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Sheffield, UK, reveals plans to create first Active Neighbourhood

By Tom Walker    12 Feb 2021
As well as segregated lanes for cycling, detailed plans feature a continuous footpath through a large part of the city / Sheffield City Council

An area north of Sheffield City Centre in the UK is to be designed as an Active Neighbourhood, with the view to creating an environment which promotes physical activity

The proposals for the Kelham and Neepsend area include encouraging exercise, improving sustainable travel and creating safer and more attractive travel routes into and around the area – especially for walking and cycling.

The area – once the heart of the city's original vast and world-renowned steel industry – sank into decline in the 1970s, but has become the focus of urban regeneration investment in the last 25 years.

As well as segregated lanes for cycling, detailed plans feature Sheffield’s first ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout and improvements for pedestrians that include a continuous footpath through large parts of the city.

At the heart of the proposals is a reduction in traffic – some through road closures – and encouraging people to adopt healthier, active travel habits.

The proposals are part of the Council’s Connecting Sheffield scheme, which focuses on adapting the city’s infrastructure for the future, to allow for walking, cycling and public transport to be the first choice of travel, from commuting to work to meeting friends.

The plans chime with Sport England's new 10-year strategy, which identifies the creation of active environments as one of five "Big Issues" to get right, in order to encourage people to get more physically active.

Cllr Julie Grocutt, cabinet member for transport and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “Neepsend and Kelham are much-loved areas, with their industrial heritage and mix of great shops, bars and restaurants.

"Stopping unnecessary journeys through the area will help to establish it as a safer, healthier and more vibrant place to live, work and visit.

“Some of the proposed changes have already been in place through the last few months, as part of emergency social distancing and active travel measures, and we have seen a positive response to them so far.

“I'm excited about the proposals for the area which feature new initiatives that haven’t been tried in the city before.

"We recognise that change can have its issues and we need to make sure that any schemes put in place are practical and beneficial to residents and visitors."

Sarah Storey, multiple Paralympic champion and Sheffield City Region's active travel commissioner, said: "It's fantastic to see the plans for this ambitious scheme being shared. Sheffield City Council has done a brilliant job in including the first Dutch-style roundabout and developing connected routes from the trial scheme that was introduced at Kelham Island last year.

“Connected and continuous infrastructure, with priority crossings for people walking and cycling, ensure that journeys via active modes no longer have to suffer the usual delay and inconvenience, and are crucial to enabling people to leave their cars behind for short, everyday journeys."

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