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Levenshulme bidding to become Manchester's first 'Mini Holland'

Aim is to reallocate road space to reduce car use for short trips and to increase levels of cycling and walking

Levenshulme is bidding for £3.5million of funding to turn a one-mile area into the most cycle-friendly part of Greater Manchester. The project, which draws inspiration from London’s Mini Hollands, would be branded the Levenshulme Bee Network after the region recently renamed its Beelines cycle lanes following a copyright dispute.

The Manchester Evening News reports that the filtered neighbourhood has been proposed by Levenshulme Bee Network, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman.

The project has been coordinated by volunteer Pauline Johnson, who said: “We want to create the most cycle friendly and walking friendly area in Greater Manchester.

“The idea would be that within the mile radius – which is a 10-minute walk – we would see linking up of back streets to create better connectivity between community centres, doctors and schools, for example.”

Pointing to one of London’s Mini Hollands, she added: “Doing this has transformed Waltham Forest’s neighbourhood – people have been enjoying the benefits of walking and cycling to school, with more places to play, and we want to do the same here.”

The aims are to reduce car use for short trips, create a safe area for children and increase the levels of walking and cycling.

“It’s all about safety – getting from A to B – but also issues like improved air quality,” said Johnson. “Levenshulme is three-times the legal limit outside primary schools, which needs to change.”

She added that the project would not affect the A6, one of Manchester’s main arteries into the city centre.

“It won’t touch the A6, which is a major road – unlike Chorlton, for example, who for their bid have gone for segregated cycle lanes around the main roads.

“We understand that there may be some reservations, but want to win hearts and minds. If our bid is successful there will be plenty of opportunities to contribute ideas to the scheme. We want everyone to have a voice.”

Chris Boardman commented: “The fantastic thing about this proposal is that it has been community led. The people of Levenshulme want to enhance their neighbourhood, enabling more people to travel locally without using cars. All credit to Manchester City Council for recognising the potential and taking a bid forward.”

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