St Helens Borough Council has confirmed that completion is nearing on a pioneering new scheme that will help provide further safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
The project will see a CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) junction replacing a roundabout as part of the area’s Southern Gateway Scheme and is anticipated to be completed in September. The gateway scheme is worth £15 million and is the culmination of a collaboration between St Helens Borough Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and Northern Rail, with an aim of making active travel a more popular choice for those wanting to access Lea Green Railway Station.
In a location that also means close proximity to several schools, the project will see improved safety measures for those who wish to participate in active travel, further supporting the council’s ambitions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Member for Strategic Transport, Cllr Seve Gomez-Aspron, said:
“It's great to see works nearing completion on the Liverpool City Region's first CYCLOPS junction here in our borough - a fine piece of engineering that is a symbol of our commitment to active travel and road safety. We understand the frustrations of road closures during the duration of works but the long-term benefits certainly outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
"For many, the thought of crossing a road at a busy junction in front of vehicles that have the potential to reach high speeds in a matter of seconds can be a daunting experience. But with the CYCLOPS, it completely segregates pedestrians and cyclists from motorists, with those on foot even able to get to where they need to be in just a few steps, meaning motorists don't need to sit in traffic for as long, so a win all around. The project is key to the redevelopment of Lea Green station to encourage people to travel to the station either by foot or to cycle. It also links to the wider network of cycle routes in that area, which go into St Helens town centre, or eventually out to Whiston.
"As a highway authority, we are responsible for 484 miles of road and a further 553 miles of footways which I am determined to keep in the best possible condition whether you drive, cycle or walk - not just for today, but for the future.
"Our vision is to be a leading highway authority, creating a well-connected, accessible transport network that supports economic growth and the innovative St Helens Southern Gateway scheme is a key example of that commitment, helping us with our decarbonisation commitments and supports our recently adopted road safety strategy to ensure our highway network is safe and accessible for all.”
The junction works by separating the three components of the traffic around it, with pedestrians utilising the inner ‘ring’ and cyclists using the outer ‘ring’. These two groups will follow the same green lights; however they will be separated, with cars required to stop at the traffic lights until the pedestrians and cyclists have passed.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
"Walking and cycling are an integral part of my vision for a London-style transport system. As Mayor, I'm investing almost £70m in active travel across the region to help give people a proper alternative to the car. This CYCLOPS junction, the first of its kind in the region, will make it safer and quicker for people to get about.
"For far too long, too many people in our region have been forced to contend with a fragmented, under-funded public transport system that simply doesn't work for them. Thanks to devolution, we're working to change that by putting the 'public' back into public transport.
"Our residents deserve a faster, cheaper, greener, and more reliable transport network that not only works for them, but for our planet too.
"I want to make it easier than ever for our residents to get from A to B by building better connected, greener routes, that offer a genuine alternative to the car. I want to start an active travel revolution, making it easier than ever for people to choose cleaner ways to get about.
"Because if we are serious about playing our part in tackling the climate crisis, then we have to do all that we can to reach our target to be net zero by 2040 at the latest - and we can only get there by encouraging more people to leave their car at home for shorter journeys."
A number of other upgrades are being utilised around the railway station, including a new decked car park, new station building with improved facilities, and seven new walking and cycling routes that will connect Lea Green to nearby hubs.
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