The new pop up cycle lanes in Southport and Bootle have created huge debate since they were introduced in August.
Now Sefton Council has created a Q&A, answering 17 of the most frequently asked questions.
They answer issues such as why the new routes are needed, are the routes finished, and where Blue Badge holders can park.
Since the changes, Queens Road in Southport is now only open to bicycles and buses, while new pop-up cycle lanes have replaced parking spaces along Hoghton Street, Talbot Street has become a ‘Quiet Street’ with cars prevented from driving onto Eastbank Street, while a ban on cycling on Chapel Street, Tulketh Street and Wesley Street has been lifted.
The creation of the ‘Emergency Active Travel Routes’ in Southport and Bootle will last for six months before Sefton Council decides whether to make the changes permanent.
Sefton Council said: “We have listened to the issues and have created the following FAQs to help you understand why the walking and cycling routes have been introduced to the towns and in the way that we have. The vast majority of queries have been in relation to Southport, while all answers are relevant to Southport, FAQs 11-18 are specific to the town.”
1 – Why do we need the routes?
The walking and cycling routes in Southport and in Bootle have been made in response to COVID-19; the need to socially distance has made it difficult for people to get around and people are being asked to avoid using public transport where possible.
During the pandemic we know you have been out exploring your local neighbourhood to exercise and to shop for essentials. Our walking and cycling counters have shown a significant increase in people choosing to walk and cycle.
To help people walking and cycling we have made a route which joins up communities from the north and south of Southport as well as a route in Bootle which links to Liverpool. The Southport route links people to work, shopping, health appointments, schools /colleges and to the park for a well-earned wellness break.
Before COVID-19 a survey from Sustrans told us 74% of residents think space should be increased for people socialising, cycling and walking on their local high street. Also 76% of residents thought it useful to have segregated cycle tracks.
We know that there are many people who live within the neighbourhoods served by the route in Southport who do not have access to a car, in some communities this figure can be as big as 37% of households without a car in Southport.
We have 17,660 12 – 17 year olds in Sefton who are too young drive but could walk and cycle for their journeys. We also know that walking and cycling can help you to be fitter and healthier, which is as important as ever during the pandemic.
Sefton Council has adopted its Climate Change Emergency Plan, which sets out how we will take steps to reduce our carbon emissions. Changing the way we live and work is an important part of the plan. One thing we can do is to continue walking and cycling as much as we can for all our short journeys.
When the Government announced the funding for the Emergency Active Travel routes the Council provided route options to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who then put the best route into the bid for Government.
2 – Why was I not asked about my views on the route?
The Government requirements issued with the funding which paid for the Emergency Active Travel Routes did not give us time to ask you your thoughts as we were told they needed to be introduced really quickly. This is not how we want to roll out new routes – we would normally ask people what they think of our ideas. However, we will be reviewing the routes and taking people’s views into account as part of that process.
A plan has been developed with the City Region Combined Authority which shows where we want to invest in walking and cycling across the City Region – this plan is called the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and is available on the Combined Authority website. Routes which link to Southport from the North and South, and Bootle to Liverpool are included in this plan.
We are looking to develop a plan for walking and cycling in Sefton, to work out where to put local walking and cycling networks to help people get to work, school, the local shops and other places people want to visit. We will be working up this plan with local Councillors across the Borough and we will be asking you what your thoughts are.
3 – Are the routes finished?
The routes in Bootle and Southport are not yet finished. We still have more work to do to improve them and some of the equipment used will be changed. For example the plastic poles used to keep people cycling separate from people driving will change to a solution that’s more permanent in the coming months.
4 – I cannot park my bike, how can I get some cycle parking?
We have a small budget for cycle parking. If you own a business, live in a flat or a shared house or need cycle parking somewhere on the pavement in contact and we will try our best to help.
5 – Have you taken into account the needs of disabled people?
When we put in improvements for walking and cycling we want to make it better and easier for everyone to get around. We will be doing a Safety Audit on the routes which will tell us any problems which we need to look at.
6 – Are the routes ok for disabled people?
The routes have been designed to meet the latest guidance for cycling so are suitable for everyone to use. All of our routes are subject to a safety audit.
7 – What considerations have been given to assist blind or partially sighted people crossing the cycle lanes?
The existing crossing points have not been changed so people will still know where they can cross safely.
8 – I take the bus – have the bus stops changed?
No the bus stops and bus routes have not changed.
9 – How will you know if the routes are a success?
We are working with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on our plan for monitoring, we will be collecting information on people’s thoughts and feeling about the routes in Southport and Bootle. We will also be looking at information which tell us about the numbers of people walking, cycling, scooting and driving along the routes. Once the routes have been completed, we will look to report on the route after it has been in operation for 6 months.
10 – Why did you choose the route you did for Southport?
We know people need to get to and through Southport town centre and we know that making improvements for walking and cycling is important as not everyone owns a car or wants to use it every day, and that we have lots of young people too, who need to get around.
We also know that we have experienced a great increase in walking and cycling during lockdown and we want to make sure that as the roads become busier with cars, people can still walk and cycle to work, shopping, school /college and to health facilities.
The City Region Combined Authority looked at a lot of different routes across all the local authorities in the city region and scored them against a range of things such as getting to work, going to school, college etc. This route linking Southport to local neighbourhoods scored the highest in Sefton along with our Bootle to Liverpool route, so it was included in the city region bid for funding.
11 – Why is Queens Road closed to traffic?
Queens Road is not closed to traffic.
If you are on a bus, walking or cycling you can go along the full length of Queens Road from or onto Manchester Road or Park Road.
If you are driving you cannot enter Queens Road from Manchester Road or Park Road but you can enter Queens Road from all the side streets.
You can drive along Queens Road in both directions to access properties.
We have made these changes to make Queens Road quieter. Making a street quieter makes the street a nicer place to walk, cycle or scoot.
12 – Why are the cycle lanes so wide on Hoghton Street?
The cycle lines provide space for everyone who wants to use them. This means there’s space to overtake others who are cycling, and room for larger cycles, such as hand crank and tricycles to use them. This is in line with national best practice.
13 – Why did you take away the car parking bays away from Hoghton Street?
The disabled parking bays have not been changed. To make the road better for cycling you can make the road quieter by taking away traffic, which was our plan for Queens Road and Talbot Street, or by making separate space for cycling. On Hoghton Street we have made separate space for cycling. Space for cycling must be for everyone so the lanes need to be wide wherever we can to make sure that we do not exclude anyone.
14 – Why is Chapel Street shared for people walking and cycling?
We have allowed cycling along Chapel Street to connect the route to the North and the South, we could not connect the route any other way.
15 – Why are cars parking on the cycle lanes on part of Queens Road and Talbot Street?
The quiet streets, Talbot Street and Queens Road have advisory lines on to tell you to expect people to be cycling along the road. If we think the quiet streets are quiet enough to make it safe and pleasant for people walking and cycling, we may take these out. If we have not managed to make the route quiet enough for walking and cycling we will look at other options.
16 – I am a disabled visitor, where can I park?
The disabled parking bays on Hoghton Street have not changed. We have made a plan showing where the nearest pay and display car parking spaces are.
We also want to make sure that disabled cyclists have cycle parking where they need it most. If you use a bike as a mobility aid and need cycle parking nearer to a shop or place you visit, let us know and we will do our best to provide it.
17 – I am a Blue Badge holder, where can I park?
The bus routes and bus stops have not changed.
Now that we have answered some of your burning question, we have a few (rhetorical) questions for you. Did you know?…
The new cycle routes are the latest of many that you can access in Sefton. They are part of a much bigger commitment to low pollution and better air quality in the borough. Investment from Government in these routes will help us to achieve those aims.
Sefton has a Climate Change Emergency Plan, where the way we live and work is integral reducing our carbon emissions – what better way to do this than walk and cycle more?
We are always looking for ways to improve our road networks for those who want to walk or cycle, but we can’t do it alone – we want your thoughts and ideas, which you can share with us at the following walking and cycling route consultation weppages
Do you have any stories for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: email@example.com