St Helens Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan

Overview

City Science has developed a Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for St Helens Council to cover the whole borough, building on the wider LCWIP developed by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Walking and cycling network improvements were identified across the borough, with walking improvements focussed on three core walking zones of St Helens Town Centre, Earlestown Town Centre & Haydock Industrial Park.

/st-helens/st-helens-council-crest.png

Scope

We were appointed by St Helens Borough Council to build on the LCWIP developed by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in 2019, to provide a more localised network of walking and cycling enhancements within the borough. Our LCWIP, which was produced in accordance with the recommended six stage process identified in Department for Transport guidance, covered the entire local authority area with a focus on the core walking zones of St Helens and Earlestown town centres as well as Haydock Industrial Park.

City Science Response

We closely followed the six-stage process of an LCWIP. In addition to Stage 1 (scoping) our approach included:

Ongoing Stakeholder Engagement: We developed a Stakeholder Engagement Plan which outlined our approach to stakeholder engagement throughout the project, this comprised of:

  • Inception - Internal workshop with St Helens Council officers to confirm the scope of the project
  • Evidence Base - Opportunities & Constraints survey to stakeholders to gain a local perspective on the walking and cycling enviorment in St Helens
  • Network Planning for Walking & Cycling - Network planning workshop with key stakeholders to allow feedback on the key routes, focus group with members of the public and a members briefing workshop for newly elected members following the local election
  • Prioritising Infrastructure Improvements - Scheme development & prioritisation workshop with key stakeholders to gain buy in for the prioritisation process
  • Public consultation - Consultation events and survey on the Draft LCWIP document (see more below)

These events took place virtually via Microsoft Teams and made use of online platforms such as Mentimeter and Miroboard to allow efficient collation of stakeholder views.

Stage 2 - Evidence Base:

We produced a robust and holistic evidence base incorporating local, regional and national policy as well as key data covering the current active travel network and wider environmental and socio-economic context. We supplemented conventional datasets (e.g. Propensity to Cycle) with a consideration of innovative data, such as data from Strava Metro. Using the outcomes of the process, we developed four outcome led objectives aligned with St Helens Borough Council policy.

Stage 3 – Network Planning for Cycling: We developed desire lines across St Helens using origin and destination data as well as future land-use projections. These desire lines were classified as per the LCWIP guidance into Primary, Secondary and Local desire lines. From this, each of the Primary desire lines was subject to a Route Audit where they were scored against the Cycling Level of Service tool. These were then combined with the routes drawn up for the Secondary desire lines and the regional routes developed as part of the Liverpool LCWIP to provide a cohesive network of cycling infrastructure across the borough.

Stage 4 – Network Planning for Walking: We identified priorities for upgrading walking infrastructure within the identified Core Walking Zones of St Helens Town Centre, Earlestown Town Centre and Haydock Industrial Park through consideration of the following:

  • Accessibility analysis
  • Barrier and funnel route analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Site visit findings

Stage 5 – Prioritising Cycle Improvements: We developed an appraisal method to prioritise identified future cycle route delivery formed of an effectiveness & needs-based module alongside a deliverability module (including approximate scheme cost scale). Our appraisal approach followed an innovative and automated process and was underpinned by 21 bespoke metrics to provide an objective, robust and evidence-led method.

Using the outcomes of this process, we developed delivery recommendations based on short (2023 – 2026), medium (2026 – 2029) and long (2029 +) timescales, these were then assigned to the schemes to create prioritised plans for the rollout of schemes across the borough.

Stage 6 – Integration & Application: We provided a series of recommendations to embed the outcomes of the LCWIP into wider St Helens policy, such as their emerging 'Ensuring a Choice of Travel' Supplementary Planning Document and any future travel plans.

Public Consultation We provided support duirng the public consultation on the Draft LCWIP report we produced. This took the form of:

  • Online survey
  • In-person roadshow event
  • Three online presentations to the public

The results of the public consultation are then summarised in a short report as well as key feedback being reflected into the final LCWIP report.

Outcomes

We produced a series of technical notes at the conclusion of each LCWIP stage to ensure that St Helens Borough Council were able to provide incremental feedback through the process. These technical notes were then summarised in an accessible LCWIP Report, which was put into the public domain for consultation. The full LCWIP for St Helens can be viewed here.


“St Helens Borough Council is very pleased to have appointed City Science for the development of our LCWIP. The team have expertly combined robust, data-led network planning with extensive stakeholder engagement to develop an ambitious yet practical plan for our borough. The team have been highly efficient and programme-led throughout the commission, with any changes or feedback clearly communicated with the client team, but have also employed creativity and initiative in developing a Plan which is ‘best fit’ for St Helens Borough rather than simply a replication of previous studies elsewhere.”
Jack Mayhew, Principal Transport Officer, St Helens Borough Council