Memorandum by C Ellis (WTC 65)
WALKING IN TOWNS AND CITIES
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
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.
Member of Pedestrians' Forum (convened by Sheffield
City Council and The Pedestrian' Association (local contact)