Civic Saturday at Metal, 25th March 2017

Discussions took place around the theme of transport within the Liverpool City Region. The morning session consisted of a stream of questions, thoughts and reactions to five themes:

[1] High-Speed Rail
[2] Merseyrail and Merseytravel
[3] Cycling
[4] Walking
[5] Heritage, with special reference to the Edge Hill site.

Lego for model-making, courtesy of the Liverpool Architectural Society, was available in the entrance area and our host, Matt Harris, gave a lunchtime tour of Metal. The afternoon session then turned attention to our own ‘future actions’.

The choice of venue, ‘Metal’ at Edge Hill Station, underlined the importance of the historic site, both as a potential heritage attraction and also the key to linking the Merseyrail underground network with the suburban lines to the East. A full proposal for the area could tackle both questions and support local communities.

Much discussion focussed on the relationship between different users of streets and public space – walkers, cyclists, car drivers, buses – and questions of access for all, including wheel-chair users, the young, the elderly and those suffering from dementia. In streets, the priority should be pedestrians rather than through traffic. Public transport should enable everyone to move around the city freely.

Merseytravel representatives described their strategies for the future, for rail, ferries, buses, bridges and tunnels. Whilst Merseyrail provides a decent service at the moment, there were discussions about future ambitions, for extra stations, extended lines, later evening services, and links to the airport and North Wales.

High-Speed rail was discussed. There are doubts whether it will reach Liverpool, but some agreement that better connections between Northern cities should be a higher priority than a faster link to London.

Transport will be a big issue for the incoming Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

Merseyside Civic Society will be seeking further engagement with Merseytravel, with the emphasis on participation, rather than just consultation. The main issues will be making public transport more attractive, improving the way space is shared within our streets, and bringing forward a long-term plan for Edge Hill.