Wednesday 3 April 2019, 11:56

‘Sheffield Cableway’: answer to city's travel problems?

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How a Sheffield Cableway system could look How a Sheffield Cableway system could look

Cable car route proposal captures the imaginations of city residents.

Sheffield has been the subject of many crazy transport proposals in the past, from minicab stations to a monorail system and even a cable car to connect the former ski village to the city centre. We even have new hybrid tram-trains!

Now a city resident’s own proposal has sparked debate after being shared across social networks.

Frankie Roberto’s musings on how to fix Sheffield’s travel problems were originally drafted on his website in January 2013, but have recently been unearthed by Twitter and Facebook users impressed and shocked with his suggestion.

The proposal would see the city’s ‘seven hills’ connected by a cable car system, which Frankie says will help people travelling between various city suburbs.

“Very few buses run on radial routes — they mostly go into and out of the city centre — so that’s not much help,” says Frankie, “The cableway system I propose for Sheffield would travel from hilltop to hilltop around Sheffield in a radial fashion.”

Frankie, a Creative Technologist, says: “A station at the top of each hill would allow passengers to embark or disembark.

“The ultimate plan would be to have a complete loop, but the system could start smaller and expand as it proved itself.”

The cable car system would also connect to the city centre and other transport links, says Frankie: “A stop at Park Hill, by the infamous Grade II* listed flats, would provide a connection to the station and Supertram.”

Its an interesting proposal, and not without precedent. London recently introduced a cable car system linking the Docklands at one side of the river Thames with The O2 over the other side at Greenwich; the Emirates Air Line.

Other cities around the world have been looking at similar solutions to transport problems.

Describing the problem he would like to see solved, Frankie states on his website: “Outside of the city’s ring road, the big streets follow the valleys, with smaller roads going up and over each of the hills to connect up the valleys. Walking or cycling these is fun going down, but tough going up.

“If you’re going from one hill to the next, you can often see your destination from the start, but actually getting there means going down into the valley and up the other side – a 20 minute hike.”

Previous Sheffield cable car proposals

This is not the first time a cable car system has been proposed for the city.

In 2003 Councillor Alf Meade submitted an eight page report suggesting a similar plan.

His proposals would have seen cable cars link a number of locations and landmarks including Meadowhall, the University of Sheffield and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in a bid to reduce congestion, parking and pollution in the city.

Discussing his ideas back then, Councillor Meade said: "It would cost far less than putting a road down and you could probably cover the whole of the city for the cost of putting in one mile of Supertram.

"Sheffield would be an ideal place because it's so hilly."

When asked if his proposal would have any traction, Councillor Meade said: "I've received some positive feedback and I'm confident the plans will be accepted."

The 2003 report was submitted for consideration but nothing came from it, however a council spokesperson did say that "any plan aimed at improving the transport system would be considered."

Frankie Roberto’s website also has a number of other interesting articles, including a write up on the differences between Sheffield and Manchester’s tram systems.

A version of this article was originally written for and published at Social Sheffield / We Love Sheffield magazine.

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