Work has begun to add a new permanent bike lane to Leicester's Welford Road. The £1.7m project comes following a 16-week lane closure trial earlier this year to test the effect on traffic movement.
City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said the trial was a success, with traffic only adversely affected at junctions with Welford Road. The Leicester Mercury reports that a permanent two-way bike lane and wider pavements will now be installed in place of the existing bus lane.
Work is due to begin on Monday, January 11, and is expected to take around five months. While there will be lane closures, they will be lifted for afternoon rush hour to minimise disruption.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition against the new cycle lane, arguing it would increase traffic congestion. However, Soulsby said the trial persuaded him to press on and he emphasised that the new lane would fill ‘an obvious gap’ in the city centre’s cycling network.
"By reallocating road space in this way, we can create a safe route for the growing number of people who choose to travel by bike, and make this area much more attractive for pedestrians.
"The improvements to Welford Road will extend the work we have already completed in the city centre and provide a more connected network of safe, attractive routes linking our heritage and cultural attractions, city centre shopping and sports stadiums.
"We want cycling to become a normal, everyday way of getting about in the city centre and providing more safe routes is absolutely vital to helping achieve that goal."