Work is set to begin on new walking and cycling infrastructure across the Liverpool City Region, including cycle routes through Southport town centre and between Bootle and Liverpool city centre.
Most of the schemes are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, making it easier and safer for people to travel by foot or bike across the city region. The 23km of new pop-up cycle lanes and expanded footpaths will be supplemented by traffic calming measures and new secure bike storage.
Since late March, there has been a surge in people cycling and walking for daily exercise and essential journeys, with 6 in 10 of people telling a Combined Authority survey that they expected to walk and cycle more even as lockdown measures are eased.
The new infrastructure will enable people to travel more safely and support social distancing, connecting key locations like hospitals, workplaces and town centres as well as rail and bus stations.
Schemes to be built with the first tranche of emergency funding include:
- Halton: Segregated cycle lanes for Hough Green town centre
- Knowsley: Traffic calming measures for safe walking and cycling in Kirkby town centre
- Liverpool: Segregated cycle route between Liverpool city centre and Bootle town centre
- Sefton: Cycle route through Southport town centre, Bootle to Liverpool city centre route
- St Helens: Upgrade of cycle routes through Clock Face and Chester Lane
- Wirral: New segregated cycle lane on Fender Lane and upgrade of existing A4 cycle lane
- Liverpool City Region-wide: Secure bike storage at new cycle hubs
The new pop-up foot and bike paths also mark a significant step towards the city region’s long-term plans for a best-in-class 600km walking and cycling network – with £30.7m already committed to building and upgrading routes across the Liverpool City Region.
Increased funding has also been earmarked for cycle training and repairs as well as bike loan and grant schemes to help more people out of cars and public transport and onto bikes.
The new routes are funded by almost £2 million from the first tranche of the Government’s emergency active travel fund that has been awarded to the Liverpool City Region. The Combined Authority has worked closely with local councils to allocate this funding for new pop-up routes in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “Our vision for Sefton is a confident and connected borough, where people can enjoy the use of many cycle and walking friendly routes, where we all work together to keep Sefton clean and green with a commitment to low pollution and better air quality.
“The Emergency Active Travel Fund will allow us to make changes to two routes in Sefton, one in Southport and one in Bootle which will encourage cycling and walking and make significant improvements to our streets to enable people to use cars less and move around in a different way.
“We want to encourage people to use active forms of travel by increasing the opportunity for people to walk or cycle, in line with the council’s commitments to improving Health and Wellbeing and tackling Climate Change.”
As part of its Liveable Streets initiative, Sefton Council is currently seeking local people’s help to identify streets and places which need changes made to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Since I was elected, I’ve been working hard to deliver a walking and cycling revolution across our region, with 600km of new and upgraded routes being delivered over the next few years.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has seen lots of people getting back on their bikes and we’re doing all that we can to make it as safe and enjoyable for them as possible.
“Cycling is much better for your health, the planet and for your wallet than taking the car. These new pop-up lanes should make it much easier for people to get about and hopefully help encourage more people to ditch the car!”
To see the maps of the planned routes in Sefton or to tell us your thoughts once the routes are in place, visit www.activetravelsefton.co.uk/emergencyroutes
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “It’s fantastic to see that work will be beginning on new pop-up bike lanes and foot paths. Infrastructure like this will help people in our city region to travel actively, more safely and with confidence.
“It’s also an amazing opportunity to test out our vision for a 600km network of high-quality, permanent walking and cycling routes for the Liverpool City Region.
“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our city region, but we now have the opportunity to look at how we can change things for the better in the future – and rethinking the way we travel and taking more journeys by bike and on foot needs to be part of that.”