A BUSY local shopping area in North Evington is being transformed in a pop-up scheme creating wider pavements to make it safer for shoppers and residents to socially distance.
As part of Leicester City Council’s Covid-19 Transport Recovery Plan, work is being carried out to support safe social distancing in a number of citywide district shopping streets to coincide with the gradual reopening of shops and other businesses earlier this month.
The latest project will introduce measures to widen the narrow footways on Green Lane Road, between Mere Road and East Park Road.
To do this safely, Green Lane Road will become one-way eastbound from Wednesday, June 24, with an advisory 20mph speed limit in effect.
On-street parking will remain in use during the temporary scheme, which will use traffic cones, signs and other temporary markings on the new layout which covers around half a mile.
Similar schemes have been carried out at Queens Road, Granby Street and Belgrave Road, with a larger scheme incorporating both wider pavements and cycling and pedestrian facilities at Braunstone Gate.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “As the Government eases more and more of the lockdown restrictions, we are seeing businesses reopening and shoppers returning to the streets.
“It is vital that we support those businesses and communities by making streets as safe as possible for people to use while maintaining safe social distancing. These are temporary, pop-up measures which can be put in place relatively cheaply and quickly, and can be adapted or improved upon if need be to address any issues that arise.
“Covid-19 is still very much part of everyone’s lives, and these measures are a key component of helping to control the spread of the virus.”
The work on Green Lane Road is expected to cost about £5,200, from the Government’s £363,000 pot of funding for such schemes. Notice has been given to businesses ahead of the planned work starting.
Leicester deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “The pop-up schemes that we are carrying out in communities, shopping areas and key commuter routes across the city go a long way to making our streets safer for everyone to use, by encouraging more people to cycle or walk rather than using their cars.
“Green Lane Road is a thriving local shopping area, and these measures should help ensure it stays that way by encouraging people to visit and shop safely.”
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.
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.
People can also now nominate streets that would benefit from more space for safe travelling and shopping, using the Widen My Path website.
The website allows anyone to put forward a location where more space or improvements for walking or cycling are needed, as well as showing support for an existing suggestion by voting for it.
The ideas submitted will help the city council prioritise where further improvements are needed. To make a nomination, or to view ideas already under consideration, visit www.widenmypath.com/leicester
Further information about cycling and walking pop-ups is available on the council's website.