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2021: The Year of the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

2021: The Year of the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

At our last General Meeting of 2020, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman said that more than 30 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs – also known as Active Neighbourhoods or Filtered Neighbourhoods) would be implemented across Greater Manchester during 2021. Here we have a 

Website brief: opportunity to create new website for climate action community project

Website brief: opportunity to create new website for climate action community project

About ‘Our Streets Chorlton’ We are entering the delivery phase of a one-year community-led, National Lottery funded scheme set up by the Chorlton Climate Action Partnership (CCAP) to help create positive change to help reduce the need and desire to use a car, making the neighbourhood 

January Offer: 15% off In Tandem’s Ethical Active Travel Merch for Walk Ride Readers

January Offer: 15% off In Tandem’s Ethical Active Travel Merch for Walk Ride Readers

Just before Christmas, Walk Ride GM member Cat Swanson launched In Tandem, an active travel themed brand for clothing and other merch with an ethical business model.

Selling t-shirts, posters and more, In Tandem is a brand for people who are passionate about creating safe and inclusive streets for walking, rolling and cycling.

Supporting good causes

The In Tandem team are committed to supporting charities and organisations that campaign for safer streets. That’s why £1 from the sale of every ‘Tactical Urbanist’ t-shirt goes to Walk Ride GM, while £1 from the sale of every ‘That’s how I roll’ t-shirt goes to disability cycling charities Wheels for Wellbeing and Cycling Projects.

In Tandem has already donated £50 towards Walk Ride GM’s community e-trike project.

Committed to sustainability

As part of their business model, In Tandem are absolutely committed to making products that are as sustainable as possible – from only choosing high quality, 100% organic garments to printing locally and using plastic-free packaging.

15% for Walk Ride GM members

For the whole of January, anyone subscribed to the Walk Ride GM newsletter can get 15% off, so make sure you sign up for the newsletter here and keep an eye on your inbox for the code.

Review: Walk Ride GM December General Meeting

Review: Walk Ride GM December General Meeting

To round off 2020, we hosted our second webinar-style General Meeting to provide everyone with a summary of progress with all things Walk Ride and invite guests from the active travel world whose campaigning and shared pursuit of healthier places has caught our eye. Mary 

Pavement Parking: our big chance to get this scourge stopped!

Pavement Parking: our big chance to get this scourge stopped!

The deadline for responses to the consultation on pavement parking in England is fast approaching. (11.59pm, Sunday 22 November 2020). COMPLETE THE CONSULTATION HERE Please do send in your comments to support for a ban on vehicles parking on footways, as we won’t get anther 

Manchester City Centre Transport consultation response: Walk Ride urges bolder, faster changes with clear rollout plan

Manchester City Centre Transport consultation response: Walk Ride urges bolder, faster changes with clear rollout plan

Manchester City Council is to be congratulated for its draft City Centre Transport Strategy  – which is open for comment until Wed 4 Nov and you feedback here. 

Walk Ride GM is broadly very supportive of the principles and proposals – but we urge a more detailed timeline that brings key proposals forward and commits to the city centre being a pedestrian and cycle priority zone by 2025 at the latest.

We believe such a timeframe is required for Manchester to

  • support people getting around without a car during Covid19, and longer term
  • reduce pollution and contribute to a more attractive, resilient city centre that people will want to visit
  • achieve its ambition to reduce climate-harming greenhouse gasses by 50% in the next five years, given that vehicles comprise more than 30% of direct Co2 emissions.

We also urge a review of the targets for different types of journeys and introduction of other Key Performance measures.

For instance – we are skeptical about the strategy’s current targets for just 6% of journeys to be made by bike and 12% by foot 20 years from now, and believe they are not aligned with the stated aspiration to be a clean, green world-leading city; nor will the relatively small decreases in driving over the next 20 years, achieve the required pollution & Co2 reductions.

So we urge the City Council & Transport for Greater Manchester to act more quickly, and to work with the Manchester Climate Change Agency and its advisors the Tyndall Centre to develop scenarios of the changes needed in each transport mode to deliver this change.

We are also asking for some further detailed steps to support walking and cycling in the shorter term, and more clarity on some key items.

Lastly, we respectfully request that the City Council to carry on working with stakeholders in a more inclusive, open way (as it did in the development of the draft) – in the further development of an action plan for delivery, and specific pieces of work, such as the plans for Deansgate, Whitworth Street and city centre ‘triangle’.

 

Targets for modal shift include a 7,000 per day increase in cycle journeys although this would still only account for 6% of trips
We want the targets to go further – to include the whole day not just rush hour & include trips within the city

For instance, we call for the setting up of a street-users forum to ensure that the needs of a range of people in multiple demographics are identified, understood and incorporated into designs.  

We have shared our response to the City Centre Transport Consultation below.

Continue reading Manchester City Centre Transport consultation response: Walk Ride urges bolder, faster changes with clear rollout plan

Interview: Morag Rose (The Loiterers Resistance Movement)

Interview: Morag Rose (The Loiterers Resistance Movement)

For our October General Meeting, we were joined by Morag Rose, a Manchester based walking artist-activist-academic, who in 2006 founded psychogeographical collective The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement). Her research, writing and campaigning focuses on public space, access, equality and walking as a creative, political and 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? How’s the plan going to transform walking and cycling in Greater Manchester?

WHAT DO YOU THINK? How’s the plan going to transform walking and cycling in Greater Manchester?

It’s been three years since walking and cycling Commissioner Chris Boardman’s vision and plan to transform walking & cycling in Greater Manchester was agreed by the GM Combined Authority* – so we thought it would be a good time to take a temperature check via 

BEE NETWORK’S THREE-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT: THE WALKRIDE GM VIEW 

BEE NETWORK’S THREE-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT: THE WALKRIDE GM VIEW 

The recent news that the Bee Network is upping the pace shows, we hope, that we are entering a new phase of delivery of walking and cycling in Greater Manchester.
While announcements included no new schemes, no new money – and were essentially a recap of 26 previously announced schemes – this is a welcome new focus on getting them in by the end of 2021.

BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell us via our simple, anonymous survey

Of the £160m Mayor’s Challenge Fund, which is to pay for the first few years of the Bee Network (and runs out in March 2022), only £15m has been spent so far, with a further £48m of schemes ‘given programme entry’ ie provisionally greenlit and included in the commitments above.

What those announcements didn’t include is funding won through the Government’s Emergency  Active Travel Fund second tranche, news of which has been delayed but is expected later in October, and other pots or matching funding which may be available, such as the Growth Fund.

There are positive noises that there is more to come from the Emergency Fund for GM (albeit a way off the 120km hoped for at one point) as per this summary:

 

  • Tranche 1: 25 miles
  • Tranche 2 (Town Centres): 18 miles 
  • Tranche 2 (Regional Centre): 6 miles

 

This map above includes the Bee Network schemes AND those hoped for from the Government’s Emergency Fund (we are really hoping that blue circle in the middle includes, finally, some temporary bike infrastructure in Manchester city centre).

 

All the details above are taken from a detailed three-year state of play report which went to the GM Transport Committee from TfGM’s new Programme Director of Walking and Cycling, Richard Nickson.

 

His paper commits to the following roll-out of Bee Network miles over the next two years – essentially this is what councils have signed up to deliver:

  • By April 2021:                4 miles
  • By April 2022:                88 miles (add 44 miles previous year)
  • By April 2023:                126 miles (adds 38 miles on previous year)

Interesting also to hear the comments from Boardman at our recent webinar, that while quality remains the focus, if councils drag their heels, funding may be moved to councils with more capacity / capability to deliver.

 

We’re finally starting to see the Bee Network being delivered. We’ve announced the first 55 miles of infrastructure worth £85m going in next year – it’s not as much as I wanted but is a commitment to deliver by the end of 2021′.

“We have given schemes ‘programme entry’ {to the £160m+ Mayor’s Challenge Fund, which is paying for the first phase of the Bee Network} but it’s a time-limited fund.

“So if we aren’t seeing progress soon, we will start to look at reallocating funds to people who want to go quickly so we can start to inject some more pace.

Walk & Cycling Commissioner Chris Boardman

 

It was also good to see more than just cycle lanes in Nickson’s report: for instance the 18 safer crossings across Bury and Harpurhey, and more news on Active Neighbourhoods – which are a lot cheaper than bike lanes and arguably create a greater impact for more people, more quickly. As well as a promise for this to be the start of regular ‘progress checker’ reports.

The Director’s reference to publishing long awaited design standards, under the Streets for All work that was done more than a year ago now, was also welcome. As was acknowledging that TfGM can do more to support borough business cases, and communicate more.

Boardman and his team have in total £500m worth of plans for 420 miles of network, for which they’ve asked for another £215m from Government via the Build a Nation report at the start of the year.

The Bee Network team have never seemed too troubled by this funding gap (which to be fair shouldn’t be a problem given the £2bn announced as part of Gear Change (though that was before our fall out with Westminster…).

Perhaps more important is the Government’s commitment to deliver on its this strategy  – Transport Minister Grant Schapps’ recent letter to local authorities has been seen by some as a worrying sign of back-pedalling, giving councils a way off the hook in the face of even a glimmer of opposition.

It’s emerged in the last few days that one borough appears to have wobbled – with news Bury is planning to pull their A56 pop-up bike lane scheme. But then came news of Bolton joining the race with a fantastic set of proposals for the town centre. There are steps forward, there are steps back – it’s a crucial 12 months when we will learn definitively where the political will for change is to be found.

Our 10 leaders have all signed up to Made to Move, the GM Green Plan, a Climate Emergency and numerous other policies which all commit them to increasing walking and cycling and reducing driving – by at least 1m fewer car journeys a day in GM.

So while we need many things – we need stronger leadership to support a clear plan of action for how this shift will happen in each borough. 

To be fair, it’s still early days in what is a major transformation.

But perhaps in addition to delivery we need a new focus on team-work.
Neither the GMCA, TfGM nor the councils hold the answer alone – none of us do.

This month we also saw the launch of the Active Travel manifesto by the Public Health Directors of GM. And GM Moving is the multi-agency campaign to get more people moving in their daily lives.  It is also good to see TfGM’s new Cycle & Stride grant scheme for under served groups.

If we are to make this shift, we all need to work together more on making these small parts into a greater whole – through communication, collaboration and community engagement.

If team-work is the next phase: How and where does that happen, we wonder?

Design brief: Opportunity to create project identity with the Chorlton Climate Action Partnership

Design brief: Opportunity to create project identity with the Chorlton Climate Action Partnership

WE ARE LOOKING TO WORK WITH A DESIGNER OR DESIGN TEAM ON AN EXCITING PROJECT IN SOUTH MANCHESTER…