Walk Ride Greater Manchester today welcomed news that leaders are planning to install more than 100 kilometres of pop-up cycle lanes across the city region to help workers get in and out of Manchester safely. With more than ⅓ of residents in the region […]
Words by Claire Stocks. A lot of good things that happened in Greater Manchester today. Here’s my ‘Magnificent Seven’ walking and cycling leaderboard… 👩🏾🦯🚶♀👨🏿🦽🚲🌳🐞🐝 1. Levenshulme Active Neighbourhood Levenshulme in Manchester has revealed plans for massive traffic-calmed neighbourhood with 27 filters for those on foot […]
As one of Manchester’s busiest streets is to be partially closed to traffic from this weekend to help people safely walk and cycle while physically distancing, campaigners are asking Greater Manchester residents which other streets need safety measures during the Coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday a section of Deansgate in Manchester is to be temporarily closed to cars, with the city council saying they hope the changes may become permanent.
Walk Ride Greater Manchester (WRGM), a grassroots volunteer group set up in late 2018 to campaign for more space to be given to pedestrians and cyclists, is working with councils to help launch online tools where residents can make #safestreets suggestions for making it safer to walk and ride a bike during Covid19.
Four interactive maps have been rapidly launched this week, with hundreds of suggestions from residents already made, and more to follow.
These are for:
As a result, mayor Andy Burnham launched a £5m #SafeStreetsSaveLives emergency fund to enable Greater Manchester councils to carry out measures to support distancing during coronavirus lockdown and recovery, with further funding promised from the government as part of a £2bn national package.
So far in the North West it’s Liverpool which has led the way, this week announcing 100km of pop-up lanes to help people move around the city on bike or foot.
WalkRideGM have been helping councils across Greater Manchester engage with residents for ideas on how to help people get around safely by foot or bike here, especially those who are more vulnerable such as children or people with disabilities.
Volunteers in Stockport, Bolton and Bury have worked with local councils to set up maps where residents can flag streets and neighbourhoods where it is currently tricky to keep two metres away from others while walking or cycling.
In the first 48 hours of launch, Stockport’s map had more than 1,000 interactions from residents keen to make their views heard about how their streets could be made safer and easier to move around on foot or bike, with mobility aids or buggies.
Salford Council has already launched its own map and WRGM has suggested a similar approach to the other six boroughs. Manchester and Tameside are set to follow suit very soon.
In the meantime, residents can email their local councillors and executive members for transport to make their suggestions.
WRGM wants to encourage residents to get involved in reconfiguring their streets during the pandemic, with the hope that some changes are made permanent as a part of the region’s long-term strategy to reduce car journeys by 1m a day across Greater Manchester.
WRGM’s Claire Stocks said: “With members of the public asked to avoid public transport, it is crucial that the streets and pavements of Greater Manchester are rapidly made safer to walk and ride a bike. There is no time to lose if we don’t want residents to get back into their cars, contributing to even more congestion and air pollution than there was before the pandemic hit – bearing in mind that traffic jams were already said to cost Greater Manchester £169m a year and air quality was already at illegal levels.”
She added: “With so many people out and about enjoying cleaner air and emptier streets, and surveys showing only 9% of people saying they want to ‘go back to how things were’ – this is a once-in-a-generation chance to reshape our streets for the better.
“We hope that many of the temporary interventions will be so popular that they will become permanent, leading Greater Manchester towards a future where our neighbourhoods and centres are clean, green, safe places to enjoy, rather than choked by congestion and pollution.”
Words by Ian Pennington. Across the UK, councils are beginning to act on the government expectation that we need to prioritise walking and cycling in order to realise a new normal in the COVID-19 era. Consultation maps have been launched with the aim of identifying […]
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched guidance to assist key workers with getting to work by bicycle. The advice covers: route planning bicycle maintenance road cycling tips recommendations for secure parking other problem-solving advice for while you’re out and about on your bicycle. Sustrans […]
Manchester City Council has announced essential design changes on three key routes in the city centre to provide people with space to meet physical distancing guidance.
- Changing Deansgate into a ‘share with care’ space for co-use by people on foot, using mobility aids and on bicycles. This will be from Blackfriars Street to King Street West (i.e. most of the area occupied by Extinction Rebellion last year)
- Widening footways along Princess Street
- Widening footways along London Road
The measures have been brought about to help with physical distancing guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes to vehicular access on Deansgate will be a temporary measure initially, with permanent implementation subject to consultation.
In addition to the promotion of greener transport through the city, there are also expected to be opportunities to support a greener economic recovery by creating space on Deansgate for street markets and other events once distancing is relaxed in the future.
There are expected to be more measures to follow in the Manchester authority area in relation to space for distancing, and we at Walk Ride Greater Manchester are continuing to pursue more of these types of interventions across the whole city-region, so keep your eyes peeled for news very soon… If you would like to get involved, then contact email@example.com.
Words by Claire Stocks. (Photo credits below) We’re urging all Walk Ride supporters to do our bit to help make sure people on foot or bike can physically distance while travelling to work, doing essential shopping or taking basic daily exercise. We’re asking all our supporters […]
TfGM has responded to the ongoing COVID-19 physical distancing conditions by making improvements to the waiting times at traffic lights. The changes are to assist with pedestrian priority and overall accessibility in the city region by reducing the chances of groups forming while waiting at […]
Our streets are seeing unprecedented life, as the drop in car traffic has led to a greater confidence among people to use active travel modes, including families teaching children to ride on the roads.
The current conditions follow legislation issued by the government to curb all unnecessary trips, while promoting daily exercise through the types of activity that can enhance people’s immune systems, such as walking, running and cycling.
With fewer cars on the road, I am seeing way more families and leisure cyclists on the road. I recorded this within a few minutes. Never seen anything like this where I live. The people will cycle, if they believe and know the roads & infrastructure are safer. pic.twitter.com/olFBvL26IR
— James Stafford (@Jamesdestafford) April 12, 2020
It’s going to suck so much when we have to tell him we can’t do this everyday anymore. 🙁 pic.twitter.com/YlOEVNIrsV
— Bex 🚴🏼♀️🚵🏽♀️🚲🚀🏴☠️ (@FiresideFortune) April 12, 2020
People are even getting creative with their choice of daily exercise:
Space without cars is space for people – let’s have it like this all the time @StockportMBC so I and others can engage in my new sport of #longboardathloning #shutthestreets #peopleovercars #rad #cheadlehulme #Stockport pic.twitter.com/v72Iu3xfEy
— Robbie George (@CODEMCR) April 14, 2020
The question now is whether we can find ways to prevent our streets from falling back into the previous status quo of air and noise pollution, congestion, bullying and intimidation.
We can do this by seizing the opportunity to implement temporary measures that prevent rat running and enable active travel, similarly to the great initiatives happening across the world. You can write to your local councillor to voice your support for lost-cost, quick-win schemes using cones or planters that allow access to people, while stopping drivers from rat running.
Good list of practical measures for safer walking during lockdown. Hear @AndyBurnhamGM & @Chris_Boardman v keen but not getting traction with 10 councils (who have power – v busy tbf). Maybe residents should just apply on own key streets? Where I live (Chorlton) that would be … https://t.co/Mt9MkeW3ET
— Claire Stocks (@stocksyatlarge) April 16, 2020
If you’d like to get involved with your Walk Ride local group, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us via social media.
Words by Harrie Larrington-Spencer. As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly escalates across the UK and beyond, there is increasing necessity for social distancing and limiting access to many places and activities in order to reduce the of transmission of the virus. These restrictions are put in […]