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A public information roadshow is to be held next week on a new phase of a £47m programme to change the way people travel around Liverpool city centre.
Liverpool City Council is undertaking the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity (LCCC) scheme to reduce congestion and improve air quality and is on the brink of instigating major changes to key landmark roads – Lime Street and The Strand.
At Lime Street, the city council is to create a segregated cycle lane and create a new public square outside the train station as well as an expanded plateau outside the Grade I listed St George’s Hall. A water feature will also be created at the southern end of the plateau, which lies within the city’s World Heritage site.
To begin in May 2020, Lime Street will be reduced into a single carriageway in each direction, with the southbound lane able to access St Johns Shopping centre car park. South of Lime Street station will be a single lane only, with northbound traffic, including buses, no longer able to travel past the old ABC Cinema and Holiday Inn hotel and will instead need to take a left or right at the Adelphi Hotel junction.
To offset the closure of Lime Street for north bound bus services, a “busgate” will be introduced on Hanover Street, allowing only buses (and taxis) during the day to access Liverpool ONE bus station. The new bus timetable, to come into effect in April, will also contain a new city centre circular service.
Liverpool City Council will monitor these measures and will produce a one year on assessment evaluating the impact on bus passengers.
Works to The Strand are also scheduled to begin in May with the principle aim of making the major thoroughfare a safer highway, following four fatalities in the past two years.
These works have also been designed to make the city’s World Heritage listed waterfront, with its docks, museums, venues and cruise terminal, more accessible for pedestrians with both the removal of a traffic lane and the closure of traffic junctions at Water Street and Mann Island with Goree.
A segregated cycle lane will also be introduced to connect the south of Liverpool to the north, allowing cyclists to ride the full length of the Mersey from Otterspool to Southport. To keep traffic moving along the route, it is proposed that ‘no waiting at any time’ and ‘no loading at any time’ be introduced throughout and around the junctions with adjoining roads.
Based on computer modelling, it is estimated car journeys at peak times along The Strand will be reduced by more than a minute in both directions.
The significant redesigning of how key junctions are used, including the banning of turns cutting across The Strand, will also ensure traffic flow is more fluid meaning less air pollution, as cars are not stopping starting so frequently.
The three–day long LCCC public information roadshow, which will feature videos and detailed information boards, will be held from 10am to 6.30pm on:
Preparatory work on the environmental element of the scheme has already begun on The Strand, with the first phase of an environmentally innovative type of tree planting on the central reservation that has been designed to alleviate local flooding and help the city adapt to future climate change.
The newly planted trees will take the form of a tree Sustainable Urban Drainage system (SUDs) and will make use of any excess surface water on the carriageway, which will be diverted into the tree pit and tree watering system. This will both reduce the need for excess water to go into the drainage system and help to reduce the flooding pressure on the grids and gullies during periods of heavy rainfall. The SUDs approach is being used across the city centre in partnership with the Mersey Forest and the Urban Green UP project.
As part of the LCCC scheme, the new bus hub on Old Haymarket will begin to come into use in February before becoming fully operational when the new timetable begins in April. Its function will see Queen Square bus station became the focus for northbound bus routes and Liverpool ONE bus station for southbound bus routes, which will be underpinned by the Lime Street redesign.
The Lime Street revamp will also see a widened, boulevard style pavement running the entire length up to the Adelphi Hotel, which sits within the newly branded Upper Central gateway to the city’s Knowledge Quarter.
The LCCC scheme aims to boost transport links and further fuel Liverpool’s international appeal to investors, shoppers and tourists with its visitor economy, currently valued at £3.6bn/year, expected to grow by 25% over the next 10 years.
The scheme is receiving £40.1m from the Local Growth Fund with local match funding of £7m and is a major part of Liverpool City Council’s Better Roads programme. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.
Another element of the LCCC programme currently underway is Liverpool’s first dedicated coach park which is being created to accommodate the boom in coach visitors to the city centre, which last year equated to 160,000 more tourists than those who arrived via the cruise terminal.
Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Redesigning how we all use Lime Street and The Strand is critical to making Liverpool city centre fit for the future – safer, cleaner and greener for everyone to enjoy.
“The city has declared a Climate Change Emergency and is working on a Clean Air plan, so being smarter with how we use our major roads is going to make a massive contribution in reducing congestion and therefore the city’s carbon footprint and air quality.
“The Strand’s safety record is appalling. Four fatalities in the past two years in unacceptable and shows what a hazard it is to pedestrians. By significantly redesigning how the junctions work we can take a lane out and the traffic will still flow better. As a result we can widen the pavements for pedestrians to ensure a safer experience and install a segregated cycle lane.
“We know people have been sceptical as the idea of one less lane equals smoother traffic flow sounds counter-intuitive. But the fewer junctions are the key. I’d encourage everyone to come see for themselves at these information events. A lot of time and effort has been put in to provide as much detail as possible in how it is going to look and work.
“The redesign of Lime Street is not just about providing a world class welcome for the millions who arrive here by train. It’s pivotal to how the new bus hub operates and the planned changes to Queen Square bus station. We need public transport to be the number one option for people – because electric trains and electric buses are going to make the biggest impact on our carbon footprint.
“All these changes are inter-connected and that’s how this scheme should be seen – not one at a time but as whole, fitting together. Of course, these changes are being introduced to reflect how the city centre has evolved and how people use it. That will continue as the city centre continues to develop. And that’s why we will be monitoring the impact of the Lime Street changes on bus passengers to see if we need to tweak and improve these changes.”
Jake Berry, Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth and levelling up communities across the Northern Powerhouse.
“Thanks to over £40 million of Government investment from our Local Growth Fund, the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity Scheme will help reduce congestion and improve people’s quality of life. Making key landmark roads more accessible for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, we will help unlock new opportunities for the city.”
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