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Council outlines latest plans to extend citywide cycling network

Cycle lane sign

PLANS for a major new neighbourhood cycling route in Leicester have been outlined, as part of an ambitious citywide programme of investment in sustainable transport.

Leicester City Council is planning to invest £1.8million to improve a 2.5km route along Blackbird Road, Parker Drive and Beaumont Leys Lane, and help encourage more people to make the shift to walking and cycling.

The work will be paid for through the Transforming Cities Fund following the city council’s successful bid for £32million of second tranche funding to support improvements to public transport and providing more safer cycling and walking routes into city neighbourhoods and the city centre.

As part of the proposed scheme, the city council is planning to convert the existing pavement into a joint use footway and cycleway that will run along one side of Blackbird Road, between its junctions of Buckminster Road and Parker Drive. This will involve repairing and reprofiling the pavement to provide an improved and more even surface.

Improvements will also be made at the junctions of side roads where raised tables will be constructed to provide safer crossings for cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed improvements on Blackbird Road will link to Buckminster Road, where a partial road closure and new road layout are being trialled under an experimental order. This will then lead onto Anstey Lane where £1million has been invested in new cycleways and wider, safer footpaths.

The new route will also continue from Blackbird Road onto Parker Drive where a new segregated 2.5m to 3m wide off-road cycle track will be introduced along the full length of the road, on the Somerset Avenue side, up to its junction with Beaumont Leys Lane.

The junction with Somerset Avenue will be remodelled. This will remove the left and right splitter roads and create a narrower T-junction to provide a safer and more direct crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.

Alterations will also be made to the junctions of side roads along this side of Parker Drive, to raise levels and provide safer crossings.

The route will then continue onto Beaumont Leys Lane in both directions. A joint-use route for pedestrians and cyclists will be created on the south side of Beaumont Leys Lane between Parker Drive and Heacham Drive. The existing crossing close to the junction with Parker Drive will be remodelled and improved to provide a safer crossing for cyclists.

Turning right from Parker Drive, the existing footway on the opposite side of the road (running alongside Wolsey House Primary School) will be widened to provide a 3m wide joint use footway and cycleway up to the junction with the A6 Abbey Lane. This will include a stretch of segregated off-road cycle track immediately adjacent to the entrance to Wolsey House Primary School.

Alterations will also be made to the junction of Beaumont Leys Lane, Abbey Lane and Corporation Road to upgrade traffic signals and provide safer crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

Letters have been delivered to around 1,600 residents and businesses in the immediate area inviting their comments on the proposed scheme.

Work is scheduled to begin in May 2022 on a phased basis to help minimise disruption, and is expected to take around 10 months to complete.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport and environment, said: “We know that many more journeys in Leicester will be walked or cycled if we continue to provide the safe and pleasant means of doing so from the city centre to neighbourhoods and this is evidenced in our recent Local Transport Plan.

“These latest plans are just one part of an ambitious citywide programme that is now extending the multi-million-pound investment we have made in improving routes in and around the city centre, out into the Leicester’s busy neighbourhoods. By making roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, we can help encourage more people to leave the car at home and choose cleaner, greener and cheaper ways of getting about in the city.

“It is essential that we continue to provide more attractive and sustainable travel choices for people. It will help deliver a greener solution for the future growth of the city and support our work around the climate emergency and air quality improvements. We need to be radical and ambitious to meet these challenges.”

The Transforming Cities Fund is a major £80million citywide programme of investment in sustainable transport, backed by £40million of Government cash from the Department for Transport. The ambitious package of works will focus on major sustainable transport improvements to provide attractive choices for people to get to work, education, shops and other local facilities to help support the city’s growth and deliver on the council’s climate emergency, air quality and health living commitments.

The programme includes the development of new bus priority corridors linking the city centre to local neighbourhoods and suburbs along with the continued development of a network of high-quality cycling and walking routes throughout the city, building on the success of the Connecting Leicester programme.

It has also seen the introduction of electric buses onto the Park and Ride service and a new citywide electric bike hire scheme in partnership with Santander.

To view the plans for Blackbird Road, Parker Drive and Beaumont Leys Lane in more detail visit