Junior Road Safety Officers on hand to show Liverpool City Region Mayor around new CYCLOPS junction
As part of activities to mark Road Safety Week, Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram was given a tour of St Helens' new CYCLOPS junction by local primary school children on a recent visit to the area.
Article date: 20 November 2023
Located on Marshalls Cross Road, the CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) prioritises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by segregating them from motorists, with several safe controlled crossing points introduced around the junction - close to schools, houses, parks, businesses and Lea Green Railway Station - which were not previously in place when it was a roundabout.
Around 12-months on from his last visit to see the pioneering project - part of the wider £15m St Helens Southern Gateway scheme - get underway, Mayor Rotheram was shown around CYCLOPS by pupils from nearby Eaves Primary School who are involved in St Helens Borough Council's Junior Road Safety Officer initiative which allows Year 5 and 6 pupils to develop ideas on how to make their school a safer place.
Having visited the site themselves during the construction phase, led by St Helens-based firm Huyton Asphalt, pupils pointed out how the safe controlled pedestrian crossings allow them to walk to Chester Lane Library for trips now, rather than get a minibus - reducing emissions and increasing activity levels as a result.
How does CYCLOPS work?
- The outer green 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 red 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.
Commenting on his visit, Mayor Rotheram said:
"I've always been bold in my ambition to build a fully integrated London-style transport network in our region - one that makes it faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable to get around. Active travel is going to have a massive part to play in turning that vision into reality, because it's vital that we're incentivising more people to leave their cars at home to help us reduce pollution on our roads and improve the quality of air our children are breathing in. The only way we're going to achieve that is by providing people with a genuine alternative to the car.
"That's why we've invested nearly £70m into active travel infrastructure across the region, including this CYCLOPS junction, to make it easier and safer than ever for people to walk or cycle from A to B. I'm under no illusion about the scale of the challenge ahead of us to encourage residents to change the way they travel but it's my hope that by educating young people about the benefits of walking and cycling, we'll start to see long-term, positive behaviour changes in the next generation."
Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron MBE, Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, added: "CYCLOPS junctions are an award-winning design layout that are being built in more and more towns and cities across the country, with the Liverpool City Region's first being right here in St Helens.
"The purpose is to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety which is crucial in busy areas like Lea Green which had little infrastructure of the sort in place before - so I'm delighted to hear about the positive experiences pupils at Eaves Primary School have had in being able to make active trips to the library now that safe crossings are in place.
"The council takes road safety seriously and is proud to highlight annual campaigns like Road Safety Week. Earlier this year, cabinet approved a new five-year road safety strategy to help ensure that our highway network remains safe and accessible for all, with the ambitious overall aim to achieve 'Vision Zero' - meaning no avoidable collisions which result in fatalities or life-changing injuries on our roads by 2040."
Tony Carney, Project Director at Huyton Asphalt, said: "This has been a transformative project for St Helens in many ways. As a local company, we are incredibly pleased to deliver the CYCLOPS, a first for the City Region which aligns with our strategy for building sustainable community infrastructure assets.
"It was great fun engaging with the pupils at Eaves Primary School and giving them an insight into how the junction was constructed while facilitating their role as community stakeholders in a scheme they will use for many years."
CYCLOPS is one of a number of improvements being introduced around Lea Green Railway Station as part of St Helens Southern Gateway - funded by the Liverpool City Region's Transforming Cities Fund - with work underway on a new decked car park and ticket boking system to take Park & Ride capacity to around 450 vehicles; a new station building with waiting room, toilets and other customer facilities - along with seven new walking and cycling routes to connect Lea Green to nearby residential, leisure and employment areas.
Running from 19-25 November, Road Safety Week is national charity, Brake's, biggest road safety campaign, with the focus this year being on speed.
Visit www.brake.org.uk for more information.