Travelling around Kirkby on foot or by bike is easier than ever, thanks to a £500,000 investment in the town.
The Kirkby Valley Greenway project has created a network of pathways for bikes and pedestrians linking homes with local schools, employment centres and the town centre.
The improvements have been carried out by Knowsley Council using funding from sustainable transport charity Sustrans as part of a national Connect2 project. These improvements complement the council’s wider efforts, with partners, to regenerate Kirkby town centre which is set to benefit from more than £200 million investment in the coming years.
The new greenway provides a traffic-free route through Millbrook Park, providing new access into Millbrook and Kirkby CE primary schools and into Kirkby town centre with the provision of a toucan crossing at Kirkby Row.
The scheme makes use of off-road links along Valley Road to the disused greenway through to Ribblers Lane, and takes in quieter roads to complete the link. The final section of the scheme provides six toucan crossings at the East Lancashire Road-Moorgate Road junction, forming a key link into Knowsley Industrial Park.
Pivtured are Cllr Dave Lonergan officially opens the portrait bench along the new Kirkby greenway with Peter Foster from Sustrans.
The bench also shows a school pupil, highlighting the links into Kirkby CE and Millbrook Primary Schools and a male nurse to resemble the 150 years since the first nursing college opened in Liverpool. Kirkby has strong links with Aintree Hospital and Kirkby Health Centre.
The overall aim of the greenway is to allow local people to make everyday journeys without the need for a car, and to give easier access to schools and places of work for all.
Cllr Dave Lonergan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economy and Skills at Knowsley Council, said: “This new greenway through Kirkby is already being used by many local people and we expect even more to start using it on a regular basis in the coming weeks and months.
“Giving people the option to safely walk or cycle when travelling locally to school or work is a great incentive for people to be more active whilst reducing the number of car journeys they need to make, saving money, reducing emissions and helping ease congestion.
“In addition, the greenway is just a pleasant place to go for a walk, cycle or jog, so offers potential benefits for everybody living in the area.”
Sustrans’ Connect2 is a national project helping communities to overcome the barriers that prevent everyday journeys being made easily and safely without the need for a car. The project was awarded £50million from the Big Lottery Fund following a public vote in 2007, and is delivering new schemes in communities like Knowsley across the UK.
The Sustrans website - www.sustrans.org.uk - has a free online map service to discover how to get around everyday on foot or by bike. Search for local or national routes, plot journeys, or find what the local area has to offer from schools, supermarkets and local landmarks to car clubs, bus stops and bike shops.
PHOTO: Cllr Dave Lonergan officially opens the portrait bench along the new Kirkby greenway with Peter Foster from Sustrans.