Walking and cycling around our region is set to get easier as work begins on a six new “pop-up” cycle lanes and expanded footpaths.

The projects, covering each of the Liverpool City Region’s six boroughs, have been spurred by the rapid rise in walking and cycling over the coronavirus lockdown period.

Paid for by nearly £2 million in emergency funding from central government and due to be completed by the end of the summer, MetroMayor Steve Rotheram has said he hopes the new routes will encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Mr Rotheram said: “The coronavirus pandemic has seen lots of people getting back on their bikes and we’re doing all that we can to make it as safe and enjoyable for them as possible.

“Cycling is much better for your health, the planet and for your wallet than taking the car. These new pop-up lanes should make it much easier for people to get about and hopefully help encourage more people to ditch the car.”

The routes cover a total of 23km and have been described as “a significant step” towards Mr Rotheram’s long-term goal of building 600km of cycle lanes across the city region.

The projects due to start this week are:

There will also be more secure bike storage at cycling hubs across the city region.

The changes follow a surge in walking and cycling since March, which 60% of people said they would keep up even as lockdown measures lifted, according to a survey by the Liverpool Combined Authority.

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Prior to the lockdown, only 13% of people in the city region cycled at least once a week, with many would-be cyclists put off by safety concerns. It is those concerns that projects like segregated cycle lanes are designed to address.

Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner Simon O’Brien said: “It’s fantastic to see that work will be beginning on new pop-up bike lanes and foot paths. Infrastructure like this will help people in our city region to travel actively more safely and with confidence.

“It’s also an amazing opportunity to test out our vision for a 600km network of high-quality, permanent walking and cycling routes for the Liverpool City Region.

“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our city region, but we now have the opportunity to look at how we can change things for the better in the future – and rethinking the way we travel and taking more journeys by bike and on foot needs to be part of that.”