In an area of high unemployment and low levels of car ownership, Kirkby residents often struggled to travel on foot or by bike. Getting to the industrial estates and the train station was difficult and involved travelling on main roads. Constant heavy traffic at the Kirkby Row Island roundabout and the busy East Lancashire Road was intimidating and meant people commuting to work did so by car, making traffic at peak hours heavy and journey times long.
“ Cycling is starting to get popular in Kirkby, I see all types of people on bikes now. The cycle tracks make all the difference. It’s so good that Sustrans is extending them. I love the health benefits of cycling. If you go to work on your bike, it kick starts you for the day and puts you in a good frame of mind. It blows the cobwebs off first thing in the morning. ”
New shared-use pathways, upgraded crossing points and improvements to junctions were built. A trafficfree greenway through Millbrook Park now provides access into Millbrook and Kirkby CE Primary Schools and Kirkby Town Centre, with a new toucan crossing at Kirkby Row. A second greenway links Valley Road with Ribblers Lane to improve a previously little used public space. Links connecting the greenway with existing cycling and walking routes were put in place or refurbished. Six toucan crossings at the East Lancashire Road-Moorgate Road junction were installed, forming a key link into Knowsley Industrial Park.
The route is incredibly busy and has seen a large increase in the number of people using it to commute to school or work. Kirkby town centre is now reconnected it’s to urban greenspaces, the greenbelt and the surrounding countryside. This has given people the chance to access the relaxing green spaces and enjoy walking and cycling for leisure as well as providing an essential route for those without access to a car. New routes to Millbrook Primary and Kirkby C of E school have enabled many more pupils to walk and cycle to school. There has also been an increase in people commuting to work using the route.
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