A £160,000 underspend on Sheffield’s Grey to Green road scheme is to be spent on public art, despite the city’s cyclists being told that there wasn’t enough money available to provide good cycle facilities at the outset of the project. Cycle Sheffield is therefore asking people to contact their local councillors to challenge the decision.
The Grey to Green project aims to transform 1.3km of redundant road surface and infrastructure in the Castlegate and West Bar area of Sheffield’s Riverside Business District into an attractive public space. Cycle Sheffield say they were told that there wasn’t enough money to provide good cycle facilities as part of the scheme; that the pavement will be shared use while ‘confident cyclists’ will use the busy but narrowed road.
Despite £160,000 of savings having been made on the scheme, that money is now set to be spent on public art instead of the protected cycle path that Cycle Sheffield feels is needed. The council says that the inclusion of public art was always envisaged as part of the project but was not originally included due to funding pressures.
Matt Turner, Chair of Cycle Sheffield said:
“According to the plans you'll have a choice between riding on the busy but narrowed road with buses and taxis or riding on a shared used path where lots of people are walking. We know people don't like walking along and worrying that there's a bike behind them; what we need is a separate cycle path.”
The allocation of funding is due to be approved at the May 27 meeting of the Sheffield Council Cabinet. “We don’t think that this is a good use of the money,” says Turner. “We only have a few days to make our voices heard before the decision is made.”
Cycle Sheffield is asking people to contact their local councillors, asking them to challenge the decision.