Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by C Ellis (WTC 65)


  I am writing as a long-standing member of the Pedestrians' Forum convened by Sheffield City Council and a local contact of the Pedestrians' Association and an active pedestrian commuter.

  Sheffield is currently on the verge of an extensive programme of redevelopment and "revitalisation" of the city centre and has a challenging and unique opportunity to address its future transport provision. However, as an active participant and contributor to the public debate, I am concerned about the lack of substantial progress and/or negative activities on several issues regarding pedestrian facility and safety. This also exemplifies the current position in many UK cities. I shall list relevant points as follows:

    —  Absence of available data on objective monitoring of pedestrian activity on which to base and test proposals/targets eg origin-destination surveys, modals split at passenger interchanges and railway stations.

    —  Infrastructure changes that continue to present an intimidating environment for pedestrians eg maintenance of large carriageway widths, high radius curves at junctions, few safe and unimpeded pedestrian radial routes to city centres and around schools, shopping areas and poor pedestrian crossing facilities at many junctions.

    —  Clear priority treatment for pedestrians (including the disabled) at busy junctions and at points of potential conflict with vehicles including cycles. For instance pedestrians often have to follow circuitous routes and endure long waiting times at pelican crossings (where they exist).

    —  Reduced speed limits around schools and within the city centre environs. These recommendations have been recently endorsed at the vulnerable road users' group meetings convened by Sheffield City Council yet with no sign of progress or evidence of proper consideration by the Council.

    —  A clearly marked primary network of safe and unimpeded (ie reserved and/or protected) radial pedestrian or cycle routes into the city. Some existing cycle routes are "designated" but require "brave" negotiation across busy traffic lanes! There is no comparable pedestrian "network".

    —  Continued pre-occupation with increasing parking space despite adequate existing provision! (Suggest improved signposting with good pedestrian links between parking and facilities).

  I understand that proposals take time to implement but the rate of concerted progress concerns me. The situation is similar in many other cities. I visit Gloucester frequently, which purports to be a pedestrian friendly city! The pedestrian and public transport links from the railway station to the bus station and beyond, as with Sheffield, have to be seen (and experienced) to be believed!

  In compiling their evidence I would urge that members and officers of the Committee consider incorporating at least some site visits and/or video/photographic evidence in their investigation to illustrate and amplify the points discussed.

  I enclose a letter to Charles Clarke MP on related points that you may also wish to consider.

C Ellis

Member of Pedestrians' Forum (convened by Sheffield City Council and The Pedestrian' Association (local contact)

January 2001

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