Trafford Council may finally be about to introduce segregated cycling infrastructure on one of the city's busiest and most talked about routes.
The news comes after multiple instances of vandalism which saw the current bike lane, separated from traffic with cones, being eroded and removed by upset locals, the latest incident seeing the local authority blaming "systematic theft" and warning that the police had been involved.
At the time, Trafford Council told road.cc it would propose to "replace the cones on this section of the highway with an interim cycling scheme", proposals which have since been outlined formally and a consultation opened until September 10.
Under the plans, the existing temporary cycle lanes along the A56 Stretford would be replaced "by cycle lane bollards separating the cycle lane and the main road" from the A56 at Talbot Road to north of the M60 junction seven.
A new "buffer strip between cycle paths through the gyratory island at Barton Road and a new crossing at the traffic lights on the northern side to allow safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists" is also proposed.
To make room for the infrastructure the A56 southbound at the Davyhulme Road would return to two lanes and there would be new vehicle-loading restrictions introduced, preventing loading or unloading at any time.
The Manchester Evening News reports that police data published in 2019 showed that the A56 saw 67 incidents involving cyclists between 2015 and 2017, making it one of the most dangerous routes in the city.
Conservative councillor Nathan Evans said he could "totally understand" the "frustration" of residents in removing the cones but said the way cyclists are being treated is "totally ridiculous" and called for proper infrastructure.
"I think this is possibly just frustration from residents," he said. "And I totally understand it. I don't condone it. But when the council is totally deaf to appeals from the residents for normal behaviour, I get it. I think there are better ways of doing this.
"There's clearly a problem but the way they are treating cyclists, it's totally ridiculous. Maybe we can't afford [to], but if we are going to do it, let's do it properly."
A petition calling for the cones to be removed received almost 3,000 signatures since the temporary lane was first introduced during the pandemic in 2020. Its installation was not without setbacks either, the council quickly removing it following initial complaints from motorists.
Since then it has returned, been vandalised, been replaced and disappeared completely at some stretches, the council hoping its latest proposal will be a more permanent solution.
On the same weekend Manchester was named the worst city in Europe for green transport the Labour-run council was forced to respond to yet more vandalism, saying it would replace stolen cones "regularly" but the "continual theft and vandalism means we're unable to replace them as quickly as they are removed".
Days later and as local cyclists speculated about if the cones' complete disappearance from the major A-road was in fact the doing of the local authority, the council clarified that it was not them, instead blaming "systematic theft".
"This has been reported to the police and we'll be working with the police going forward on this matter," a council spokesperson said.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.