THE latest in a series of pop-up cycling and walking routes on major commuter routes in Leicester is being installed along a stretch of Hinckley Road.
An outbound section of Hinckley Road, between its junctions with Stretton Road and Frampton Avenue, near Wyngate Drive, is being altered to include a pop-up safer cycling route, as part of a series of emergency responses by the city council to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus and the need to provide a network of safe, sustainable routes for key workers needing to commute.
Wide pavements on a further section of the road from Frampton Drive to opposite the entrance to Western Park will become shared spaces which cyclists and pedestrians can use. The scheme will also see pavement widening on a stretch of road near Dovelands Primary School, and the removal of some parking bays.
It follows work earlier this month to create an inbound cycling route along a 1.2-mile section of Hinckley Road, starting from Western Park and heading towards the city centre. There are also plans to extend the track out to its junction with the outer ring road at New Parks Way.
The new outbound cycling route is being installed on Friday, June 26, at a cost of £10,000, and covers around half a mile. Notice has been given to businesses ahead of the planned work starting.
It forms part of the wider Leicester Covid-19 Transport Recovery Plan which was published at the start of June, setting out how the city’s transport system can best meet the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and help the city’s economy to recover, as well as securing longer-term environmental benefits.
The plan included a commitment by City Mayor Peter Soulsby to create a mile every week of new cycling and walking routes, both by using pop-up temporary routes or bringing forward the completion date for longer-term, permanent infrastructure projects from the ongoing Connecting Leicester works.
Over the last few weeks, pop-up cycle tracks have been installed at Aylestone Road, Saffron Lane, London Road and Abbey Park Road, with pavement widening work and other improvements on Belgrave’s Golden Mile, Braunstone Gate, Green Lane Road, Granby Street and Queens Road.
Elsewhere in the city work is being carried out to more clearly segregate existing cycle lanes by using wand markers.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The success of these pop-up schemes so far has helped encourage more people to cycle or walk, knowing they have safe routes on which to do so.
“Hinckley Road is an important arterial route in and out of the city, and the addition of this outbound lane completes the route in both directions.”
The Government announced Leicester would receive £363,000 as the first funding allocation from a £250million budget for Active Travel Emergency Funding, which is being used to finance such schemes. However, the city council has actually been awarded an increased amount of Government funding - £405,000 in total - in recognition of its innovative work in delivering pop-up transport projects.
The council has pledged to continue its very popular Bike Aid scheme to supply reconditioned and donated bicycles to key workers, while later this summer the new Leicester Santander Bike Share scheme is due to be launched, allowing people to hire bikes from hubs across the city centre and other key areas.
Leicester deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “We’ve seen how popular these pop-up cycle track schemes have been and it makes sense to continue installing them on major commuter routes in and out of the city.
“In Leicester around 40 percent of urban journeys are under two miles, and by providing additional safe routes we want to encourage people to think about walking and cycling rather than taking the car – as a city we all need to make that change and take the opportunities that the lockdown has presented, to make more sustainable transport choices.”
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
The Leicester Transport Recovery Plan can be viewed online.
People can also gain reward points for walking and cycling using the BetterPoints smartphone app, with extra weekly prizes to celebrate the new pop-up cycle lanes and widened footways. Download the app from the Choose How You Move website.