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Work begins on Greater Manchester's active neighbourhoods

The project aims to prioritise the movement, health and safety of people over cars and includes using modal filters such as benches, planters or bollards to reduce traffic on residential streets.

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North George Street filter in Central Salford. Picture: Harry Gray
North George Street filter in Central Salford. Picture: Harry Gray

Design, engineering and architect firm, Arup, and cycling and walking charity, Sustrans have begun work with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the local councils to design 10 active neighbourhood schemes (also known as low traffic neighbourhoods) across the Greater Manchester city region.

 

The project is also being delivered in partnership with 10GM, a joint venture that supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector within the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.

 

Prioritising people


The project involves Arup and Sustrans working closely with residents and other stakeholders to design an active neighbourhood scheme in each of the Greater Manchester local authority areas.

 

The Active Neighbourhoods project aims to prioritise the movement, health and safety of people over cars. This includes using modal filters such as benches, planters or bollards to reduce traffic on residential streets, increasing walking and cycling for local journeys, and creating quieter, more attractive places for residents to chat and children to play.

 

The schemes form part of the Bee Network, a 10-year plan for Greater Manchester to deliver the UK’s largest joined-up cycling and walking network, eventually spanning 1,800 miles. The focus is on enabling people to leave the car at home for everyday trips to school or to the shops. This will contribute to the one million additional daily sustainable journeys Greater Manchester wants to achieve by 2040, while also having wider benefits to health, congestion and clean air.

 

Work has begun with communities in Bolton, Bury and Stockport to gather feedback from local residents on what they like and dislike about the streets in their area, whether they would support measures to reduce rat-running, and how they could improve walking and cycling links to local parks, schools and transport hubs.

“That’s five billion more miles being driven every year past people’s front doors, mostly by people using what should be quiet neighbourhood streets as shortcuts, and that’s not right”

“Over the last decade, traffic levels on main roads have barely risen, but journeys on residential streets have risen by a staggering 45 per cent,” said Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester. “That’s five billion more miles being driven every year past people’s front doors, mostly by people using what should be quiet neighbourhood streets as shortcuts, and that’s not right.”

 

Councillor Stuart Haslam, Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for highways, said: “This consultation is an opportunity for us to work together with the community to get the right blend of measures to respond to local needs.

 

“With Covid-19, we have seen spaces being used differently with more reliance on active travel, use of public transport and increased home working. We need to hear people’s thoughts, particularly residents who live in the area.”

 

Unique opportunity

 

Measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus have resulted in much higher levels of active travel, such as walking and cycling, across the UK, which has seen many cities temporarily reap the benefits of improved air quality, safer streets and stronger communities.

 

“Local councils now have the unique opportunity to create long-term behaviour change, in which active transport becomes the norm, by putting the right infrastructure in place across the UK’s cities,” added James Tate, active neighbourhoods project manager, Arup.

 

“That’s why we are really excited to be delivering TfGM’s Active Neighbourhoods project, focusing on the need to design residential streets that allow people to access local facilities and public transport by foot and by cycle, and delivering the health, air quality and safety benefits of reduced road traffic. We are confident the project will help deliver a huge range of improvements for the Greater Manchester city-region.”

 

Active neighbourhoods are funded through the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

 

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