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WORK has started on £970,000 improvements to a busy Leicester road, as part of an initiative designed to encourage more people to make the shift to walking and cycling.

Work is now underway on to revamp footpaths and create a new off-road cycle path on both sides of Saffron Lane, between Hawkins Road and the new junction with Putney Road. This will require some temporary lane restrictions and footpath closures. Work is expected to take about four months to complete.

A new three-metre-wide cycle lane which will run across Aylestone Recreation Ground, alongside the existing tree-lined footpath through the park, is also being created as part of the scheme.

The £970,000 project will be funded through the government’s ‘Transforming Cities Fund, following Leicestershire City Council’s successful bids for £40million to help fund improvements to local public transport and support more cycling and walking routes into city neighbourhoods and the city centre.

“This major improvement scheme represents an important expansion of the city’s growing network of safe and attractive routes for cyclists and pedestrians,” said deputy councillor Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation.

“The work on Saffron Lane will help us to further extend the multi-million-pound investment we have made in and around the city centre out into the Leicester’s busy neighbourhoods.

“It is vital that we continue to provide healthier, greener streets to accommodate future growth of the city and its economy, all of which supports our commitments to address the climate emergency and to reduce air pollution. We need to be radical and ambitious to meet these challenges,” he added.

The scheme will be complemented by the introduction of Santander Cycles ebike docking facilities, due to be introduced in the area later this year.

The Transforming Cities Fund is a major £80million citywide programme of investment in sustainable transport, backed by £40million of government cash from the Department for Transport. The ambitious package of works will focus on major sustainable transport improvements to provide attractive choices for people to get to work, education, shops and other local facilities to help support the city’s growth and deliver on the council’s climate emergency, air quality and health living commitments.

The programme includes the development of new bus priority corridors linking the city centre to local neighbourhoods and suburbs along with the continued development of a network of high-quality cycling and walking routes throughout the city, building on the success of the Connecting Leicester programme.

It has also seen the introduction of electric buses onto the Park and Ride service and a new citywide electric bike hire scheme in partnership with Santander.

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