Highways scheme fit for Princes – includes cycling first for city!

A major highways scheme which will transform a historic boulevard in the Toxteth area of Liverpool, complete with a cycling first for the city, is set to go ahead.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet has today approved that the contract to upgrade Princes Avenue and Road – featuring a unique cycle path along the central reservation – be awarded to nmcn (formerly North Midland Construction).

Following today’s approval, a public consultation on proposals relating to junctions and access for buses within the scheme will be held. This will take place at 6pm, Tuesday, 26 February at the Kuumba Imani Centre, 4 Princes Road, Liverpool (L8 1TH).

The results from the public consultation will then inform how the £4m scheme will be phased in with contractors due on site in Spring. Once all design elements are finalised, the project will also lead to the creation of a new open space for community events and a marketplace.

By installing the 1km long cycle path within the central reservation – a first for Liverpool – the scheme’s aim is to improve cycle connectivity between south Liverpool and the City Centre, with the plan to install a new Citybike station along the route.

The new cycle path would also form an extension of a new ‘green corridor’ to Otterspool that is due to be delivered in the next 12 months. The URBAN Green UP project has £3.4m of EU funding to install and test three ‘green corridors’ across the city, which was a key recommendation in the city council’s Strategic Green and Open Spaces Review.

The innovative scheme, which falls between Upper Parliament Street and Princes Park Gate, also aims to stimulate the wider regeneration of an area that was created in Liverpool’s Victorian maritime hey-day.

The wide, tree-lined boulevard styled avenue leading up to Princes Park was built for the city’s merchant class and boasts grand houses, as well as a stunning range of religious architecture, including the Grade I listed Gothic/Moorish revival masterpiece that is the Princes Road Jewish Synagogue.

As part of the proposals to regenerate the existing 18.5m wide central reserve, the Cabinet report notes several improvements to the area will include:

  • New and improved pedestrian and cycle paths linking into the wider neighbourhood.
  • New and improved toucan crossings
  • Planting of a number of new trees and new landscaped areas.
  • New seating and lighting.
  • Restoration of existing artwork and monuments.
  • New public artwork to celebrate the history and people of Toxteth and Liverpool.

This scheme is part of Liverpool City Region’s Sustainable Transport Enhancement Package (STEP) and the city council was successful in being awarded £1.925m from the STEP programme. The remainder of the funding will be provided through the council’s £500m Better Roads programme.

Councillor James Noakes, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said: “The Princes Avenue/Road scheme is a fantastic example of how our Better Roads programme is breathing new life into Liverpool’s communities.

“Once we’ve gone out to public consultation and completed the final elements of the scheme, I’ve no doubt this will have a real wow-factor. It’s going to revive the most beautiful boulevard in the city and transform how the wider Toxteth community interact and use this reimagined space.

“The new cycle path within the central reservation will provide a unique experience for cyclists travelling to and from south of the city and the new open space created will provide a focal point at weekends for events and markets.

“The environmental improvements and artistic elements of the scheme make this a truly stand out project and one which befits the rich history and diversity of this vibrant community.”

The STEP programme is part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF). 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.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “This is an exciting scheme which will reinvigorate an elegant boulevard, making it a more attractive place for people to spend time, while at the same time improving walking, cycling and public transport links.

“It will make a big difference, particularly for the local community, and I am pleased that as a Combined Authority we are able to support it.”

Social value benchmarks and targets are also included in the contract committing nmcn to providing apprenticeships and training opportunities to the Liverpool labour market.

Geoff Poyzer, Managing Director of nmcn’s Highways division, said: “We are delighted to have secured this pivotal project to enhance this historic boulevard in the heart of Liverpool. The project will transform this part of the city by providing a high quality open space, new cycle track and displays of public art.

“We have worked with Liverpool City Council on previous schemes to enhance the city and look forward to working closely with them once again on this project.”

Liverpool Waterfront