The possibility of creating new pop-up cycle lanes along Lord Street in Southport were rejected under plans to make Southport easier to navigate for cyclists and pedestrians.
Contractors for Sefton Council are currently carrying out work throughout the town centre area, and roads leading towards it.
The work aims to create a new ‘North-South’ cycle friendly travel corridor in Southport.
It includes creating new pop-up cycle lanes along Queens Road and Hoghton Street; blocking Queens Road to through traffic except buses; blocking the junction of Talbot Street and Eastbank Street to traffic; removing all pay and display parking bays along Hoghton Street; and overturning the ban on cycling on Chapel Street, Wesley Street and Tulketh Street.
The idea to create a through route along Queens Road, Hoghton Street, Chapel Street, Tulketh Street, Wesley Street and Talbot Street was chosen as the favoured option over Lord Street.
In his report to councillors, Sefton Council Head of Highways and Public Protection Peter Moore said: “In developing potential proposals for submission to the LCRCA, some initial work was completed, reviewing two potential routes.
“Lord Street was one option. This had the advantage of being a wide, high-profile direct route through the town centre but it is also heavily used as a bus route.
“The second proposal identified a route which uses Hoghton Street, Chapel Street, Tulketh St, Wesley Street and Talbot Street.
“Whilst this route wasn’t as direct, it did use routes that had lower levels of general traffic.
“The submission to CA stated a preference for a North – South route but was careful to avoid being specific as it was clear some further consideration was needed before any final decision was taken.
“An assessment was completed of the Lord Street route. This identified that in order to provide a cycle friendly on-carriageway route along Lord Street, parking and loading bays would need to be suspended over significant stretches.
“Whilst it’s likely that some of the parking demand could have been met by facilities on other streets, it was recognised that the potential impact on re-opening businesses may be detrimental and not supportive of the Council’s Covid 19 recovery plan.
“Also critical to the consideration of Lord Street, was the likely conflict between buses and cyclists along the corridor.
“Whilst there are potential solutions to accommodate bus stops, the likely scenario was that a number of sections of cycleway would need to be omitted to accommodate buses and this would result in the cycleway being unattractive to potential users.
“It was considered, therefore, that any cycling proposals for Lord Street needed more development than the timescale for this initiative allowed and would need to be considered as part of the emerging proposals being considered as part of the Vision and Masterplan for Southport currently out to consultation.”
The work aims to offer make life easier for people to travel while avoiidng public transport.
Andrew Walker wrote: “The principal aim of the proposals in Southport is to provide a safer North- South cycling route for people wishing to travel through the town, access areas of employment, education and retail and offer an alternative to public transport.
“The measures have been chosen so that the scheme can be implemented within the time-frame on which the funding has been provided, have the capability of becoming permanent with relatively little further investment and be complimentary to potential further cycle measures.”
Work is currently taking place to make roads in UK towns and cities more cycle and pedestrian friendly under the Government’s £250million DfT Emergency Active Travel Fund.
Funding of £590,457 for Sefton Council for schemes in Southport and Bootle has been provided via the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Combined Authority Active Travel Emergency Fund.
An evaluation report will be compiled by Sefton Council officers in six months time to decide whether to make the schemes permanent.
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.”