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Bike-friendly "promenade in the sky" proposed for Liverpool flyover

Campaigners argue against demolishing flyovers - and suggest using them for public park

Campaigners are fighting to save a pair of flyovers in the centre of Liverpool – and replace them with a “promenade in the sky” similar to ones in New York City and Paris – although unlike those, cycling would be allowed.

Liverpool’s 2012 Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) proposes spending £4 million to tear down the Churchill Way flyovers, which run past the Central Library and World Museum close to Lime Street station.

Mark Bennett of Michael Cunningham Architects has teamed up with the design agency studioF, whose Kate Stewart also set up retail business made-here have teamed up for plans to transform the flyovers into a pedestrian and cycle-friendly public space.

According to the conceptual project’s page on the studioF website:

With the addition of planting, kiosks, cafes, lighting and power infrastructure, this route of hustle, bustle and speed is transformed into a thriving oasis and green lung in the centre of the city, an iconic attraction for residents and visitors.

As visitors meander along the park, they will come across cafes, raised beds with planting and allotments tended by the local community including residents and education establishments, independent retail kiosks and market stalls. Pedestrian routes, coupled with trim-trail equipment, offer a welcome space for residents and city workers to run and keep fit.

Just imagine yourself in this elevated park, having visited a farmers’ market, accessing the wifi cloud and being served with freshly-made coffee and toast, with a generous serving of honey produced by bees from hives within the park! All of this would come with a wonderful vista across the city!

The proposals also include a 'theatre in the round' and the firm adds: “The Flyover has the potential to become a thriving promenade and meeting space within an important part of the city centre which is central to the vision.”

Elevated transport infrastructure no longer used for its original purpose has already been transformed into public space in cities including New York and Paris.

The High Line on the west side of Manhattan is a former elevated railway line that has been converted into a public park, with the first section opening in 2009.

It was itself inspired by the Promenade Plantée in Paris, which runs east from near Place de la Bastille and is located on a disused railway viaduct, with arts and crafts shops and studios occupying the arches beneath.

Bicycles are banned from both The High Line and the Promenade Plantée, though each has cycle parking as well as docking stations for their cities’ respective cycle share schemes nearby.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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