Manchester City Council

Stuck in the Slow Lane

A couple of transport things. Spent a bit of time today looking at proposed improvements for cyclists on the City Centre to Prestwich cycle path. Actually we were mainly looking at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road which I know intimately as it is my cycle route to and from the Town Hall. In many respects the improvements are not aimed at confident, regular commuter cyclists like me but at giving confidence to new cyclists or those returning to the bike after a long absence that the bike might be the answer for them - healthier, often quicker and definitely cheaper than other modes of transport ( except perhaps running ). The proposals will make a number of junctions on this busy route safer but there will also be some improvements that will benefit all road users.

Yesterday I met with David Brown, the Chief Executive of MerseyTravel to discuss progress with the refranchising of both Northern rail franchises. David is leading on this for Rail North, the pan-Northern local authority organisation we have put together to influence the tendering specification, and then share in the management of franchises when they are let. A lot of big issues here especially around rolling stock - number of train units, lengths of trains, quality of carriages. In a similar vein, I met John Prescott today to look particularly at how we can improve the Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-Hull rail corridor. It needs it!

A fascinating couple of hours at the Sharp Project yesterday for a seminar based around an IPPR report " March of the Modern Makers, an industrial strategy for the creative industries ". Creative industries covers quite a range of activity with nine sub-sectors ranging from advertising and marketing to performing and visual arts. It also employs a lot of people and ( certainly in Manchester ) is a big growth sector - nationally a 9.4% increase in GVA in 2012. Despite this, although the government has identified eleven growth sectors, creative industries isn't one of them. Manchester is in a position that it has the critical mass of activity to reap the economic benefits of agglomeration, but that does require us to look at some parts of the creative industries, particularly the arty bits, as much through an economic as through an aesthetic prism.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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