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Have your say: Manchester plans 37 miles of new cycle routes - but are they good enough?

Seven routes from suburbs into the city planned - but Manchester's record on sensible cycleways criticised...

Cyclists in Manchester are being asked for their views on 37 miles of new cycle routes following seven routes.

Four of the new paths will be near Manchester Airport, Prestwich, Wilmslow Road and Cheetham Hill, while three others are planned for near Salford, Stockport and the Bridgewater and Ashton canals.

The current share of transport to work by bicycle is 2.1 per cent in Greater Manchester, a figure local councils are keen to improve.

While any new cycle infrastructure can be welcomed, cycle campaign groups are already registering concerns that the plans do not go far enough.

Graeme Sherriff from Love Your Bike, told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ll be taking a close look to check if the proposals fit the design criteria set out in our manifesto: safe, coherent, direct, comfortable, attractive, future-proof.

“We feel that some of the planned route do not meet that criteria.

“We would encourage everyone who cycles or who is interested in cycling to take a look at the proposals and let the council know what they think.”

The consultations can be found in detail here, with comments encouraged.

The introduction to the consultation notes: “We're re-shaping our region to make cycling part of our culture, connecting Greater Manchester's 2.7million residents to their schools, shops, work and leisure spots while cutting noise and pollution. 

“We already have some great cycling facilities – but not enough, and they're not well connected.

“These projects – underway across Greater Manchester – will help fix that: joining up routes, making them safer, and getting more people cycling.”

The leisure and commuting routes, dubbed ‘Better by Cycle’, follow the Oxford Road planned development and, the council say, are designed to encourage people to see cycling as a normal part of everyday life.

They are intended to connect communities on the fringes of the M60 with the city centre, for access to jobs and schools.
A Transport for Greater Manchester spokesman said: “These seven key cycleways will connect local communities

and a number of them will provide easy access for cyclists to Manchester city centre, meaning a significant boost in the quality of the cycling provision in Greater Manchester.

“It’s all part of our aim to encourage more people to cycle across Greater Manchester, with free cycle training, improved bike parking and facilities and a major educational programme with our partner schools.

“We want to know what both new and existing cyclists think of the proposed improvements and encourage people to have their say during Manchester city council’s consultation.”


We recently reported however, that the Oxford Road route has been criticised for design features including cycle lanes crossing over footways; nonsensical indirect bike paths which encourage shortcuts along pavements; and convoluted junctions which demand that cyclists mount and dismount the pavement multiple times.

The newest plans have been drawn up by TfGM, the ten Greater Manchester councils, British Cycling and public health officials.

Coun Chris Paul, from TfGM committee said: “Parents and children will I hope see benefits of new crossings and speed limits and separate cycle paths to help them walk, scoot or bike to school, reducing parking, road safety and traffic issues.

“Local shoppers may look forward to nipping to the shops by bike, and trade will be boosted from these local errands. Those in cars will I hope welcome clearer junctions and reduced congestion - even small shifts from cars will give great improvements in traffic flow.

“The health and environmental benefits and household cash saved by active travel are tremendous, and more people on bikes as a natural way of getting about could mean yet more Olympic and Paralympic stars for Team GB.

“As a Withington councillor I am particularly excited to see proposals for Wilmslow Road with improved junctions, crossings and separated cycling. The 20mph schemes on every residential street and the High Street and Christie Hospital area are fantastic.”

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6 comments

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hardgrit | 9 years ago
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Recently received confirmation from Bury council that they are to put lines down to stop motorists Illegally parking in cycle lanes along Manchester Road Bury.
Problem is it has taken a YEAR! of me emailing and lobbying the council, GMP and local councillors to get to this point.
Wheels move at a snales pace in local government. I dont expect anything meaningful to happen anytime soon.

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GREGJONES | 9 years ago
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There are more cyclists commuting in Manchester than ever before, I used to see just one or two on my commute ten years ago, now you see groups on Chester road as rush hour. There is still a lot to do, but have a bit of patience for the civil servants who have very little money to play with.

The biggest issue in undoing the enormous amount of damage done over decades by truncating and severing routes that would have been great for cyclists.

Also the danger in Manchester (like so many other cities) isn't the roads so much as the terrible drivers thanks to the non-existent enforcement by GMP.

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Some Fella | 9 years ago
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Upper Brook Street has just had bazillions spent on it - its 4 lanes wide for the most of it with wide verges on either side.
Plenty of room for strong segregation. It is dead straight and a very busy route for cyclists.
The current works have added absolutely nothing to improve the cycling experience.
Elsewhere on raod.cc there is a story of a lad getting knocked off by a taxi. This is yards from where hundreds of thousands was spent on 'improvements' for cyclists which consisted of new traffic lights and little else. It is also yards from where a poor young lad lost his life earlier this year under a tipper truck.
Manchester is a lesson in missed opportunities, wasted money, disjointed and half arsed attempts at infrastructure and clueless politicians and civil servants.

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crazy-legs | 9 years ago
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Manchester cycle lanes are rubbish. Utterly dreadful.

I rode up Wilmslow Road / Oxford Road today into the city centre and the lanes that exist put cyclists right into the door-zone of parked cars, on and off pavements, through bus stops, up the inside of left-turning vehicles.

I mean, in principle - to an uneducated person looking at it - it looks great; loads of cycle provision, lots of money spent, lots of visible "infrastructure" but in practice it's actually quite dangerous to use.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers | 9 years ago
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Manchester is surrounded by huge single-carriageway former turnpikes that run arrow-straight into its centre. Roads like the A56 between Bury and Manchester are enormous and contain easily enough space for a 2 metre segregated cycle lane on each side. Here's an example:

http://goo.gl/maps/GCc1j

Nobody is going to convince me that there's no space for cycling there. Or here:

http://goo.gl/maps/hWhEc

I've seen what Manchester are suggesting for this route, and it's shit. Utter, utter rubbish. They're too scared of the non-existent "motoring lobby" to do anything other than put some green paint on a few pavements and waste a load of money on cycle lanes that cars will park in.

If Manchester doesn't have the funds to complete these new lanes to Dutch standards, it should spend what it does have improving what already exists. Like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/4RVu1

Or this:

http://goo.gl/maps/TAIci

Have one long motorway that goes from somewhere to somewhere else, rather than 10 tiny motorways that go from nowhere to nothing in particular.

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Leviathan replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 9 years ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

If Manchester doesn't have the funds to complete these new lanes to Dutch standards, it should spend what it does have improving what already exists. Like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/4RVu1

Or this:

http://goo.gl/maps/TAIci

Have one long motorway that goes from somewhere to somewhere else, rather than 10 tiny motorways that go from nowhere to nothing in particular.

These are sad examples of the piecemeal provision in Manchester. The Chester Road lane is about 300m long and is two way, requiring cyclists to cross over city bound and cross back again to the left of the road. Alan Turing way is a poorly kept sand trap. Both of these segregations have same issue of loosing priority at random side turns causing many potential left hook points. We need blue paint not green and some actual connected routes planned like London.

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