Prior to the implementation of the Connectivity Scheme, the environment on the Strand was of a very poor quality, often prone to flooding and traffic congestion. It was a key busy arterial vehicle route, that severed the link between the City Centre Retail and office district from the iconic waterfront. Traffic noise, air pollution and vehicle dominance, coupled with narrow pavements, wide roads and lack of trees and amenities had all conspired against the use of the space by cyclists and pedestrians. The key challenge was to develop viable environmental design solutions whilst still maintaining traffic flow around the City.
This environmentally conscious regeneration scheme exemplifies the very best in green-infrastructure design; providing a new sustainable urban drainage system (with on-going data analysis for storm waterflow, water filtration and air quality), keeping us connected via safer walkways, creating new pedestrian squares (replacing complex traffic junctions) and segregated cycle lanes and planting over 150 new trees.
The project contributes to the mitigation of climate change risks, increases the resilience to climate change effects, improves health and well-being and improves air quality and biodiversity. Permeable, paving and traffic drainage being directed into these living systems helps to reduce the need for irrigation, to reduce surface water run-off and alleviate flooding in the area.
The trees and SuDS system are being monitored by The University of Liverpool through the Urban GreenUP project to track their impact on pollution reduction, urban cooling and flood prevention and this data is being shared with other agencies world-wide to promote the positive benefits of urban trees and SuDS systems.
Key benefits include the encouragement of Active Travel through the provision of 1.3km of signal controlled segregated cycle lanes, a much-improved pedestrian environment, better links to adjacent modal connections such as James Street station and the Mersey Ferries through 14 enhanced pedestrian crossings, 1.7km of widened footpaths and 5 upgraded signal junctions, which all help to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.
The massive change towards a safer more conducive active travel environment has seen a huge increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists using the Strand.
The three key groups who have benefited are office workers and city centre residents, who now use the spaces and routes for recreation; tourists, who can now promenade through this area looking at the artworks and appreciating the iconic architecture in a much-improved setting; and finally the city as whole, which now has a major new civic space for use for events, pop-up markets and cultural artwork installations.
The benefits were acknowledged by none other than Sir Chris Boardman, who following his appointment as head of Active Travel England, chose to use The Strand as the setting for his promotional video launching the National ‘Gear Up’ campaign. He recognised the exemplar qualities of what has been achieved here and the possibility for rolling this out across the UK.
Taking space from vehicle use and giving it back to pedestrians and cyclists has led to significant environmental benefits for the world famous waterfront.
Cleaner air, responsibly managed surface water run-off, Active Travel improvements, and seasonally changing native planting which encourages wildlife all combine to transform this part of the city centre from an area where people were unlikely to venture and tourists never did, to an attractive, lively part of the city which does justice to the setting of one of the worlds most famous waterfronts.
BCA Landscape were appointed by Amey Consulting and LCC to work as their public realm designer for the Liverpool City Connectivity Scheme. Through extensive research and stakeholder engagement the design team and client have delivered a project that has revolutionised the way in which people travel in and around Liverpool City Centre, offering real modal choice and helping to improve safety, health and wellbeing.
The Strand is a key element in this plan and a flagship project for the city to create a world-class setting for some of its most iconic architecture. A key aim has been to draw visitors to the waterfront, to provide public space for celebration and events and to do this in a way which is sustainable with huge environmental benefits. The project was realised through a collaboration between Liverpool City Council, Amey Consulting, BCA Landscape, Mersey Forest, Urban GreenUP, Liverpool University and Graham Construction.
Engineer – Amey Consulting
Client – Liverpool City Council
Location: L2 0XJ, Liverpool UK
Design year: 2019
Year Completed: 2021-22