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Campaigners argue against demolishing flyovers - and suggest using them for public park

Campaigners are fighting to save a pair of flyovers in the centre of Liverpool – and replace them with a “promenade in the sky” similar to ones in New York City and Paris – although unlike those, cycling would be allowed.

Liverpool’s 2012 Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) proposes spending £4 million to tear down the Churchill Way flyovers, which run past the Central Library and World Museum close to Lime Street station.

Mark Bennett of Michael Cunningham Architects has teamed up with the design agency studioF, whose Kate Stewart also set up retail business made-here have teamed up for plans to transform the flyovers into a pedestrian and cycle-friendly public space.

According to the conceptual project’s page on the studioF website:

With the addition of planting, kiosks, cafes, lighting and power infrastructure, this route of hustle, bustle and speed is transformed into a thriving oasis and green lung in the centre of the city, an iconic attraction for residents and visitors.

As visitors meander along the park, they will come across cafes, raised beds with planting and allotments tended by the local community including residents and education establishments, independent retail kiosks and market stalls. Pedestrian routes, coupled with trim-trail equipment, offer a welcome space for residents and city workers to run and keep fit.

Just imagine yourself in this elevated park, having visited a farmers’ market, accessing the wifi cloud and being served with freshly-made coffee and toast, with a generous serving of honey produced by bees from hives within the park! All of this would come with a wonderful vista across the city!

The proposals also include a 'theatre in the round' and the firm adds: “The Flyover has the potential to become a thriving promenade and meeting space within an important part of the city centre which is central to the vision.”

Elevated transport infrastructure no longer used for its original purpose has already been transformed into public space in cities including New York and Paris.

The High Line on the west side of Manhattan is a former elevated railway line that has been converted into a public park, with the first section opening in 2009.

http://www.thehighline.org/about/park-information

It was itself inspired by the Promenade Plantée in Paris, which runs east from near Place de la Bastille and is located on a disused railway viaduct, with arts and crafts shops and studios occupying the arches beneath.

Bicycles are banned from both The High Line and the Promenade Plantée, though each has cycle parking as well as docking stations for their cities’ respective cycle share schemes nearby.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

14 comments

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Andy G [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Fine for leisure cycling but this will get counted as cycle infrastructure and it will be useless/dangerous as a means of cycle transport.

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antonio [1151 posts] 3 years ago
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Sounds like a great idea, only, cycle transport, or cycling allowed.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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brilliant idea but I'm not sure the inclusion of cycling really makes a difference. It will clearly be designed as a leisurely space not a space for riding ones bike

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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I can't help thinking that being out of sight of street level is going to be a bit of a thieves paradise.

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pacef8 [13 posts] 3 years ago
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No cycle hire scheme
No bus cycle lanes
Now this !!
Pie in the sky

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arrieredupeleton [580 posts] 3 years ago
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Whoever worked up that first montage/image has clearly never ridden a bike in an urban environment. A great idea to reuse existing infrastructure but without segregation I can't see the point.

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WolfieSmith [1365 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice idea. And as I actually live in Liverpool my comments are fully informed. With Liverpool container port being doubling in size I'd like Liverpool and Sefton council to bridge the dock entrance to make it safe for cyclists and pedestrians before considering garden flyovers between two busy road areas that probably won't see any cycle infrastructure adaption. There's no point converting the flyovers if either side remains a cycle death trap.

There is huge potential for Liverpool but it's a good five years behind other UK cities at present. They're still doing press on celebrity riders and then slapping daft routes in here and there.

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Cranky Acid [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Why do you say it will be no good for transport cycling? Sounds like an excellent commute route to me although the infrastructure at the beginning and end of the route would be crucial to it's success.

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rJD [11 posts] 3 years ago
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Having walked the Promenade plantée in Paris and run the High Line in New York, I'd love to see this in Liverpool - they're wonderful leisure spaces. But I agree with other posters here - this would do nothing to improve cycling conditions more generally, and shouldn't be allowed to divert attention from this need.

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

Nice idea. And as I actually live in Liverpool my comments are fully informed.

I hope my comment didn't seem like a cheap dig, I'd have made it about anywhere as I know some people are put off cycling because of their perceived risk of theft and I worry that if you force cyclists up in to the skies out of the way that risk could actually increase.

On a very vaguely related note, do you have any experience of cycling to or round the ferry port at Birkenhead?

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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It'll never happen in my opinion, the only chance that it could is if it's the cheapest option by a significant amount. The Mayor has recently scrapped bus lanes which gives you an indication of where his priorities lie.

As a cycle route it'd be pointless. Getting to the entrance to the flyover by the main road into town is an absolute nightmare, if this did go ahead it'd allow the council to claim that they've done something for cycling when all they'll have done is close a half mile flyover and stick a few hanging baskets up.

In terms of cycling infastructure, Liverpool is a total none starter in my opinion. There are plenty of bike racks dotted around the city centre but I can't think of one route into the city that isn't hair raising at best.

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Leodis [422 posts] 3 years ago
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What a joke, Liverpool stop bus lanes and now they want a pootlers paradise.

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dp24 [203 posts] 3 years ago
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Cranky Acid wrote:

Why do you say it will be no good for transport cycling? Sounds like an excellent commute route to me although the infrastructure at the beginning and end of the route would be crucial to it's success.

Because if they foresee something that is going to be similar to NYC's High Line, the layout and the number of pedestrians will make it nigh on useless for cycling if you actually want to get somewhere.

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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Leodis wrote:

What a joke, Liverpool stop bus lanes and now they want a pootlers paradise.

Is it becoming clear yet?