A poster reading "Vote Green Party" on the back of a chair

Green councillors in Sheffield have expressed display at the decision to remove road safety measures on a school route. This follows a meeting of Sheffield City Council’s Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, which agreed to remove traffic calming measures on Arch Lane in the Nether Edge area of the city.

The move will see the road re-opened to lorries, cars and vans. At the same meeting, a new cycle route for Sheaf Valley was confirmed, in addition to traffic calming in the Walkley and Crookes areas of the city – both of which were welcomed by the Greens.

Green councillor Ruth Mersereau, a member of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee said, on the Sheaf Valley Cycle Route: “Schemes like the Sheaf Valley Cycle Route provide long-term benefits to all road users by providing real choices.  Routes like this help people who are fearful of travelling on a hostile road network, and those who have no access to a vehicle – between 20-75% of residents in the vicinity.  It’s fantastic to learn that the scheme has been so successful in meeting its aims to increase walking and cycling, with cycling increasing by 66%, showing the latent demand for cycling.  There have also been other benefits, like a reduction in crime.”

Only Green Party councillors voted in favour of the continued closure of the Archer Lane rat-run, meaning that road safety measures will now have to be removed.

Green councillor Christine Gilligan, deputy chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee said: “The community in Nether Edge has been let down by the Council today. The changes were a step in the right direction towards safe, quiet and liveable streets. Now they will have rat-running and speeding cars again. There is no way that this can be regarded as progress .”

Mersereau added: “The vast majority of people from Nether Edge who contacted me, were in support of the Active Travel Neighbourhood. They have been ignored by those Lib Dem and Labour councillors who have voted to re-open these roads to motor vehicles today.  This decision does nothing to improve Sheffield’s appalling statistics on road safety. This is a huge step backwards for walking, cycling, for public health, for road safety and for better, more liveable neighbourhoods.

“Archer Lane is used by large numbers of children walking to school – Mercia, Carterknowle and Holt House.  Children don’t generally get consulted on transport schemes or rat runs, but they are the ones who have lost their play space, lost their freedom to walk/pedal to school safely and their chance to socialise safely with friends.”

Green councillor Maroof Raouf, who represents Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, said, “As the local Councillor for the Nether Edge area I am dismayed  at this decision. This choice not only goes against the data that has been collected but also fails to prioritise the well-being of my constituents. It’s very disheartening to see a decision that disregards the long-term consequences for residents of Nether Edge and I hope that in the future, different elected Members can make more responsible choices that prioritise the well-being of my constituents.”

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Image credit: Jon Craig – Creative Commons