Leicester city council replaced a subway beneath the junction of Granby Street and Waterloo Way with a new surface level wide-crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. We also narrowed the ring road carriageways from 8 to 4 lanes to include cycle lanes, and narrowed Granby Street to provide contraflow cycling and traffic calming.
Why we did it
Granby Street is the key retail and cultural centre of the city. The approach to it from the London Road station was via an underpass, which did not allow cycling, under a 4 lane inner city ring road.
We commissioned a city-wide master plan that identified the need for a new business quarter next to London Road station. The plan recognised that better links across the ring road would:
create a good first impression for visitors to the city
reduce car based travel to the station
improve access for cyclists, pedestrians and people with impaired mobility
Network Rail had estimated a 9-fold increase in cycling demand and a 40% growth in passenger numbers associated with the station - a clear signal that improving access to the station for non-motorised users should be a priority.
How we did it
The scheme involved filling in the existing underpass and constructing a new pavement and a pedestrianised area at the top of Granby Street.
One of the city’s consultants led a consultation, liaising with a number of city council stakeholders including the disabled persons access officer and a representative from the Leicester Disabled People’s Access Group, as well as the Leicester city centre director and the city council cycling officer.
There was general agreement amongst stakeholders and consultees that we needed to address the poor connectivity between the station and Granby Street. Consultations also included a range of stakeholder groups.
We used in-house contractors to manage the scheme. An advantage of this approach was that staff were able to draw on local knowledge. Their experience of working on projects in other parts of the city helped to facilitate delivery and the in-house contractors had good existing contacts with local businesses.
What we learned
Monitoring at this location showed that between 2009 and 2012 cycle use increased by 89%.
Having a clear rationale for the scheme helped it gain acceptance amongst stakeholders and consultees.
The scheme was constructed within a framework of wider aims and aspirations for the city, building upon existing investment in public space and highway improvements across the city to date.
These improvements to the southern section of Granby Street were a key factor in improving the link to the railway station and the experience of visitors to Leicester for leisure and business trips alike.
The scheme’s delivery was helped by firm political buy-in from the council, who developed in-house skills, resulting in cost savings.