The redevelopment of Castle Street in the centre of the city was completed about a year ago, let’s see what our £3million got us.
Castle Street is a very nice street that links the commercial and retail areas of town, it is home to many listed buildings and the Town Hall is situated at one end and the Courts of Law at the other.
Here is how it looked beforehand looking south from the Town Hall balcony.
As you can see for a road that is a single carriageway with a nominal one lane in each direction it is very wide but it still had broad pavements. Each lane can easily fit cars three abreast. The plan was to turn the near end of the street as we look at it into a one way road heading away from us, roughly to where we can see someone crossing in the far distance. From then on it is two way with the cars coming towards us forced to turn off to our left down Cook St.
The approach to Castle St is from Dale St, you can see the pavement on the left has been widened, Dale St is two lanes wide and one way, a bit of a race track. Castle St goes off to the left in this photo, I was left hooked by a cab here a few weeks ago. you can already see here how a protected cycle lane from the parking bay in front of Spar and turning left into Castle Street would remove all conflict for left turning cyclists and cars.
As we move towards Castle St we see the pavements are now much wider with nice benches to rest on.
The single lane one way road is much narrower…
This includes bicycles as the one way part of Castle St does not have contraflow cycle lane and the 8m wide pavements are not shared space. Cook St is a bus interchange, with three very busy bus stops one immediately after the other, it then leads directly on to Victoria St, one of the busiest roads in the centre of town. A cyclist’s only legal route is on the road mixing it with all the buses and cars racing along the three lane wide one way system.
A better view of that pavement, 8 whole meters wide. You can see the bicycle infrastructure here, three cycle racks, there’s another six on the other side of the street.
Liverpool City Council have done it again, another £3m on top of the £65m I previously wrote about of council money spent on transport infrastructure with no thought given to cyclists at all, designed and implemented under a Labour government and a Lib Dem council.
The pavements are beautiful, but unnecessarily large
- A segregated cycle lane could have fitted on either side of the road and still allowed the pavements to have been widened
- The road could have been narrower still, it only needs to be a few inches wider than a bus, discouraging speeding such as the taxi in the photo above.
- The one way system forces cyclists into areas of significant conflict with buses moving in and out of bus stops and then a faster moving one way system.
When the Liverpool Echo reported on it in 2010 Councillor Malcolm Kennedy cabinet member for regeneration said “We are delighted that this vital scheme is going ahead.” and Nick Kavanagh, director of regeneration said “It will balance the needs of motorists, pedestrians and public transport.”
Such a shame nobody thought of cyclists, now we’ll have to wait 40 years until the next regeneration before someone might think about fixing it.