06.02.2020 Manchester’s new world-class cycling and walking network, could revolutionise travel across Greater Manchester and have a national blueprint

06.02.2020 Manchester’s new world-class cycling and walking network, could revolutionise travel across Greater Manchester and have a national blueprint for reducing congestion and air pollution and improving health

In November 2018 a proposal for one of the country’s most ambitious cycling and walking routes have been unveiled by Manchester City Council.

The new five kilometre route will benefit local residents and anyone wishing to cycle between the Manchester city centre and thriving Chorlton area.

A joined-up cycling and walking network in Greater Manchester could provide a national plan for reducing air pollution  and congestion and improving peoples’ health.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Chris Boardman, the region’s cycling and walking commissioner, are calling on the government to back plans for an 1,800-mile network of protected routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

They are claiming that the Bee Network initiative, creation across Greater Manchester of the UK’s largest cycling and walking network, would result in 2.5 million daily trips on foot or by bike, cutting some commuting times by 50%  and saving the NHS £6.73bn by improving people’s health.

According to the new report, Change a region to change a nation, the proposed Bee Network will lead to a 350% increase in daily cycling trips over the next 10 years, from 100,000 to 450,000, up to 130,000 fewer daily private car and taxi trips, and a 30% increase in daily walking trips, from 1.48m to 2.05m.

The report , commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the mayor, sets out plans for 17 “filtered neighbourhoods” – modelled on communities in the Netherlands, they are neighbourhoods where the movement of people is prioritised over motor vehicles.

Typically filtered neighbourhoods are achieved by creating cul-de-sac-style access for cars, but allowing through traffic for people walking and cycling, creating spaces to play and socialise, and enabling the creation of more green spaces.

So far, proposals for seven areas have been revealed.

They are in:

Romiley – Stockport.

The four Heatons – Stockport.

Levenshulme – Manchester.

Urmston – Trafford.

Hill Street, Ross Lave Lane, Raynor Lane, Clarendon Road, Stamford Drive – Tameside.

Ordsall – Salford.

Fishpool – Bury.

Alongside infrastructure plans, the report also outlines the changes in legislation needed to ensure that the investment provides value for money.

The £1.5 billion Bee Network proposal includes miles of segregated and interlinked cycle lanes and walking routes with the first scheme, the renovation of a stretch of the Bridgwater Canal in Astley, Wigan – previously known as the ‘muddy mile’ – opening in July last year.

“Combined, these measures will allow children to walk or ride to school safely, giving people the option to leave the car at home,” the report says.

Civic leaders will present the report to Westminster next month and call for ‘sustained funding’ for the scheme over 10 years, saying Greater Manchester’s approach would provide a national blueprint to reduce congestion, fight air pollution and promote healthy lifestyles.