Emergency Active Travel Routes – FAQ

New walking and cycle routes in Southport & Bootle: what you need to know

Since the introduction of the new walking and cycling routes in Southport and Bootle during the Coronavirus pandemic, people have been getting in contact with the Council.

We have listened to the issues and has created the following FAQs to help you understand why the walking and cycling routes have been introduced to the town and in the way that we have.

Who are the Emergency Active Travel Routes for?

The routes are for everyone, we want to make sure our routes are fully accessible for people to walk, cycle or scoot.

Why do we need the routes?

The walking and cycling routes in Southport and in Bootle have been made in response to COVID-19; the need to socially distance has made it difficult for people to get around and people are being asked to avoid using public transport where possible.  During the lockdown we know you have been out exploring your local neighbourhood to exercise and to shop for essentials.  Our walking and cycling counters have shown a significant increase in people choosing to walk and cycle.  

To help people walking and cycling we have made a route which joins up communities from the north and south of Southport as well as a route in Bootle which links to Liverpool.  The Southport route links people to work, shopping, health appointments, schools /colleges and to the park for a well-earned wellness break.  

Before COVID-19 a survey from Sustrans told us 74% of residents think space should be increased for people socialising, cycling and walking on their local high street.  Also 76% of residents thought it useful to have segregated cycle tracks.

We know that there are many people who live within the neighbourhoods served by the route in Southport who do not have access to a car, in some communities this figure can be as big as 37% of households without a car in Southport.  We have 17,660 12 to 17 year olds in Sefton who are too young drive but could walk and cycle for their journeys.  We also know that walking and cycling can help you get fitter and healthier which is even more important now.    

Sefton Council have adopted their Climate Change Emergency Plan, which sets out how we will take steps to reduce our carbon emissions.  Changing the way we live and work is an important part of the plan.  One thing we can do is to keep on walking and cycling as much as we can for all our short journeys.

When the Government announced the funding for the Emergency Active Travel routes the Council provided route options to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who then put the best routes into the bid for Government. 

How long will they take?

The works should mostly be complete within 4 weeks of starting. However we may have to return to make changes to the way we have done things and to make wider changes such as changes to the environment or more cycle parking for example.

Are the routes finished?

The routes in Bootle and Southport are not yet finished.   We still have more work to do to improve them and some of the equipment used will be changed.  For example the plastic poles used to keep people cycling separate from people driving, will change to ones which will last longer and less likely to come out.   These were put in as they were the only ones in stock at the time.  We hope that the changes will be made in the coming months.

Are the works permanent?

The works may initially be ‘temporary’ as in some cases, the materials needed will not be available due to the demand across the country.  Materials that are readily available within the restricted time frame may therefore be used. Further adjustments both in terms of materials and any changes (based on feedback) may therefore be made and the routes made permanent at a later date. We want the routes to be the best that they can be and we would like you to tell us how we can do this by emailing transport.planning@sefton.gov.uk or by visiting https://seftonliveablestreets.commonplace.is/

Why was I not asked about my views on the route? 

A plan has been developed with the City Region Combined Authority which shows where we want to invest in walking and cycling across the City Region – this plan is called the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and is available on the Combined Authority website (you will also find a link at the bottom of this page).  Routes which link to Southport from the North and South, and Bootle to Liverpool are included in this plan. 

We are looking to develop a plan for walking and cycling in Sefton, to work out where to put local walking and cycling networks to help people get to work, school, the local shops and other places people want to visit.  We will be working up this plan with local Councillors across the Borough and we will be asking you what your thoughts are.

The Government requirements issued with the funding which paid for the Emergency Active Travel Routes did not give us time to ask you your thoughts on the route as we were told the routes needed to be put in really quickly.  This is not our usual way of doing things and we would normally ask people what they think of our ideas. However, we will be reviewing the routes and taking people’s views into account as part of that process.

Why have these routes been chosen?

In anticipation of the potential offer of government funding, we identified some principles and criteria for the assessment of potential interventions / new routes. Anticipated demand, need, safety and visibility were all assessed and potential schemes scored. The two schemes chosen scored highest against the criteria.

Have you taken into account the needs of visually impaired or those with disabilities?

When introducing any proposals to support walking and cycling, we try to ensure that we maintain accessibility for all users including those with visual impairment or mobility difficulties.  Safety Audits will be completed on all the proposals which will highlight any potential risks for all users of the street environment which will then be addressed.

Do the changes comply with existing guidance on accessibility e.g. Inclusive Mobility and guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces?

Yes, the cycle routes have been designed in accordance with the latest guidance and are also subject to safety audits.

What considerations have been given to assist blind or partially sighted people crossing the cycle lanes?

New temporary signal-controlled crossings will be introduced at a number of locations.

Will space for the new cycleways be taken from the pavement or the road?

Except where the street is already pedestrianised, space will be taken from the road to ensure that the existing pavement widths are maintained, ensuring appropriate space for pedestrians.

Do any of the new cycle lanes affect access to bus stops?

Some of them do however in those few locations, suitable provision has been included in the design to allow people to still safely access the buses. The bus stops and bus routes have not changed.  

I want to tell you my thoughts about the routes how can I do this now?

We want the routes to be the best that they can be and we would like you to tell us how we can do this by emailing transport.planning@sefton.gov.uk or by visiting https://seftonliveablestreets.commonplace.is/ 

How will you know if the routes are a success?   

We are working with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on our plan for monitoring, we will be collecting information on peoples thoughts and feeling about the routes in Southport and Bootle.  We will also be looking at information which tell us about the numbers of people walking, cycling, scooting and driving along the routes.  Once the routes have been completed we will look to report on the route after it has been in operation for 6 months.     

Where I live/work or visit doesn’t have cycle parking nearby, what can I do?

As part of this funding we can install some cycle parking.  If you know somewhere which is in need of cycle parking or are a business which would benefit from cycle parking, please tell us by emailing transport.planning@sefton.gov.uk

Southport Specific FAQ

Since the introduction of new walking and cycling routes in Southport, people have been getting in contact with the Council. Having listened to the issues, we have created the following additional FAQs to help you understand why the walking and cycling routes have been introduced to the town and in the way that we have.

Why have you decided on this route?

We know people need to get to and through Southport Town Centre and we know that making improvements for walking and cycling is important as not everyone owns a car or wants to use it every day, and that we have lots of young people too, who need to get around.   We also know that we have experienced a great increase in walking and cycling during lockdown and we want to make sure that as the roads get busier with cars, people can still walk and cycle to work, shopping, school /college and to health facilities. 

The City Region Combined Authority looked at a lot of different routes across all the local authorities in the City Region and scored them against a range of things such as getting to work, going to school, college etc.  This route linking Southport to local neighbourhoods scored the highest in Sefton along with our Bootle to Liverpool route, so it was included in the City Region bid for funding. 

Why is Queens Road closed to traffic? 

Queens Road is not closed to traffic. 

If you are on a bus, walking or cycling you can go along the full length of Queens Road from or onto Manchester Road or Park Road.

If you are driving you cannot enter Queens Road from Manchester Road or Park Road but you can enter Queens Road from all the side streets. 

You can drive along Queens Road in both directions to access properties. 

We have made these changes to make Queens Road quieter.  Making a street quieter makes the street a nicer place to walk, cycle or scoot. 

Why are the cycle lanes so wide on Hoghton Street?

The cycle lines are wide so that they provide space for everyone who wants to use them. This means there’s space to overtake others who are cycling, and room for larger cycles, such as hand crank and tricycles to use them. This is in line with national best practice.

Why did you take away the car parking bays away from Hoghton Street?

The disabled parking bays have not been changed.  To make the road better for cycling you can make the road quieter by taking away traffic, which was our plan for Queens Road and Talbot Street, or by making separate space for cycling.  On Hoghton Street we have made separate space for cycling.  Space for cycling must be for everyone so the lanes need to be wide wherever we can to make sure that we do not exclude anyone.    

Why is Chapel Street shared for people walking and cycling? 

We have allowed cycling along Chapel Street to connect the route to the North and the South, we could not connect the route any other way.   

Why are cars parking on the cycle lanes on part of Queens Road and Talbot Street?

The quiet streets, Talbot Street and Queens Road have advisory lines on to tell you to expect people to be cycling along the road.  If we think the quiet streets are quiet enough to make it safe and pleasant for people walking and cycling, we may take these out.  If we have not managed to make the route quiet enough for walking and cycling we will look at other options.     

I am a disabled visitor, where can I park?

The disabled parking bays on Hoghton Street have not changed.  We have made a plan showing where the nearest pay and display car parking spaces are.

We also want to make sure that disabled cyclists have cycle parking where they need it most.  If you use a bike as a mobility aid and need cycle parking nearer to a shop or place you visit, let us know and we will do our best to provide it. 

I usually get the bus and get off /on along Hoghton Street can I still do this? 

The bus routes and bus stops have not changed. 

I cannot park my bike, can I have some cycle parking?   

We have a small budget to provide cycle parking, if you would like cycle parking please get in contact and tell us where you would like to park your bike. If you own a business or you live in a flat or a shared house and do not have any cycle parking get in contact and we will try our best to help.  Please tell us by emailing transport.planning@sefton.gov.uk

Why is Hoghton Street One Way?  

Hoghton Street is not one way you can still drive both ways along Hoghton Street. 

Relevant Documents

Gear Change: a bold vision for cycling and walking

Liverpool City Region – Trache 1 Emergency Active Travel Fund Cabinet Member Report

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)