Work has begun to transform a historic boulevard in the Toxteth area of Liverpool that will boast a cycling first for the city.
Contractors for Liverpool City Council are now on site at Princes Avenue and Road to embark on a £4m scheme featuring a unique cycle path along the central reservation.
mncn (formerly North Midland Construction) are to install the 1km long cycle path within the central reservation – a first for Liverpool. The six month long scheme is set to be completed in the summer of 2020.
The scheme’s aim is to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity between south Liverpool and the city centre, with the plan to install a new Citybike station along the route.
The city council, which recently declared a climate emergency and is developing a Clean Air plan, is holding a series of creative engagement events with the local community on the design elements around the new open spaces, with more to be held in mid-January 2020.
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, 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 carriageway surface and drainage improvements.
Localised footway improvements.
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.
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.
Social value benchmarks and targets are also included in the contract committing nmcn to providing work and training opportunities to the Liverpool labour market.
Councillor Sharon Connor, 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.
“The feedback from the local community has been fantastic which will help give this scheme 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 also provide a unique experience for cyclists travelling to and from south of the city and is another example of how we are actively working to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, improve our air quality and encourage healthier lifestyles.”
Simon O’Brien, Cycling Commissioner for LiverpoolCity Region, said: “Princes Avenue is the next step developing a right Royal cycling and walking network. It has the potential to be the link between the whole of the South of the city and the city centre for both pleasure and commuting. Definitely down the right Avenue!”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I want to deliver a walking and cycling revolution across the Liverpool City Region.
“Over the next decade, we’re building a 600km network of new and upgraded walking and cycling routes to help make cycling a genuine option for getting around our region.
“Our planet faces a climate emergency. Projects like this, which help take cars off the road and encourage people to take more journeys by bike, are a key part of the tackling climate change.”