A network of temporary cycle lanes will be introduced in Liverpool to help kick-start the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has greenlit a £2 million package to introduce potentially up to 100km of pop-up cycle lanes along key routes into and within Liverpool city centre.
The programme of measures is also set to include new street furniture in the city centre to enable people to socialise safely at distance and ease the way for pavement cafes to operate once restrictions are lifted.
The move follows a review of traffic movements in the city on how best to support people going back to work as the Government begins to slowly ease lockdown restrictions for certain sectors.
Two key corridors have already been identified for temporary cycle lanes – with five more major routes under review – and are set to be introduced by this weekend. They are:
Sefton Park Perimeter:
The route from Sefton Park – Aigburth Drive, across Ullet Road across Croxteth Road on to Sefton Park Road and along Lodge Lane. Across Upper Parliament Street junction and pick up cycle path on Smithdown Lane. From Crown Street on to Oxford Street East. Left on to Mason Street to Irvine Street. Across Edge Lane on to Mount Vernon Green and on to Hall Lane finish.
West Derby Road Route:
West Derby Road (junction with Green Lane inbound and outbound), Rocky Lane, back along West Derby Road, left on to Farnworth Street right on to Kensington.
As well as the network of temporary cycle lanes, the Mayor is also looking at the temporary widening of pavements around transport hubs within the city centre to enable social distancing and has instructed the Council’s Highways Department to revamp the citybike scheme.
Liverpool City Council is currently undertaking a £45 million redesign of the city centre, which has seen the widening of pavements on key routes such as Victoria Street, introducing 11km of new permanent cycle lanes and is about to look at expanding its 20mph zones, but the Mayor said the time has come to be “as radical as possible” to ensure the improvements to the city’s air quality in lockdown continue for years to come.
The Mayor is also inviting councillors, businesses and the public to come forward with ideas on how to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians around the city centre.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our way of life beyond imagination but the challenges it has presented has also provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine how we use and travel within our cities,” Anderson said. “We are already doing much to alter how people move around Liverpool city centre but we must now go further than we ever dreamed possible and use our highways network in a way which balances the needs of our economy, our health and our environment.
“This £2 million programme for temporary cycle lanes is just one step on the long road to recovery. Hopefully, these measures will provide businesses and their workforce strong alternatives if they don’t want to use public transport and don’t have access to a car. But we need to look beyond the short term which is why I’m asking the public and stakeholders to come forward with their own ideas and suggestions to help shape our city’s future for the long term.”
Councillor Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for highways, added: “Walking and cycling has seen a huge upsurge since the lockdown began as for many it has been the only way to exercise. This shift has seen a huge boost to people’s wellbeing and that of our communities and it’s vital we don’t lose that.
“In some ways, quieter roads has been a blessing to our environment and our stress levels but as some sectors slowly get back to work, we need to ensure those transport alternatives are viable and plentiful so that those who want to continue to walk or cycle can do so safely.”
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool’s cycling commissioner, added: “This terrible disease has meant we had to change how we live our lives overnight. Now it’s time to change the way we live in our city for the future. These pop-up cycle lanes will allow everyone to make a choice of how we travel around Liverpool. It also an amazing opportunity to test out the permanent network of cycle lanes that the Mayor has asked me to help create in the next few years.
“This is the moment for every community to rethink; not just the city centre but our local high streets and our own neighbourhoods. Let’s banish the worst of this terrible pandemic and hold on to the surprising pleasures of lockdown. Safe, quiet streets, clean air and a rediscovered love of the world on our doorsteps. These bike lanes will be a vital part of new even better Liverpool where people come first.”