Work on a major transformation of Leicester’s busy London Road is due to get underway later this summer.
Leicester City Council is set to revamp the route between Granby Street and the Mayfield Road roundabout to create a safer and more attractive route for cyclists and pedestrians.
New segregated cycle lanes will be created – one inbound and one outbound – on either side of the road between the Granby Street and Victoria Park.
The outbound bus lane will be removed to provide space for the new cycle lanes while retaining the already generous width of the pavements, which will be resurfaced.
Two lanes of traffic will be retained at peak times in both directions, and off peak pay-and-display parking and loading bays will be provided.
Side roads will be raised to pavement level at their junctions to help give priority to pedestrians and cyclists and signal schemes at major junctions will be revamped to give cyclist a head-start and reduce any conflict with traffic turning left.
Dutch-style bus stop bays will be introduced along the road. These will channel cyclists behind the shelters, helping to improve safety for all road users.
The new cycle lanes and improved pavements will continue in front of the railway station.
Following a public consultation carried out in late-2017, a new bus-only lane will be created immediately outside the station. This will be camera-enforced with no exemption for any vehicles other than buses.
An option for a new car drop-off point on Station Street is currently under consideration.
At Victoria Park itself, plans to run a cycle lane along the edge of the park have been revised. The cycle path will now weave gently through the trees on the park itself, close to the existing pavement. This will mean fewer trees will need to be removed than originally planned. About ten trees could still be lost, but these will be replaced on a two-for-one basis nearby on the park.
The major scheme is part of the wider Connecting Leicester programme, which is improving routes into and through the city centre, while making it more attractive to investors and developers.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This major investment in London Road will bring about significant improvements for everyone who uses it.
“By reallocating a relatively small amount of road space, we can introduce dedicated off-road cycle lanes, better bus stops and wide, high quality pavements with improved crossings. This will help create a much safer and more appealing route for cyclists and pedestrians, while still recognising that this is a busy route for traffic and an important public transport interchange at the railway station.
“Balancing these competing demands has been a challenge that has taken months of expert design, consultation and refinement and I am pleased that we are now in a position to move forward with this ambitious plan.”
The scheme has been developed with input from local bus companies and user groups, city cycling groups and the family of cyclist Sam Boulton, who was killed in an accident outside the railway station.
Leicester City Council also sought expert guidance from international ‘Healthy Streets’ expert Brian Deegan, one of the main authors of Transport for London’s cycling design standards.
The London Road improvements will cost up to £3.9million. The city council has bid for over £1.2milllion of cash from the European Regional Development Fund to support the scheme. A decision is expected soon. The remaining costs will be paid for with capital set aside for the Leicester Economic Action Plan.
Work is due to get underway in late-summer and the scheme is expected to take up to 12-months to complete. Full details of lane closures and other potential disruption to traffic will be publicised nearer the time.