What are the council’s plans for Kelham Island’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood?

Written by Oliver Hall

Visualisation of the proposed changes to West Bar roundabout in Kelham Island. Image: Sheffield City Council

Consultations have been completed over Sheffield City Council’s plans to regenerate Kelham Island by reducing road traffic, turning the area into an ‘Active Neighbourhood’.

The proposal is a part of the city-wide project, Connecting Sheffield, which puts pedestrianisation and making the city more environmentally-friendly at its centre.

The council laid out its plan to “lower traffic volumes… making it easier and more attractive to cycle and walk and transforming streets into safer and more pleasant spaces that enable uses such as pavement cafes and events.”

Currently, the B6074 runs through Kelham Island causing high traffic at periods.

The plan is to reroute the road around Kelham Island, and close both Alma St and Ball St to through traffic to significantly reduce the congestion in the area and open up space for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Illustrated plan of West Bar Roundabout and landscape improvements

During the consultation, fears arose that homes and businesses in the proposed areas would be difficult to reach. However the council has reiterated that vehicle access will be maintained for “residents, businesses and deliveries.”

Along with the removal of through traffic, the proposals will give public transport priority which will make bus journeys faster and more reliable and will increase the environmentally-friendly aspect of the proposals.

Where roads are being reduced, green spaces and cycle lanes will replace them to further enhance the safety and aesthetic of the surrounding area.

The proposals are well received by local councillors and residents alike and plans are expected to pass consultation.

The majority of people’s grievances concern the reduced access for vehicles and the potential for increased traffic in places where cycle lanes are replacing roads.

A nationwide survey commissioned by the AA that found 50% of people wish to drive less post-lockdown and 20% wish to cycle more often. Therefore Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have become hot property for councils during the pandemic, stating social-distancing rules as a pretext for the widening of public footpaths and cycle lanes.

Sheffield Labour councillors issued a statement on the back of the AA’s survey saying: “There is clearly an appetite for the sort of changes we are proposing, and I’m sure we all want to breathe cleaner air and see less congested roads. It’s the job of the Council to help make this happen, and Labour are committed to ensuring that they do.”

Written by Oliver Hall

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