be able to use the bus lane keeping them away from traffic. He confirmed that pedestrian and cycle facilities had not been an afterthought when designing the scheme. Existing problems had been looked at and attempts made to resolve these. He accepted the point made about the lack of footway for pedestrians in certain areas and commented that officers were trying to address this, particularly around Bradfield Road. It was about striking a balance between carriageway and footway.

 

 

5.22

In response to a question from Councillor Leigh Bramall as to why the scheme proposed to remove the shorter crossing around Bradfield Road, Andrew Marwood commented that there was a proposal for a toucan crossing at Hillsborough Barracks and observation of pedestrian movements had highlighted that this wasn’t a well-used crossing.

 

 

5.23

Councillor Leigh Bramall commented that part of the problem in relation to the objections raised was around the way that the funding came through and what the Government required it to be used for. Improving bus times and viability was a crucial element to the scheme as, after the Parkway, this was the major traffic corridor into the City.

 

 

5.24

RESOLVED: That:-

 

 

 

(a)

with the exception of the TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South, the objections be overruled to the TRO’s related to the Penistone Road ‘Pinchpoint’ and ‘Better Buses’ scheme and the orders be made in accordance with the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Orders be introduced;

 

 

 

 

(b)

a decision be deferred regarding the TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South and the raising of the speed limit to 40mph between Infirmary Road and Capel Street, pending further investigation;

 

 

 

 

(c)

the decision to increase the speed limit to 40mph between Infirmary Road and Capel Street be approved in principle but further discussions be held as to its operation; and

 

 

 

 

(c)

those who made representations be informed accordingly.

 

 

 

5.25

Reasons for Decision

 

 

5.25.1

The TRO to prohibit the right turn out of Hillsborough Barracks would mean that more green signal time could be given to traffic turning in and out of the junction, thereby reducing queuing traffic on Penistone Road and more efficiently releasing the vehicles exiting the Barracks.

 

 

5.25.2

The TRO to prohibit the left turn into Herries Road South would allow a signalised toucan crossing to be implemented across this junction, to aid pedestrian and cycling movements, without adding another stage to the junction’s traffic signals. However, there have been objections, to this particular proposal, that officers had not had time to fully consider before needing to report back to the Cabinet Member.

 

 

5.25.3

The TRO to add further loading restrictions to part of Bradfield Road would maintain the free flow of traffic from Penistone Road.

 

 

5.25.4

The TRO for the designated outbound bus lane would increase the attractiveness of Penistone Road as a public transport corridor. It would also allow the bus lane to be camera enforced should the need arise.

 

 

5.25.5

The TRO to allow the speed limit change would satisfy the recommendation set out in the speed limit assessment of the City’s ‘A’ roads, following the Department for Transport’s national guidelines on setting speed limits. The increase in limit would allow speeds to be consistent and appropriate for the surrounding environment and would provide an opportunity to highlight the change in character of the road where the limit becomes 30mph. However, the Cabinet Member requested that this element of the TRO be deferred to allow for further discussions on the proposed increase.

 

 

5.26

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

5.26.1

Although the ‘Pinchpoint’ and ‘Better Buses’ schemes both look specifically to tackle issues relating to ‘motorised’ forms of transport on the Penistone Road corridor, officers have built on the preliminary Smartroute proposals to achieve much improved access for pedestrians and provide facilities both on street and off for cyclists. These provisions have been at the forefront of the design process.

 

 

5.26.2

An alternative to the scheme put forward would be to further increase provision for one particular user group, i.e providing an additional lane for general traffic/providing further bus lanes or more crossing points etc, however officers consider that this would affect the balance of the proposals and due to private land constraints would be at the expense of another user group.

 

 

5.26.3

Officers could have advertised the 40mph speed limit for a much longer section (Herries Road South to Shalesmoor) as recommended following the speed limit review of all ‘A’ class roads in the City in 2010. However, following a more recent review (breaking the route into two sections) and considering the proposals to be implemented as part of the ‘Pinchpoint’ scheme, officers consider a new limit of 40mph only to be appropriate between Infirmary Road and Capel Street.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: