Emergency Active Travel Routes
In May the Government announced a significant funding opportunity and released guidance to Local Authorities to help us make changes to our streets, so they allow for social distancing and make it easier for people to walk and cycle once the restrictions are eased and the roads get busier with more people driving. The Emergency Active Travel Fund invited bids from Combined Authorities and Local Authorities and our ideas were included in the bid submitted to the Government by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA). The statutory guidance issued to local authorities said Local Authorities should make significant changes to streets and spaces by reallocating road space to people walking and cycling.
The LCRCA were successfully awarded their full allocation of £1.947m. The £1.947 million has been allocated to the local authorities within the LCR and Sefton Council have been allocated a proportion of funding to deliver 2 routes, one in Southport and one in Bootle which will encourage cycling and walking and make significant improvements to the streets around in a different way.
Our vision for Sefton is a confident and connected borough where people can enjoy the use of many cycle and walking friendly routes and where we all work together to keep Sefton clean and green with a commitment to low pollution and better air quality. This funding to implement two active travel routes as we recover from COVID-19, will be a step towards realising that vision. Encouraging people to use active forms of travel by increasing the opportunity for people to move around in a different way is in line with the Council’s commitments to improving Health and Wellbeing and tackling Climate Change.
During the lockdown we know you have been out exploring your local neighbourhood to exercise and to shop for essentials. Our cycle counters have shown us that there has been a significant increase in people choosing to cycle around the borough. There is a good network of cycle routes in the Borough, but we know that we have more work to do to create a network of safe routes for people cycling which are accessible and suitable for children to use. We want to help our community by creating attractive, accessible routes for people to use for short journeys by bike or on foot.
We know that getting to local town centres for work, shopping, or education is a priority for our communities. We therefore need to make sure that town centres are well connected to local communities by walking and cycling.
The Government funding comes with a requirement that schemes are put in very quickly (within 8 weeks). This means we could not consult on our ideas as we just didn’t have enough time. Nevertheless, we want to understand how we can improve the routes and how we can make them better for you and encourage you to walk and cycle more for shorter journeys so we will be monitoring their use and keeping them under review over the coming months.
The new cycle routes are the latest of many that you can access in Sefton. They are part of a much bigger commitment to low pollution and better air quality in the borough. Investment from Government in these routes will help us to achieve those aims.
Sefton has a Climate Change Emergency Plan, where the way we live and work is integral reducing our carbon emissions – what better way to do this than walk and cycle more?
We are always looking for ways to improve our road networks for those who want to walk or cycle, but we can’t do it alone – we want your thoughts and ideas, which you can share with us here: https://seftonliveablestreets.commonplace.is
For more details about both the Southport and Bootle plans – please see the links below.