WORK is being carried out on a city centre street to improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians and help shoppers to observe safe social distancing.
With many non-essential businesses across the UK being allowed to reopen from June 15, work is being carried out along Granby Street to make it safer for people to access on foot and by bicycle.
The latest pop-up scheme will see temporary alterations brought in to support businesses by exploring options for pedestrianising sections of the street, ensuring visitors who have to queue at cafes, shops and other small premises can do so safely on wider pavements.
The existing permanent cycle lane, linking the city centre to Leicester Railway Station, will be demarcated using traffic cones before being strengthened with the use of vertical wands to prevent vehicles from parking on it.
Pavements will be widened by removing parking spaces along the length of Granby Street, with some disabled parking provided at adjoining Dover Street and Chatham Street, and several loading bays provided along Granby Street.
The initial pop-up scheme will be put in place on Friday, June 12, ahead of the date when businesses can reopen.
Plans are also being developed to reduce traffic flow further by diverting traffic for Dover Street car park from Waterloo Way along Calais Hill, instead of using the Northampton Street route. Some additional on-street pay and display parking is also being considered for nearby York Street.
The work is the latest in a series of schemes being carried out across the city in response to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus lockdown, and the changes which will remain in place for the foreseeable future in terms of reduced public transport, an increase in cycling and walking, and providing safe, open city centre spaces for people to use in line with Government regulations on social distancing.
Leicester’s Covid-19 Transport Recovery Plan, which was published earlier this month, sets out the goals for helping the city’s economy recover following the lockdown, while also meeting the city’s environmental goals of improving air quality and encouraging more sustainable travel choices.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Some businesses in Granby Street have already been calling on us to make it more pedestrian-friendly for some time, and we’ve outlined the scheme we are now putting in place.
“Granby Street, especially at the end nearest the city centre, has several small businesses including cafes and restaurants which would benefit from having more space for customers to queue, or to have outside seating areas to make social distancing easier.
“Obviously we need to ensure that businesses can still get deliveries, and we will also provide nearby disabled parking, but in the whole removing unnecessary through traffic will greatly benefit the street and the businesses in it.”
Schemes already carried out as part of the Transport Recovery Plan include pop-up ‘keyworker corridor’ cycle tracks at Aylestone Road, Saffron Lane, Hinckley Road and Abbey Park Road, as well as pavement-widening measures at Queens Road and Belgrave Road, and a pop-up ‘Mini Holland’ scheme to limit through-traffic on Braunstone Gate and create a cycle and walking link connecting to the Great Central Way, De Montfort University campus and the city centre.
Earlier this month the Government announced a £363,000 pot of funding for Leicester to carry out such schemes, and the city council is awaiting a decision on further funding.
Full details of the Transport Recovery Plan are available here: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/media/186689/covid-19-transport-recovery-plan-may-2020.pdf
Frequently asked questions about all pop-up schemes and transport recovery projects across the city are available here: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/coronavirus/cycling-and-walking-pop-ups/