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Pop-up cycle lanes: what’s happening near you?

Government has instructed local authorities to swiftly provide more space for cyclists

New government guidance for local authorities demands that more space be provided for walking and cycling in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Pop-up cycle lanes have therefore become a very zeitgeisty thing.

Writing in the foreword to the guidance, dated May 9, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says: “The government … expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.

“Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.

“I’m pleased to see that many authorities have already begun to do this, and I urge you all to consider how you can begin to make use of the tools in this guidance, to make sure you do what is necessary to ensure transport networks support recovery from the COVID-19 emergency and provide a lasting legacy of greener, safer transport.”

Pop-up cycle lanes

The guidance states that improvements for cyclists should be made, “as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect.”

Top of the list is the installation of ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes. The government recommends, “Installing ‘pop-up’ cycle facilities with a minimum level of physical separation from volume traffic; for example, mandatory cycle lanes, using light segregation features such as flexible plastic wands; or quickly converting traffic lanes into temporary cycle lanes (suspending parking bays where necessary); widening existing cycle lanes to enable cyclists to maintain distancing.

“Facilities should be segregated as far as possible, i.e. with physical measures separating cyclists and other traffic. Lanes indicated by road markings only are very unlikely to be sufficient to deliver the level of change needed, especially in the longer term.”

So what’s happening where?


Birmingham City Council has launched an Emergency Transport Plan that prioritises and accelerates some of the measures outlined in the draft Birmingham Transport Plan consulted on earlier in the year.

The Birmingham Mail reports that the first stretch of road to be reallocated for cycling will link the city centre to City Hospital via the Jewellery Quarter.


Brighton and Hove Council have announced that a 1.7 mile long temporary cycle route is to be installed along the A270 Old Shoreham Road; described as "significant because you'd only want to use that road on a bike if you're in a hurry" according to contributor Jo Burt.


Major roads in the city centre are to be closed to motorists.


Cambridgeshire City Council has announced its plans for Cambridge itself and the wider region, comprising "three waves of improvement":

Shelford Road to the Waitrose junction - removal of bus lane and widening of cycle lanes
Chesterton Road – removal of centre line and addition of a cycle lane
Milton High Street – removal of centre line and addition of a cycle lane
Girton Road – removal of centre line and addition of a cycle lane
Kings Hedges Road – removal of a centre line and addition of a cycle lane.

By early June

Trumpington Road – on carriageway cycle lane and removal of bus lane and parking
Trumpington Street to Kings Parade – potential on carriageway cycle lane.

By mid June

One-way system in place on Mill Road.

Local cycling campaign group Camcycle has broadly welcomed the announcement although it has strong reservations about the one-way system proposed for Mill Road.


A pop-up bike lane by the River Clyde is now up and running.


A pop-up bike lane has been built on the A65.


The city has created a "key worker corridor" for people cycling to work at Leicester Royal Infirmary.


Liverpool City Region has announced a near-doubling of its planned investment in cycling and walking routes from £16m to £30.7m. The money will be spent on projects including upgrading or installing cycle lanes and footpaths across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

Measures it is looking to introduce “as quickly as possible” under its Rethink Travel initiative include “Pop-up cycle lanes, expanded footpaths in key locations to support social distancing and the installation of new secure bike storage at key locations like hospitals, work places and around rail and bus stations.”

The first part of the West Derby Road pop-up cycle lane has opened today and comments are being invited on other projects.


The City of London is planning to ban cars on some of the busiest roads in the Square Mile because they’re otherwise too narrow to maintain safe social distancing.

Construction of a pop-up cycle is also underway on Park Lane.

In Hackney, Ashenden Road in Homerton, Gore Road by Victoria Park and Ufton Road in De Beauvoir will all be closed to motor vehicle through-traffic.

Parking is to be removed outside Kew Gardens to create a protected cycle lane. More here.


Up to £5m of emergency funding is available for Greater Manchester’s local authorities to implement measures.

Part of Deansgate has been closed to motor traffic.

One of the three lanes of the A56 through Stretford is to be repurposed for walking and cycling with proposals to extend it all the way to Altrincham. If approved, it should be in place by June 15.


Forbes reports that parking spaces on Grey Street are to be removed, making room for a cycleway and more space for pedestrians.

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