One of Liverpool’s busiest roads will be closed to cars next week as the city celebrates World Car Free Day.
The Strand, which runs along the city’s historic waterfront, is set to be transformed into a stage for a fun filled programme of free healthy activities on Thursday, 22 September, from keep fit classes to “a bungee run” and live entertainment to giveaways.
Closed between 10am and 4pm in both directions, from Chapel Street to James Street – outside the Three Graces – the major highway will also host free live music from several LIMF Academy artists.
The closure, which comes in the week a £2 cap is placed on all bus journeys by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, is part of a wider active travel campaign by Liverpool City Council to encourage motorists to think twice about using their car for journeys.
This campaign is a long-term bid to improve the city’s air quality and develop healthier lifestyles in its citizens by investing in infrastructure to encourage more walking and cycling. As part of this programme, the council is currently consulting on upgrading three cycle lanes in the city with plans on a further four routes to be announced later this year. It is also piloting a number of “school streets” to improve the school run.
The local authority has also just completed a £22m upgrade to The Strand, which handles more than 1,000 vehicles per hour on a usual working day. This included widening pavements, installing 100 new trees and creating a purpose-built segregated two-way cycle lane as part of a bid to improve the environment and safety along the busy thoroughfare.
The scheme, which recently won a design award from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation(CIHT), has allowed the council to reclaim more than an acre of land for pedestrians and cyclist to enjoy and use.
On Word Car Free Day, people can enjoy a wide range of free activities on this famous stretch of The Strand between 11am and 3pm, including:
• Live 30-minute fitness class by JD Gyms
• Live 30-minute fitness class from Lifestyles
• Smoothie Bikes – make your own smoothie by pedalling fast!
• Col8 bikes to ride around The Strand
• Inflatable obstacle courses
• Free freshly backed healthy snacks from Squash Nutrition
• Free coffee from a local coffee supplier
• PLUS the chance to have your bike serviced and checked.
There will also be a host of companies on site offering information and support including World Gymnastics and Asthma UK with the city council providing information about its leisure services and recycling operations.
A series of diversions will be in place on the day from 9am redirecting vehicles away from The Strand via Leeds Street and Grove Street. The closed stretch of The Strand is expected to reopen by 5pm.
Note 1: Access will be maintained to the blue badge bays on Brunswick Street / Mann Island throughout the day.
Note 2: The One Stop Shop in the Cunard Building is closed on a Thursday.
Cllr Dan Barrington, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Climate Change, said: “World Car Free Day is an opportunity for everyone to try a different way of getting from a to b that is better for them and the planet.
“The Strand has just undergone a dramatic transformation to give pedestrians and cyclists a more enjoyable and safer experience, so it’s the perfect place to celebrate World Car Free Day.
“I’m delighted that we have such a fantastic variety of activities to showcase what a great space The Strand has become for people to enjoy and I’d like to thank everyone who has worked on the programme.
“I know this closure will cause some inconvenience but when it comes to the environment we have to accept that the car is causing a huge amount of damage – to our lungs and as an accelerator to climate change.
“As a society we need to rely less and less on the car and move towards a more balanced active travel approach – with a greater use of public transport too. The benefits are there for all to see – healthier bodies, healthier minds and a healthier planet.
“I hope as many people as possible can find time to come down to The Strand on World Car Free Day next Thursday to see for themselves how little changes, which we can all make, can have a big impact on each other and our city.”
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner said: “Car Free Day is the day to begin to reimagine our city. Liverpool City Council are sending the right message with the Strand closure.
“This will allow everyone in the city centre to think about what the city will look like in the future. Urban spaces for people.
“Congestion doesn’t need to be any worse because of the closure if everyone decides to leave the car at home for one day and try a new way of commuting. Read a book or play an App on the bus. Watch the World go by on the train or get the bike out and enjoy some exercise riding through the cities amazing parks.
“Then get down to the Strand at lunch time and enjoy the activities or simply wander around enjoying the cities fabulous architecture in the quiet clean air and ponder “what if..?”