Archive for the ‘Sheffield’ Category
…and a number of other shots looked familiar
After a very positive meeting of the Walkley Forum, support is building for the notion of a Walkley Active Travel Corridor which would make improvements to conditions for cyclists and pedestrians on this major route into Sheffield City Centre. Full details on the Cycle Sheffield site. The next opportunity to get involved is at the Cycle Sheffield meeting on 21 February.
The photograph above is taken from Google Streetview but shows a situation which is all too common for Sheffield Cyclists. The van is parked on Crookes Valley Road on a double yellow line within feet of the junction with Crooksmoor Road – forcing passing cars onto the wrong side of the road. Visibility is very poor here because of the curvature of the road – it is impossible to tell if there is a third car behind the black Ford Galaxy. The gradient means a cyclist approaching from Barber Road could find themselves face to face with oncoming traffic at high speed.
So our nice new Government have acted quickly to stamp out the nastiness of garden grabbing, where those evil developers build new houses for people to live in. Oh those developers are so evil! They are like drug pushers but instead of drugs, it is homes they are trying to sell. You know – homes, the ones that keep people warm and dry.
Why does this matter to cyclists? Fact is people have to live somewhere and less ‘garden grabbing’ means more homes on the edges of towns and cities. And if people live somewhere, they might just work somewhere else. If that somewhere else is a long way away they will quite possibly drive. If it is near, they might walk or ride a bike. It is a simple equation, Traffic equals numbers of people times how far they are going. Longer distances means more traffic. And this from the Government that said it was going to be the greenest ever.
So fewer homes in Hallam and more in Stocksbridge, and more traffic. Thanks Nick.
Photo of North American traffic by smith on flickr
Four weeks that is – And here is Julia back on the bike – two flat circuits of Rother Valley on her Tikit, very chilled first thing on Sunday morning – with a cap from Roots adding a jaunty Canadian touch to the outfit.
‘….many professionals all over the world are finding that cycling is as good as golf in terms of making business contacts.’
So now you know. More here
For about two years people on the Sheffield Forum have been debating which is the steepest street in Sheffield. Blake Street is apparently the winner. Definitions matter, it is the steepest street (ie with houses along it) but other roads may be steeper. Anyway, today I thought I would see how difficult it was. The answer, not very difficult. It is steep, but it is not particularly long, so the cumulative effect of oxygen debt doesn’t have a chance to build up.
Been reading a couple of blog posts about bike advocacy recently. Firstly an uncharacteristically downbeat post by Bike Snob NYC on David Byrne’s role. Rather a depressing read, essentially it seems to argue that the bike is not a viable form of transport because we can’t all live and work in gentrified Manhattan. Secondly a thought provoking post by Karl McCraken questioning whether if to effect change cycling advocates should abandon widescale action and focus on winning gains in small areas of towns and cities.
Personally I am convinced by Karl’s analysis and unconvinced by Bike Snob. In terms of changing the culture, small areas with flourishing active travel modes demonstrate that there is a possible alternative future and celebrity endorsement works. We may all know that unlike David Byrne we need to commute daily but cycling has suffered for too long with a ‘bicycle clips and plastic mac’ image.
But changing the culture is not enough, changing our approach to the built environment has to happen for those who might feel warm to cycling to put it into practice. My cycling commute is 34 miles a day. Most people don’t want to do that. Hey there are some days I don’t want to do that. I do it at the moment because I know I am investing in fitness for the summer. Cycling is part of my life and it is more than a transport choice. So I am atypical. Now consider the person who just wants to get to work. Let’s say 5 miles is a reasonable maximum one way trip for someone like that. Then where they live and where they work becomes critical. If they work in a business park built in green belt just off Junction 37 of the M1 the likelihood that it is an easy, five mile max, cycle commute from where they live is lower than if the office is in the centre of a town. If they live in a new housing estate in Stocksbridge even if their workplace is in the centre of Sheffield it is not a likely commute. 600 new homes approved, 10 miles from the centre of Sheffield, how many extra cars on the already cyclist unfriendly A616 as a result? We need to be tougher on what gets built where, so that people who want to adopt sustainable and active travel modes can readily do so. Changing the culture so they want to is not enough.
And while we are tightening up the rules on what gets built where we need to tighten the rules about what counts as good development. When Sheffield Council can refuse planning permission for a small supermarket because there is no car parking and argue parking on the road is potentially a problem, they are still thinking that accommodating the car is the answer. It isn’t, we need more small supermarkets so people aren’t tempted to get into their cars in the first place.
With the first closely run general election in nearly 20 years it will be interesting to see if politicians have the appetite for the difficult truth that some freedoms (such as for an unpolluted atmosphere) come with an associated price tag of restrictions.
I’ve used this photo by Mike Lee before, last time to illustrate a good news story about the success of Sheffield’s cycling paramedics. Today’s news is not so good. One of the bikes has been stolen reports Yorkshire Ambulance Service. The theft happened at about 1pm on Thursday 18 February when the bike was taken from the secure bike park inside Sheffield Town Hall on Pinstone Street. In addition to the bike a defibrillator, oxygen and drugs were taken. Alan Baranowski, Assistant Director of A&E for South Yorkshire, said: “These offenders are putting people’s lives in danger as our staff are not able to respond to 999 calls without the correct equipment. [The] kit can help save lives when used by specially trained ambulance staff and, if used incorrectly, have the potential to be extremely dangerous and possibly even fatal.”