Review: The Great Ancoats Street Swindle
This evening, hundreds of people attended a group walk and ride through the Northern Quarter and Ancoats to protest the Great Ancoats Street scheme revealed by Manchester City Council earlier this month.
Those involved in the event included campaigners from Walk Ride GM, alongside people living, working and regularly moving through the area who require safe access along the road to their homes and workplaces.
After meeting in Stevenson Square and setting off past camera crews from local TV news programmes, the attendees moved through the Northern Quarter and part of Great Ancoats Street towards Cutting Room Square, where organisers of the protest addressed the crowds.
Fantastic turnout at the #GreatAncoatsStSwindle to demand bike lanes on that key route. We understand that everyone from @ManCityCouncil was too busy to join us, so let’s meet up and discuss this soon. When’s good for you? pic.twitter.com/POT8sWDuLc
— Prestwich Pootler (@pootlers) June 26, 2019
The opening speech debunked the myths that were included in the supporting statement launched with Manchester City Council’s Great Ancoats Street proposal, before emphasising the greater quality of life that can be achieved for people if the Council fulfils its promises made within Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman’s strategy document, Made to Move.
A subsequent speaker from the Extinction Rebellion activist group highlighted that the UK needs to massively increase spending on public transport, walking and cycling and reduce the spending on car-centric road infrastructure in order to meet commitments to our wider climate crisis. This is in the context of UK Government spending of £84 per person on road infrastructure and 72p per person on walking and cycling in the next few years. The XR speaker added that transport campaign groups are encouraging the Government to commit £10 per person for cycling and walking infrastructure as soon as possible, rising to at least £20 in the near future.
The Council’s plans have prompted concerned residents to suggest alternative designs that include better provision for walking and cycling such as a bidirectional cycle lane, pictured below.
With the Clean Air Plan consultation due to end on 30 June, the Great Ancoats Street scheme will need extensive revisions if Manchester is to improve its air pollution in the context of the wider climate crisis.