Apr 27, 2020,
Leicester has installed a 500-meter pop-up cycleway close to the city’s NHS hospital. Marked out with traffic cones, the cycleway has been put in place to help key workers cycling to and from Leicester Royal Infirmary during the coronavirus lockdown.
Leicester—famous for links to King Richard III; he was found underneath a council-owned car park—has now joined Berlin, Brussels, and Paris and other European cities that have installed pop-up cycleways in recent weeks. Other cities around the world that have been reallocating road space from motorists to cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic include Bogota, New York City, and Oakland, California.
“Currently it’s quite a short stretch, but we’re looking at taking it to one kilometer linking existing infra and using this pop-up road and segregated footway,” Leicester’s deputy city mayor Adam Clarke told me by email.
“Using part of Aylestone Road as a temporary cycle track is only possible due to the huge drop in traffic across the city since the lockdown came into effect,” said a statement from Leicester City Council.
The statement added that Leicester had seen an increase in cycling since the lockdown began and reduction in the use of public transit. The city wants to create a network of cycleways to “enable those who have used the temporary lanes to continue cycling or walking once the lockdown ends.”
As well as green-lighting the pop-up cycleway, the city council has also increased timings at traffic lights on busy roads to give greater priority to pedestrians and cyclists.
“We are seeing more people cycling to get to work in key roles at the moment, including our social care staff, the staff at our hospitals, delivery workers, and volunteers,” said Cllr Clarke, who is responsible for environment and transportation in the Midlands city.
“We want to do all we can to enable key workers to get to where we all need them to be.
“Given the huge reduction in traffic on the roads, the opportunity is there for us to create this route connecting the southern part of the city to Leicester Royal Infirmary.”
He added: “We’re actively looking at extending this to other routes and potential connections to other existing or planned cycle routes.”