Monday 8 August 2016

The Trauma of Tinsley Part 1

It Seemed a Good Idea at the Time
First, a little bit of revision. Tinsley lies on the borders of Sheffield and Rotherham.
From 1960 it had its very own bus service (No 24) running at least every 15 minutes.
But, in recent years, with the decline of residential housing all along the Sheffield to Rotherham Road, Tinsley folk have had a bus every 20 minutes provided by diverting service 69.
From 4th September, long-standing service 69 is replaced by a sort-of Bus (not very) Rapid Transit service X1 which diverts via the Meadowhall shopping centre ...
... with a stop on the new link road (Blacburn Meadows Way) serving the northern edge of Tinsley. So the fervid brains of the transport planners have come up with a cunning plan to give St Lawrence Road a bus service to Rotherham and Sheffield.

Currently service 35 runs every 30 minutes to Sandstone Road, continuing every hour via Meadowhall to Firth Park and Hillsborough.
Meadowhall is just off the top right of the above map.

On the other side of the Don Valley, service 71 runs every 30 minutes from Meadowhall via Tinsley Park (where once Sheffield had an airport) and Brinsworth to Rotherham.
No one seems to kinow who came up with the cunning plan, the PTE or First Bus; but the idea is to extend those 35 "short workings" from Sandstone Road and join them up with half the 71s, diverted to give an hourly service via St Lawrence Road.

But the map and the timetable seem to be over complicated.
There is the 71 (now hourly) rerouted between Meadowhall and Tinsley Park and disappearing off the map bottom right.
The new 70 and the "old" 71 run via St Lawrence Road BUT ...

The "BUT" is those arrows. Tinsley St Lawrence Road is to be served one way only. So from Tinsley Highgate ...
... you can ride a service 70 down the hill travelling FROM Rotherham, or TO Sheffield.

If, however, you want to travel to your cosy little house in Tinsley FROM Sheffield or TO Rotherham, you can only go via Bawtry Road (the red service 87 line on the fnn map above) ...
... and get of here ...
... near the busy M1 junction; or here ...
... way up the Bawtry Road near the rather seedy shopping centre. Neither is much good for most residents of the area.

So fbb thought, "how can First Bus be so stupid? Surely the buses should run BOTH WAYS along St Lawrence Road like they do until September 4th.?"

We know that the Sheffield City Councillors are "up in arms" about what will be a drastic reduction of buses via Tinsley; so how much more livid will they be when they find out the service is uselessly one way only.

So fbb asked First Bus what was going on.

It's all to do with the Junction between the new Blackburn Meadows Way, Sheffield Road and St Lawrence Road.
The seemingly simple crossroads between the pink bus route and the white Sheffield Road (near the "up" arrow) is anything but.

Now breathe deeply; hold on to your hats, try to concentrate and here goes. The new link road is at the top and shaded.
Meadowhall is to the north. So if you are coming therefrom you can only go the Rotherham, the arrows in circles being highway Code signs for "Ahead Only".
There is no way into St Lawrence Road from the new link.

"Ah, but," we hear you cry, "why not come along the Sheffield Road from the mega roundabout and turn right into St Lawrence Road. But no siree, you cannot do that either; because there is a pretty No Right Turn sign just where your bus needs to turn right.
The sad fact is that our proposed No 70 bus simply cannot get into St Lawrence Road travelling towards Rotherham. 

Of course the soon to be deleted 69 can get OUT of St Lawrence Road (one way nibble) to turn right go to Rotherham and can get IN via the other one way nibble to turn left from from the Rotherham direction.

In fact, the road network is ideal for the service 69 ...
... which won't be using it.

Regular readers will remember the quotes from Sheffield City Councillors objecting vehemently to everyone in sight for the appalling treatment of Tinsleyites. Now you have one guess for the name of the organisation that is taking the lead in the Bus Rapid Transit project that has caused all this kerfuffle.

Yep, you guessed right.
And the link road contract was awarded to Carillion for just £11 million.

Construction will start in January 2014 on the 800m long stretch of road that will be built under the Tinsley Motorway Viaduct.

The complex civils project was initially estimated to cost up to £24m to build. It will also cross tram tracks and bridge an existing rail freight line, as well as going over the River Don in two locations, and includes the design and construction of a substantial piled reinforced earth embankment and also traffic management.

When finished in Autumn 2015 (sic), the road will by-pass Junction 34 of the M1 motorway and provide an alternate route for all vehicles. It would also include priority measures for public transport.

Value for Money? Not for Tinsley folk, that is certain.

Useful for buses? Probably not.

Tomorrow we take a quick look at other "benefits" of the scheme for various groups of bus passengers.

P.S. A riposte to a comment writer from last Thursday's blog. It was part of a discussion about a lack of printed material in Sheffield.
FACT : SYPTE produces NO printed material whatsoever, whatever the "VPA" states. ("VPA"? Very Pathetic Attitude?)

 Next Tinsley blog : Tuesday 9th August 

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