WORK to improve two busy Leicester roads and make them safer for walkers, wheelers and cyclists will resume next week.
Leicester City Council is investing around £2million to improve routes on parts of Aylestone Road and Welford Road as part of a major citywide programme to encourage more people to make the shift to sustainable transport and active travel.
The scheme will create a safer and more attractive route for people walking, using wheelchairs or other mobility aids, or cycling on Aylestone Road, between Putney Road and Welford Road. It will also provide a direct link with existing cycleways in the city centre and local neighbourhoods.
Work is being paid for through the Transforming Cities Fund following the city council’s successful bid for £32million of second tranche funding.
A first phase of improvements was completed last year. This saw the construction of wider footpaths and an off-road cycle lane between the new Putney Road junction and Freemens Common Road. Improved footpaths and a new cycle lane have also been completed as part of the Hotel Brooklyn development, at the junction of Aylestone Road and Welford Road, next to the home of Leicester Tigers.
Now, a second phase of work is due to get under way from Monday 13 March.
Work will take place on Aylestone Road, where footpaths will be widened and a new off-road cycle track created between Freemans Common Road and Leicester Tigers, where the existing cycle lane ends.
This will involve making permanent the pop-up cycle lane that currently runs along the stretch of Aylestone Road, between its junctions with Almond Road and Welford Road. This was the first of Leicester’s original ‘keyworker corridors’ introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 – an idea that was replicated in towns and cities across the country.
A new raised cycle-track will be built in place of the temporary coned-off route, and the number of lanes for general traffic will be reduced from three to two along this stretch of road. The existing bus lane will be retained.
An additional stretch of new cycleway will also be created on part of Welford Road, from the Tigers Stadium to Lancaster Walk, alongside Nelson Mandela Park. This will provide a direct link to existing cycleways leading into the city centre.
Improvements will also be made to the traffic signals at the junction of Aylestone Road and Freemen’s common Road.
The existing bus lane on Aylestone Lane will be suspended during the works, which are expected to take up to nine months to complete. Two lanes will be open to general traffic throughout the works.
Deputy Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “Aylestone Road was one of the first routes to be identified and used as a pop-up ‘keyworker corridor’ to provide safe commuting routes for people during the first lockdown almost three years ago. It’s been a popular route for walkers, wheelers and cyclists ever since.
“The improvements to this route represent another important expansion of the city’s growing network of safe and attractive routes for cyclists and pedestrians and will allow us to further extend the multi-million-pound investment we have made in and around the city centre, out into the Leicester’s busy local neighbourhoods along Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane.
“It is vital that we continue to provide healthier, greener streets to accommodate the future growth of the city and its economy, all of which supports our commitments to address the climate emergency and to reduce air pollution. 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 healthy living commitments.