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Your questions answered: Mayoral candidates on how they would make region cleaner, greener, safer

Your questions answered: Mayoral candidates on how they would make region cleaner, greener, safer

MAYORAL HUSTINGS ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT, 22 APRIL 2021. Candidates from the four main parties were invited; Andy Burnham (Labour), Melanie Horrocks (Green) and Simon Lepori (Lib Dem) attended. (Laura Evans (Conservative) did not respond to invitations). We asked the three candidates 11 questions on behalf 



OUR STREETS CHORLTON SHORT-FORM FILM BRIEF Our Streets Chorlton is a 12-month community-led project in south Manchester to understand how to help decrease carbon emissions by enabling Chorlton people to reduce local and short car journeys.   Opportunity We are seeking a filmmaker / small 

Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Fairer: 10 ways for Greater Manchester’s new mayor to transform travel

Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Fairer: 10 ways for Greater Manchester’s new mayor to transform travel

We believe that walking, cycling and public transport have a key role to play in tackling the challenges of post-pandemic recovery and our environmental crisis, and that this is a top priority in Greater Manchester’s May elections.

We’ve teamed up with a range of other organisations* to create a manifesto for what the new mayor needs to do to create a greener, cleaner, safer, fairer, way for people to move about the region.

We are also holding a joint hustings on sustainable transport on Thursday 22 April, 5.30pm. You can sign up here, and ask questions in advance here (deadline Saturday 17th April).

(Please note the new time of 5.30pm: the event was originally advertised as 6.30pm but has been moved earlier at a candidate’s request with agreement of the other candidates).


*organisations in the coalition who worked on this include Living Streets, Friends of the Earth, Unison Manchester, Ramblers, Action Vision Zero, Vision Zero Youth Council and Cycling UK.






A manifesto for getting about in Greater Manchester



1. Enable journeys without cars

Make our communities places where cars are optional and walking, cycling and public transport is easy, safe & enjoyable. Take an Active Neighbourhood approach in every community immediately by embedding in planning & housing policies. Commit to 75% of all short journeys (2km or less) and 50% of 2-5km trips to be walked or cycled by 2025, and further develop monitoring to report progress.


2. Clean air & green space

Introduce low-emission zones, reduce parking & reallocate space to people, ban engine idling, increase controlled parking & prepare for road pricing. Set annual targets for reducing vehicle trips. In urban centres, end through traffic (access/disabled drivers only) & bring in workplace parking levies. Shift to e-van and e-bike deliveries and pilot an e-cargo hub by 2025. Create more public green space, green streets & active corridors.


3. Give children a choice

Create a schools fund to pay for a programme of permanent ‘school streets’ & related improvements, including funding for walking & cycling behaviour change initiatives and community-led training, events, bikes and storage – to enable pupils to walk, cycle, or wheel safely to school at 1000+ primary & 250+ secondary schools by 2025.


4. Make it easy to walk and cycle

Fully fund , expand & implement the Bee Network so people don’t have to drive short trips. Commit to 2000+ miles of high-quality walking & cycling infrastructure by 2030, with annual targets for each borough that meet accessible standards. Create a neighbourhood cycle storage fund. Remove all inaccessible barriers and guard rails.



5. Take a people first approach

Implement policies which put pedestrians & disabled people at the top of the hierarchy of users e.g. count people not vehicles, and optimise design for them. Implement a crossings audit and upgrade plan, make signal crossings single stage & minimise waiting, roll out side-road crossings. Stop pavement parking & clutter. Develop Rights of Way improvement plan.



6. Zero deaths on our roads

Sign up to Vision Zero & set target of zero road deaths or serious injuries in GM by 2040. Adopt 20mph as default limit in built-up areas & create safe urban centres & high streets. Prioritise enforcement against offences that pose greatest harm to others: speeding, careless driving, mobile phone use & uninsured vehicles. Treat road crime as real crime.



7. Give buses and trams a better ride 

By 2030 commit to: Making franchised network a success by adding 1000 miles of new or improved 24/7 bus lanes, including more guided routes; upgrading & diversifying fleet so all vehicles run on renewable energy; make more affordable by expanding concessions & capping fares. Enhance & extend tram network with new routes & plans for further growth.



8. Improve trains and cap air travel

Campaign for funding & powers to oversee local, suburban & regional services inside GM in order to speed up journey times & frequency. Expand rail network including new stations. Make all stations fully accessible. Push GM leaders to review business plan for Manchester Airport & bring in line with GM’s 2038 carbon-zero commitment.



9. Create an integrated network

Make an integrated, sustainable transport network in which safe walking & cycling are embedded, an immediate & ongoing ‘top 3’ priority. Enable ‘trip hopping’ from foot, bike, bus, tram & train through single ticketing with daily & weekly fare caps, allowing bikes on trams & tram-trains & developing good walking & cycling routes between transport hubs. Enable more e-car sharing & develop a cohesive e-charging network on road not footways.



10. Tighten up and open out

Review & refresh all structures, roles & governance to align with delivering an ‘integrated, sustainable network’ and related targets – including pushing for control of commuter rail & key roads inside GM, & taking up powers to enforce moving traffic offences locally. Ensure meaningful engagement with communities and that people are more fully represented in decision-making. Create cross-sector advisory panel alongside TfGM, & in each borough.


Review: Walk Ride GM March General Meeting

Review: Walk Ride GM March General Meeting

For March’s General Meeting, we invited more special guest speakers to provide updates on local campaigns, as well as tips and strategies from further afield. Opening up was Hannah Kettle, Zooming in from Leeds, where she is working for the charity Possible on the Car 

Word Games: The Language of Active Travel Campaigning

Word Games: The Language of Active Travel Campaigning

Words are important – particularly when trying to win hearts and minds. Many people regularly tell surveys they want healthier, safer movement through our streets, but sometimes encouraging those steps in reality requires the right choice of words that both demonstrate the universal benefits that 

Walking & Cycling in GM State of Play survey: THE RESULTS

Walking & Cycling in GM State of Play survey: THE RESULTS

At the end of 2020 we published a survey asking people to tell us how they felt the plan was going to transform walking and cycling in our Greater Manchester region. More than 150 people replied.

We’ve set out the headlines below (for the full survey analysis including graphs and verbatim comments, go here).




The survey points to an engaged group who are on board with the strategy and believe in the vision – but are concerned and frustrated that we are falling behind in the delivery, and feeling increasingly alienated by the internal politics seen to be holding things back.


The biggest concerns are over the effect this behind-the-scenes wrangling is having on the pace of rollout and continuation of daily dangers faced on the roads through lack of protection & enforcement; a gap between the accepted standards of best practice and poor quality of what is often delivered; and the absence of appetite or ability to enact bigger bolder measures to reduce instances of driving, which are seen to be needed to deliver the vision.


Some even called for responsibility for roads to be reallocated to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as with other forms of transport in order to break the deadlock with intransient, sluggish or car-centric local authorities, who currently control the highways.


  • ‘We need you and local councils to work together to deliver coordinated action – not the farce of pop up cycle lanes that end at a council border’.


  • ‘Take the reins from local highways departments to make delivery quicker and better designed’.


  • ‘Take protection of vulnerable road users away from local authorities and create a GM approach’


  • ‘Stop drowning this important work in your internal politics’


  • ‘Please be more ambitious and apply pressure to local councils to do more where possible.’


  • ‘Everyone knows and says we need to tackle traffic dominance, but almost every practical decision has the opposite effect. Now is the time to actually deliver what you say you want. It is essential that districts are given more help and direction – not cash, but capacity building and training’.


Two in five people said they felt the Bee Network plan was definitely not on track, with that rising to three in five in their own borough, and the most common answer to the question ‘what would you like to say to those in charge’ was a variation on ‘Please get on with it’. 


We also noted a disturbing tone of feeling increasingly exposed on the roads from those who do walk or cycle, and a plea for more protection::


  • ‘I feel threatened by the behaviour of drivers every day’.


  • ‘We need more protection when cycling. I don’t feel comfortable cycling and as a major European city we are falling behind’


  • ‘I intend to buy a car, after not having one for 15 years, because it’s not possible to get around the city reliably and safely’.


  • ‘I am close to giving up cycling. I just get home feeling angry… every time’


The survey also points to a gap in communication from the accountable bodies about their progress and perceived lack of any clear milestones; and to people who do still feel engaged with the topic but that their input is being overlooked or has to be endlessly fought for, as promises over engagement fall short.


In some cases, opportunities for people to engage appear to have gone backwards – with reports of forums closing down, suggestions and ideas being ignored by councils and evidence of ‘consultation fatigue’.


  • ‘We made lots of effort to respond to the beeline consultations, but haven’t had any response from the council in their plans or their communications. It’s really off-putting. I thought the consultation seemed like a really positive thing but now I think it was box-checking’. 


Our survey paints a picture of people who feel largely excluded from the ability to help with this challenge locally: almost third thirds (64.7%) felt completely or partially disconnected from exerting any ‘influence’, and while the picture was less negative for the ability to provide more practical help  – even then only 25% felt able to ‘get involved’


Bearing in mind our assumption is that the majority respondents are Walk Ride supporters and some of the most engaged people with this agenda in GM, the fact only one in four feel able to get involved near to where they live, and most feel barely any ability to influence, points to a clear opportunity for more to be done at grassroots engagement level in GM.


When asked how to solve this problem, opportunities for genuine engagement with local councils was the number one suggestion, allied to clearer information & more regular communication, and thirdly – for more explicit political leadership at borough level.



  • ‘Proper route planning meetings please – the Cycling and Walking Forum is a sham’


  • ‘We should push the Council to engage in proper planning meetings. The collective meeting about the Northern Quarter cycle route was brilliant. More of this’.



  • ‘Somewhere we could see which of the original proposals have been taken up and where they are up to’


  • ‘Just one website to signpost people too, they are all scattered and people aren’t coming together’


  • ‘A central source of information; plans and progress’. 



  • ‘The council needs to lead on this & believe the required transformation is indeed possible. I don’t currently believe it does’. 


  • ‘I want to see a clear statement from councillors who actually support the aims of the Bee Network and evidence that the member for highways understands that this will mean reallocation of road space’. 


For interviews about this survey contact


Methodology: The survey was live for the months of November & December 2020, published via Walk Ride website, newsletter and social media. As such, we assume most respondents are among the most engaged with this agenda in Greater Manchester. Answers were anonymous.


For the full survey analysis including graphs and verbatim comments, go here.


Walk Ride GM, 24/01/2021

For queries about this survey contact

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