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First six Greater Manchester Cycleways officially opened

Routes form part of £42 million Cycle City programme

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has officially launched the first six cycleways under its £42 million Cycle City programme, and is encouraging people to switch to two wheels for their commute.

The six routes completed to date, formally launched yesterday, have been completed at a cost of £20 million, much of the cost met by the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition programme.

TfGM developed the routes in partnership with the five local authorities whose areas they pass through – Manchester City, Salford City, and the boroughs of Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.

Councillor Chris Paul, who is cycling champion on the TfGM committee, said: “We’ve got big ambitions for cycling in Greater Manchester and we’re already beginning to see more and more people getting around by bike.

“The incredible Olympics success of Team GB’s cycling team, based at the ‘Medal Factory’ National Cycling Centre in Manchester, will hopefully inspire more people to consider cycling for both work and leisure, and our aim is also to put Greater Manchester on the map as a great place to cycle, whatever your ability and wherever you’re looking to travel.

“Now that the first phase of the Cycle City programme is complete, we’re on the way to meeting our target of 10% of journeys in Greater Manchester being made by bike by 2025.”

The first six routes completed comprise:

Airport City Cycleway: connecting Timperley and Manchester Airport

Bridgewater Canal Cycleway: canal-side route linking Altrincham, Trafford Park and Manchester city centre

Broughton Cycleway: linking Broughton with Manchester city centre

Mersey Valley and Stockport Cycleway: connecting Stockport town centre with Cheadle and East Didsbury

Ashton Canal Cycleway: canal-side route from Ashton-under-Lyne to Manchester city centre

Wilmslow Road Cycleway: connecting Didsbury village and Whitworth Park.

Nick Brelsford, Sustrans Partnerships Manager for the North West commented: "These new cycle routes are a big step in the right direction to help Greater Manchester achieve its aim to make cycling a mainstream everyday form of transport.

"Wilmslow Road and Broughton Cycleway in particular demonstrate different types of high quality cycle design, which although not perfect, could work on a larger scale across the city region.

"We hope to work with TfGM to realise the vision for a healthier city with a consistently high quality cycle network that encourages more people to get out on their bikes."

Besides the cycleways, investment has also been made in upgrading cycle parking at locations including transport interchanges, workplaces and schools, as well as providing training to children and adults alike.

Under the second phase of the scheme, to be completed by 2018, £22 million will be used to develop additional routes as well as four cycle-friendly district centres, among other things.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Beecho | 7 years ago

So one reads the article and thinks 'good', perhaps 'great' even.  Then one reads the comments and thinks 'bad. really bad.'  I wonder what the reading ratio of recycled press release to cyclists comments will be and how that will affect attitudes towards cyclists who choose to stay on the roads.

Not wishing to tag with lazy journalism, but if not even a cycling rag can be bothered to publish an actual opinion on the quality of the infrastructure, then what chance do the vast majority of road users have in being educated as to why cyclists aren't using the £20M of "high quality cycle design"?

escalinci | 7 years ago
1 like

The Bridgewater way surface improvements were made over a number of years and have been done for some time now, but I suppose awareness is always good. But there are already issues with sharing a 3m-wide path with kids going to school, people walking their dogs, parents with prams, and geese! I've seen the problems in Regent canal in London, we want cycling to get really popular, but we don't want to pit modes of active travel against each other!

The reason this and the Ashton Canal route end up getting promoted as travel routes is the unwillingness to sacrifice space on adjacent main roads. Oxford Road will be great for cycling snuck through on a bus scheme, and the airport route, from the plans, was just full of the same minor, low quality interventions that might help people who cycle in the route but won't make it more coherent or attractive. The Stockport project I've not seen too much of.

The Salford route is the really surprising one though I think, an entirely cycling-focused project reallocating significant road space from cars, and not in an area with particularly high levels of cycling. So although it's questionable to use light segregation for such long stretches and with heavy traffic (parked cars are still causing issues as well), the will to create this without the concentration of activism in the south and without the money from a better-funded form of transport is quite significant. Well done Salford Council, I would love to see what they could do with more cash.

StraelGuy | 7 years ago
1 like

I work in Manchester and love the place but I still won't cycle or commute there. The roads are horrendous, broken and full of potholes and the standards of driving don't bare thinking about. I have a couple of mates who live in Manchester and do commute and I think they must have cohones of steel.

Leviathan replied to StraelGuy | 7 years ago

guyrwood wrote:

I work in Manchester and love the place but I still won't cycle or commute there. The roads are horrendous, broken and full of potholes and the standards of driving don't bare thinking about. I have a couple of mates who live in Manchester and do commute and I think they must have cohones of steel.

Well thank for the compliment,  but I don't see how Manchester is any more or less dangerous than any other major British city if you aren't on these new cycle ways. Just get out and ride.

CygnusX1 | 7 years ago

The airport route includes a section of pot holed rough gravel track, followed by sustrans special sandy gravel along Brooks Drive intersected by residential side streets, a sharp 90 degree turn to navigate a K gates that when originally installed you couldn't get road bike drop bars through never mind mtb bars (although now widened after I wrote to the local MP about it). This is followed by a brief section of tarmac path ( yay!) through trees so gets covered in leaves complete with a painted metal surface bridge both in a dip and on a bend which finally dumps you back on a road but on the outside of a corner with limited visibility of oncoming traffic.... And that's just the first half from timperley to the hospital. The second half is worse.

the little onion | 7 years ago

I am familiar with the Manchester (£22 million) and Leeds-Bradford (£29 million) cycle city ambition fund projects, and both are shockers. I hope there is a full audit of the entire cycle city ambition fund projects, and how so much tax payers' money was squandered on stupid and useless cycle infrastructure.


The fundamental problems with it are two-fold:

-lack of political will to reallocate road space, and even parking spaces, away from drivers and towards cyclists

-quislings like Sustrans signing off any old crap as proper cycling infrastructure.


My personal preference would be for all future UK cycle infrastructure to be designed by Dutch or Danish planners.

Leviathan | 7 years ago

Don't forget the hissing geese. Canal tow paths are not 'cycling' infrastructure. Anything designed to get cyclists off the road and out of the way of cars such as Dutch or Danish bus stops (I forget) are dangerous. I have tried the new segregated lanes in Fallowfield and Rusholme, diving off the road around the back of busy bus stops with pedestrians unaware of your approach or that they are even standing in a bike lane is lunatic.

They have a clear model in London with the Blue lanes, wide, well painted, well surfaced but open to the road. Cyclists are not pinned in or obscured (ignored because they are 'off road') by street furniture. Why is this model not being used? Why are cyclists never asked what they want?

Argos74 | 7 years ago

The Ashton Canal route is little better - fine as a leisurely summer ride with wide tyres (it has some interesting cobbled inclines by the locks), but utterly unsuited as a heavily populated cycling route, especially in the dark and wet.

The Didsbury-Whitworth Park route was dangerous before, and more dangerous now. It removed none of the danger points, and introduced new ones. I live two minutes from the south end, and work at the top end, so in theory I *should* be using it every day. In practice, I've tried it once, and swiftly retreated back to the safety of the dual carriageway running parallel to the route.

So... three down, anyone brave/foolhardy/suicidal enough to try the other three?

Manchestercyclist | 7 years ago

Cycling down the narrow Bridgewater cabal towpath is hard enough with the dog walkers and loose gravel surface in summer. To do it each day in poor light next to freezing water is dangerous. The only reason this has been chosen as a route is to Jeep cyclists off wash way road and ensure traffic flow.

The real problem is the low funding compared to London boroughs and the variable standard of cycle lane, if its not good enough it shouldn't get funding.

Finally to access the cycle lane you have to lift your bike down steps and many locations, fine for a fit fella with a racing bike. Not so useful for a person on a heavy town bike with a kid on the back.

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