PEOPLE are being given the chance to comment on proposals to improve footpaths and introduce a new cycleway on two busy Leicester city centre streets.
The city council plans to create better footpaths and a separate cycle lane along a stretch of Welford Road, from Newarke Street to Lancaster Walk.
The new two-way cycle lane will replace the existing bus lane on Welford Road, keeping the existing three lanes open to general traffic. Pavements will also be improved to create a more attractive environment for pedestrians.
Current proposals include the creation of a bus only link at the junction of Welford Road and Infirmary Road, a new crossing at the junction of Mill Street and Welford Road, and a review of existing kerbside parking arrangements. Some bus stops could also be relocated.
Improvements to Belvoir Street are also being proposed. The pavements will be widened and reconstructed in high quality materials. A contraflow cycle lane could be introduced to provide a link from the existing cycle lane on Newarke Street, and the proposed scheme on Welford Road, to Granby Street.
The Belvoir Street proposals would see all existing loading bays maintained, but pay and display parking would be moved onto Stamford Street. The council is considering options to reduce the number of traffic signals along Belvoir Street.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “These proposals show our ambition for a new phase of Connecting Leicester. We have already kick-started a much-needed transformation of the city centre, with new public spaces and more attractive, and safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
“The schemes we are proposing for Welford Road and Belvoir Street will fill some obvious gaps in the city centre cycling network.
“The key to making cycling a normal, everyday way of getting about in the city is safety. That’s a really big concern for many people who want to cycle but don't.
“These schemes will extend the work we have already completed in the city centre, providing a more connected network of safe, attractive routes linking the Cultural Quarter, city centre shopping, our heritage attractions and sporting stadiums.”
The combined cost for the Welford Road and Belvoir Street schemes is expected to be £3million. If given the go ahead, work will start early next year.
The latest plans have been developed following a 16-week experimental lane closure along Welford Road to help assess the impact on traffic. This showed that, with alterations to traffic signalling and the removal of the bus lane, traffic flow along Welford Road was not adversely affected. Losing the bus lane also had no impact on passenger journey times.
However, some longer traffic queues were recorded on Rutland Street and Aylestone Road at their junctions with Welford Road.
Peter Soulsby added: “Officers have analysed the impact of the experimental lane closure on Welford Road and this shows that traffic flow on this busy route won’t be adversely affected.
“The impact of traffic queues joining Welford Road is something that we will continue to look at, but that needs to be considered against the benefits of reallocating more safe space for cyclists and pedestrians.
“This latest proposal will keep the same number of general traffic lanes along this busy road while making a really significant contribution to the network of safe cycle routes in the city centre.”
People can find out more about the proposals and view detailed plans at Leicester Adult Education Centre, where they will be on display until Friday 30 October.