Pioneering CYCLOPS junction to open in September
A pioneering junction improvement scheme to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in a bid to encourage more people to choose active travel is set for completion this September.
Article date: 15 August 2023
In November last year, work started in Lea Green, St Helens, to install the Liverpool City Region's first Cycle Optimised Protected Signals (CYCLOPS) junction - an award-winning design layout being implemented in more and more cities and towns across the country - which prioritises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by segregating them from motorists, reducing risk of collision and improving journey times for all road users.
Replacing the roundabout by the Bull & Dog pub on Marshalls Cross Road, the CYCLOPS forms an integral part of the £15m St Helens Southern Gateway scheme, a partnership between St Helens Borough Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Northern Rail to help make sustainable travel an easier choice for commuters who use Lea Green Railway Station, one of the borough's busiest stations.
In a prime location, the CYCLOPS is close to several primary and secondary schools and sits next to Lea Green Railway Station, which is undergoing a major refurbishment, as well as a number of cycle routes to encourage residents and visitors to consider more active forms of transport for shorter journeys to help achieve net zero carbon targets by 2040.
As part of public engagement relating to the scheme, the council has held information drop-in events to inform local residents on the CYCLOPS, with the road safety team going into nearby schools to teach children and young people how to operate the new facility. Meanwhile, project contractor, St Helens-based Huyton Asphalt, has delivered on a number of social value initiatives, including job opportunities and donating to worthy causes such as St Helens Borough Council's Christmas toy appeal.
The council acknowledge that delivery of the CYCLOPS project has required extensive temporary traffic management arrangements (including road closures) to safely construct the scheme, which has caused some unavoidable impacts, and it wishes to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the construction period, apologising for any disruption and inconvenience. The local community will soon be able to benefit from the lasting benefits of the CYCLOPS project.
How does it work?
The outer 'ring' of the junction is a cycle path, acting like a roundabout with signal-controlled crossings. This will allow those who cycle to cross over the junction or make right turns unrestricted by cars or foot traffic, creating a safe route to travel.
The inner 'ring' of the junction is dedicated to pedestrians, with those walking and cycling getting the same green light signal in all directions at the same time, but on a separate ring of paths in the middle of the junction.
There are well-defined zebra crossings on each side of the junction to provide a safe place to cross the cycle lane for pedestrians.
All motorised traffic stops at the lights whilst cyclists and pedestrians have their green light signal.
Once pedestrians and cyclists have passed, motorised traffic will get the green light signal to continue driving and use the junction like normal.
Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, said: "It's great to see works nearing completion on the Liverpool City Region's first CYCLOPS junction here in our borough - a fine piece of engineering that is a symbol of our commitment to active travel and road safety. We understand the frustrations of road closures during the duration of works but the long-term benefits certainly outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
"For many, the thought of crossing a road at a busy junction in front of vehicles that have the potential to reach high speeds in a matter of seconds can be a daunting experience. But with the CYCLOPS, it completely segregates pedestrians and cyclists from motorists, with those on foot even able to get to where they need to be in just a few steps, meaning motorists don't need to sit in traffic for as long, so a win all around. The project is key to the redevelopment of Lea Green station to encourage people to travel to the station either by foot or to cycle. It also links to the wider network of cycle routes in that area, which go into St Helens town centre, or eventually out to Whiston.
"As a highway authority, we are responsible for 484 miles of road and a further 553 miles of footways which I am determined to keep in the best possible condition whether you drive, cycle or walk - not just for today, but for the future.
"Our vision is to be a leading highway authority, creating a well-connected, accessible transport network that supports economic growth and the innovative St Helens Southern Gateway scheme is a key example of that commitment, helping us with our decarbonisation commitments and supports our recently adopted road safety strategy to ensure our highway network is safe and accessible for all."
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
"Walking and cycling are an integral part of my vision for a London-style transport system. As Mayor, I'm investing almost £70m in active travel across the region to help give people a proper alternative to the car. This CYCLOPS junction, the first of its kind in the region, will make it safer and quicker for people to get about.
"For far too long, too many people in our region have been forced to contend with a fragmented, under-funded public transport system that simply doesn't work for them. Thanks to devolution, we're working to change that by putting the 'public' back into public transport.
"Our residents deserve a faster, cheaper, greener, and more reliable transport network that not only works for them, but for our planet too.
"I want to make it easier than ever for our residents to get from A to B by building better connected, greener routes, that offer a genuine alternative to the car. I want to start an active travel revolution, making it easier than ever for people to choose cleaner ways to get about.
"Because if we are serious about playing our part in tackling the climate crisis, then we have to do all that we can to reach our target to be net zero by 2040 at the latest - and we can only get there by encouraging more people to leave their car at home for shorter journeys."
Weather permitting, the CYCLOPS junction will be fully open to traffic on Monday 4 September, with work on Lea Green Railway Station expected to finish this autumn.
For more information, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/CYCLOPS