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Manchester announces new walking and cycling schemes as Mayor and Commissioner call on Government for long-term funding commitment

The revolutionary plans for Greater Manchester will help tackle the climate emergency, inactivity and congestion.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman are launching the Cycling and Walking investment plan; a ten-year delivery plan for the Bee Network, including a call to Government for a funding commitment for the 1,800 mile, £1.5bn network.

The Investment Plan launched today demonstrates how investment in the Bee Network will deliver an additional 900,000 trips on foot or by bike in GM daily and bring £6bn of public benefits.

The revolutionary plans will help tackle the climate emergency, inactivity and congestion, prompting country-wide travel change - but sustained Government commitment is needed now.

Four new cycling and walking schemes for Manchester have been recommended to receive funding from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund,  a new filtered neighbourhood in Beswick, which will develop a network of streets that are not only safe, but also feel safe, so that the community are confident to take to their bikes and to make journeys on foot.  This scheme has been progressed in accordance with the desires of the local community, following a tragic incident in 2019, which resulted in a man being jailed for causing the death of an 11-year old boy by dangerous driving, after driving at 55mph in a 20mph zone.

Other schemes approved for funding include an upgrade of the existing Fallowfield Loop and a £42m “Route to the North”.

The Route to the North, which is being proposed in partnership with Oldham and Rochdale borough councils, will link the city centre to north Manchester and beyond - encouraging cycling by providing segregated lanes, upgrading and adding new pedestrian crossing points and improving the complex Greengate junction, which has been identified as a problem area for those travelling on foot or by bike.  

The proposed route will follow Oldham Road and Lightbowne Road to the Greengate roundabout, before following the Greengate motorway overbridge into the boroughs of Oldham and Rochdale.

The Manchester schemes that are recommended for MCF funding are as follows:

Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood (£1.4m) - The scheme will create a neighbourhood that prioritises movement for those on foot and on bike. It seeks to reduce the impact of traffic in the area and to enhance the local neighbourhood, making walking and cycling the easiest and most natural choices to access local amenities.  

Route to the North (£42m) - This route is comprised of two separate bids - a £13m bid to improve Oldham Road, submitted by Manchester City Council, plus the £29m Rochdale, Oldham and North Manchester Connectivity Scheme, submitted by Rochdale Borough Council on behalf of the three local authorities. Together, they link the city centre to north Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale.

Fallowfield Loop enhancements (£4.9m) -This scheme will create a 24/7, orbital cycle and walking route connecting Chorlton to Gorton.  It is proposed to introduce new lighting and to improve access points along this 12km, traffic-free cycle path.  The route crosses Hyde Road and the proposed programme of improvements will be aligned with a current scheme to fix a pinch-point which causes congestion and air quality problems on this major route into the city centre.
 
So far, in total Manchester has 12 schemes in development, which will be delivered as part of the Bee Network over the next ten years.  Work has started on the first section of the Manchester to Chorlton Cycleway, which includes the innovative CYCLOPS junction at Royce Road and the Princess Road / Medlock Street roundabout scheme, which will replace the existing roundabout and subway system with new link roads and improved crossings for cyclists and pedestrians.
 
A scheme for the city centre's Northern Quarter is currently open for public consultation, as is the Levenshulme Active Neighbourhood - a community-driven scheme aimed at reducing motor traffic across the area and encouraging more residents to walk and cycle.

Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “With the support of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund, we’re committed to bringing forward schemes across the whole city which will make walking and cycling the natural choices for as many journeys as possible.  This is vital to help us meet Manchester's ambitious zero-carbon goal before 2038, while less car journeys and more active travel choices will help to improve local air quality.

"We've listened to local residents and prioritised schemes across all areas of the city, so that neighbourhoods from north to south Manchester benefit from Challenge Fund investment.  The Fallowfield Loop is a much-valued walking and cycling route for the city and will benefit from a major upgrade thanks to the approved funding.

"We look forward to developing plans for all of these exciting schemes and to listening to our communities in each case, to ensure that they meet the needs of local people and help to create a better, healthier city.  
 
"The ambitious vision of a truly pedestrian and cycle-friendly Manchester is one which we share with our residents - but to make it happen, we now need a funding solution for the long-term future."

Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman, said: “With one-in-three car journeys in Greater Manchester being less than 1 kilometre, it’s clear we have to change. It’s impacting our air, our health and the place we’re expecting our children to grow up, get on and grow old.

“All ten Greater Manchester councils have taken on this challenge and they’ve already started transforming ambition into action. But without confirmed government investment, we are hamstrung. To revolutionise travel across a whole city region, we’re asking for the same financial backing over a ten-year period as it’s costing for a single junction improvement scheme in Bedford. I know which will return the best investment for a nation, never mind a region.”  

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester is creating the blueprint for a real culture change in the way people travel. 

“Our city-region’s 10 districts have been working on these plans since 2017 and crucially, residents have helped to develop them, based on what they want their neighbourhoods to look like. 

“Now we have a world-class plan and we know how to deliver it, but we cannot do it alone. We need the Government to back us with sustained funding over the next ten years to enable us to complete the Bee Network.  If they do so they will be helping create a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country.
 
“Put simply, if they help us change our city-region, we can help change the country too.”

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