Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, and Dame Sarah Storey, the region’s Active Travel Commissioner, have welcomed today’s transport funding announcement from Government.
Today, the Department for Transport announced a national funding pot of £283 million to increase the frequency and capacity of bus and tram services and help people travel safely during the Coronavirus crisis. Today’s announcement also included additional funding for active travel schemes, as well as further investment in railways to regenerate local economies.
Further detail on the funding, including the amount of money coming to South Yorkshire, is expected soon.
Mayor Jarvis said: “This is encouraging news for communities across South Yorkshire. Investing further in active travel schemes and our increasingly strained public transport system is something we’ve been pushing hard for, and I’m pleased that the Government has listened.
“For our public health, our economy and our environment, going back to the status quo is just not good enough. Cycling and walking are already at the heart of my transport strategy, but the current Coronavirus crisis provides an opportunity to realise their full potential. In South Yorkshire I have already secured £166million Transforming Cities Funding, half of which has been allocated to active travel schemes. Investment announced today, on top of Active Travel funding confirmed earlier this month, will further enable us to identify those areas where we can make the necessary changes.
“It is crucial that people who need to travel on public transport can do so safely, so I’m glad Government is providing the resources we need to increase capacity on our buses and Supertram system. This will be of real benefit to our key workers and others on the front line of the Coronavirus pandemic, who are working hard to keep us safe in these most challenging of times.
“I’m also pleased that funding has been committed for reopening the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield. This important route was included in our Integrated Rail Plan and is part of our wider vision for making our local rail network fit for the 21st century. We will continue to explore options for funding the reopening of other rail routes, such as the Stocksbridge and Askern lines and the North Midland line between Barnsley and Wakefield via Royston, which were also included in our Restoring Your Railways bid to Government.
“We now look forward to receiving further details of this funding, and working with the Department for Transport to progress these crucial works as quickly as we can, for the benefit of our businesses and communities.”
Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner, said: “Our allocation of this funding will be most welcome, because our authorities have already started implementing schemes for social distancing. We are now working to rapidly deploy this funding so that we can use it for pop-up cycle lanes and widen footways, to get more people’s essential journeys by active travel and ease the demand on public transport, making space for those who most need it.
“Week on week during lockdown we have seen increasing numbers walking, cycling and running for essential journeys and exercise. As restrictions ease we can lock in this benefit by giving more space for active travel trips. It is vital that our councils plan for journeys of up to 2km being walked and up to 5km being cycled, as it is these short journeys that create the biggest issues of congestion and therefore air pollution on our regions roads.
“Everyone is also far more aware of the health benefits of exercise and there has never been a bigger appetite for designing activity back in to people’s lives. The past 50 years have seen activity designed out, with it being all too easy to make all journeys in a motor vehicle.
“By reclaiming space for people to move around, through low traffic neighbourhoods, pedestrianised town and city centres and the installation of bike routes on key corridors we can transform the region in to a place where it becomes normal for people choose to leave their cars behind.”