Transport and Congestion again, and again, and again....

After a couple of sorties into the problems of congestion on Britain's inter-city railways it's back to congestion closer to home. Not just congestion on the roads either. Yesterday I took a train from Bolton to Manchester at around 10.20 am, and even at that time the train was full with people standing. I think we are still struggling to get over to people that at its heart, the Transport Innovation Fund proposals are not about congestion charging but about dealing with problems like this - getting more carriages on trains particularly at peak times, more buses serving more destinations more regularly, better buses, more trams serving more destinations able to carry twice as many people. Better train, tram, and bus stations. Real-time information. Double the amount of Park-and-Ride and integrated ticketing and timetabling supported by a Manchester smart card. We will need congestion charging to help us tackle congestion on our roads and to help pay for all these transport improvements but only when the improvements are in place.

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Only in Manchester

It's Sunday at 7.30am and I'm back in the ‘tent’, constructed for last year's first Manchester International Festival, currently parked in Cathedral Gardens outside Urbis, and this weekend the home for the Tony Wilson Experience.

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Inter-city blues

Earlier this week I had the joy of a train journey to Newcastle for a Northern Way Steering Group. Not sure I've mentioned Northern Way before and it's not central to this entry but for the record it is a pan-northern alliance aiming at boosting the economic performance of the North of England majoring on Investment, Innovation, and Transport.

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A turn of the wheel

I am looking forward to my second trip to Salford this week. Yesterday was Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company's Board meeting but I expect today to be more enjoyable, a working lunch (don't worry, you haven't slipped into Manchester Confidential by mistake) with John Merry, the leader of Salford Council. Later on, and I hope the weather holds, both of us will be slipping off to Old Trafford for the 20-20 international, but the working day did begin at 7.20am with another appearance on Radio Manchester, this time on the theme of courts, casinos and East Manchester. My cue to take us back into May.

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Buses, Trains and Trams

At the BBC just before 7am to do the first of a series of interviews on the good news that Greater Manchester is being given the chance to invest £3billion in its public transport network and that's on top of the £600m already being invested in Metrolink. Judging by other people's blogs, the Transport Innovation Fund proposals are still widely misunderstood so I'll try and give a simple run through a bit later. However today is not entirely transport dominated.

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Buildings and Boats, Brussels and Bands

This morning is a presentation from developers ASK on progress with Castlefield Quay, the area either side of the viaduct, across the road from the Beetham Tower. Public consultation will follow but I'm sure that those who live and work in that part of the city centre will welcome not only the retention of the open space alongside the canal but that it will be made accessible and with through pedestrian routes on that side of the canal.

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Crossing T's

Another day of variety. Early afternoon is the AGMA Leaders Governance sub-group, an all-party crossing of t's and dotting of i's for the establishment of the first commissions, committees to you and me, proposed in the new operating agreement between the ten Greater Manchester authorities. Riveting stuff!

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Away with the Faeries?

A new municipal year, a new Council Executive and an Away Day to talk about the big things we need to work together on over the coming year.

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Fun in The Rain

Keeping up with a blog seems to need more free time than I have available (MEN journalists don't seem to have this problem) so apologies to those who have been watching this space since 25th May.

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