Author: Ian Pennington

“We Just Held Our First Play Street – Here’s What Made It a Success”

“We Just Held Our First Play Street – Here’s What Made It a Success”

Words by Jack Hunter (Walk Ride Whalley Range) Last Sunday, residents of York Avenue, in Whalley Range, held our first play street. With permission from the council, and help from Walk Ride Whalley Range, we closed our road to through traffic for an afternoon. Residents’ 

Manchester Residents Encouraged to Apply for ‘Play Streets’ to Create Safer Neighbourhoods

Manchester Residents Encouraged to Apply for ‘Play Streets’ to Create Safer Neighbourhoods

Manchester City Council this week announced that it is removing the application fee for Play Streets, which provide the opportunity to open up residential streets for use by people living in those communities. The council’s website states that, “A group of residents can apply to 

Consultation Maps Launched for Monton Neighbourhood Area and Fallowfield Loop Route

Consultation Maps Launched for Monton Neighbourhood Area and Fallowfield Loop Route

Two public consultations were launched this week for schemes that have the potential to improve the active travel network in Greater Manchester.

Monton Village Filtered Neighbourhood and the Fallowfield Loop are the latest locations in the region to be opened for comments from the community.

Fallowfield Loop

The 14km Fallowfield Loop route was awarded £4.9m funding in Tranche 6 of the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

Manchester City Council has stated its intention “to enhance the route, creating a safer, more convenient and accessible cycling and walking network and encourage more people to use this much-loved route.”

Its aims are to:

  • Make the route safer and reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Reduce/clear overgrown vegetation
  • Having a route that is more open and better connected to surrounding neighbourhoods
  • Strengthen the habitat and landscape to create a more open and less intimidating environment for users
  • Upgrading access points to make entry and exit points clearer
  • Transforming and enhancing open areas to provide more inviting places for people to relax, play, and include seating areas along the route
  • Street lighting to allow users to travel throughout the year, particularly in the winter months.
  • To help us ensure that we design improvements are suitable for everyone, we need your ideas and feedback.

Monton Village Filtered Neighbourhood

Salford City Council is encouraging residents to engage with the Commonplace map to gather views to feed into the Monton Village Filtered Neighbourhood (also known as a ‘low-traffic neighbourhood’ or ‘active neighbourhood’ – explained further here).

The project received £1.5m from Tranche 2 of the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, and Salford City Council said the aim is “to make Monton easier, safer and more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport. We also want to make sure that it is connected to the wider Bee Network to facilitate better movement between areas.”

The Commonplace maps allow people to comment on where there are issues that require attention as part of the schemes. You can make your own comments and show agreement with others’ comments via the following links for Monton Village and the Fallowfield Loop.

Photo via Sustrans.

TfGM Confirms £3.1m Emergency Active Travel Fund Allocations for Greater Manchester

TfGM Confirms £3.1m Emergency Active Travel Fund Allocations for Greater Manchester

TfGM has officially announced the road safety measures that will be built across Greater Manchester as part of Tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). Many of the schemes, which will be funded by the £3.1m Tranche 1 budget, have previously been announced 

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Social Justice Reasons

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Social Justice Reasons

Social justice issues lie at the heart of our campaigns to create healthy streets, and this is even more stark during the COVID-19. Chris Boardman, the Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, reiterated this during his interview with Radio 4’s World at One on 

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Words by Dr Patrick Carrington, Lead Cancer Clinician for Trafford overseeing provision of all cancer services in Trafford hospital

First, a bit of context – I have been a doctor treating people with various diseases for around 40 years, and for over 30 years I have been a haematologist (blood specialist). Sadly, by the time people come to me, they may have severe disease, so in recent years my attention has turned from providing treatment to preventing people needing treatment.

Why Bother with Active Travel?

The main reason is for everyone to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Sounds a bit trite, but here’s more…

What diseases can be prevented?

I treat people with leukaemia and other blood cell cancers and also manage the consequences of thrombosis as well as other problems affecting the blood. It has become increasing clear to me that many of these problems are caused by either air pollution or inactivity, so walking or cycling reduce the risk, while driving a car gives a double whammy of risk.

Patients with leukaemia have often asked me why it has happened to them and I have usually replied in very general terms that it was likely to be related to the environment. But the more specific reason is that many leukaemias are caused by benzene and other hydrocarbons emitted in engine exhaust fumes, which damage DNA in blood stem cells, ultimately leading to leukaemia. Thrombosis risk, with consequent heart disease, stroke and dementia, increases with inactivity and obesity. Indeed, although there are sometimes many causes for disease, air pollution and inactivity play key roles in all the leading causes of ill health and death.

What can I do?

Personally, I cycle to work and try to avoid traffic fumes by choosing quieter routes and holding my breath when cycling past idling cars.

At a population level, active travel can do the same. As Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, eloquently said earlier this year in Parliament: “Pick a crisis and you’ll probably find cycling is a solution.”

So, to paraphrase Chris: if you pick a disease you’ll probably find cycling (or walking) is a solution.

What about COVID-19?

The current crisis has reminded us all that health really trumps any other consideration. So how is active travel relevant to fighting the virus?

  • It is known that exercise improves immune function and hence helps to reduce the chance of infection and reduce the severity of the disease once infected.
  • It is also clear that the greatest risk factors for dying from COVID at any given age are obesity and diabetes, which are once again diseases of inactivity (with the exception of type 1 diabetes).
  • Also high on the list is prior lung disease or ischaemic heart disease – both of which are significantly worse because of air pollution, so once again active travel is part of the solution and therefore a high priority.

Active travel can be a powerful ally as we struggle for health in this age of COVID.

We must enable it now.

https://mft.nhs.uk/trafford/consultants/dr-patrick-carrington/

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Image courtesy of TfGM.

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Proposals for the latest Bee Network scheme have been published for consultation, with Beswick residents encouraged to get involved with shaping their neighbourhood for people using active travel modes such as walking, cycling or other mobility aids. Where is it? The project area, labelled ‘Safer 

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Residents of Tameside are being encouraged by the council to apply for Quiet Streets in their neighbourhood. Tameside Council recently launched its Quiet Streets initiative to give residents the opportunity to enforce regular, temporary road closures to create more outside space for people living on 

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

More than 150 people lined up alongside the A6 in Levenshulme on Saturday 27 June to form ‘human cycle lanes’, with everyone observing social distancing rules and most wearing masks.

The aim was to call on Manchester City Council to address the lack of provision for walking and cycling in the Levenshulme area and beyond. This lack of provision is despite instruction by the Government to install safe, direct pop-up cycleways to enable key workers to continue to access workplaces, particularly those who do not own a car and who rely on the significantly restricted public transport options, which are running at only 10% capacity.

Participants clapped and rang their bicycle bells to draw attention to the protest, and made placards, banners and signs, including slogans like ‘I need my clean air fix on the A6’, ‘More bike lanes will fix the A6’, and ‘Please give me space’.

The protest was scheduled for 12pm to 12.30, but despite a few downpours of rain, everyone stayed for much longer, until 1pm and beyond.

Here is a collection of the videos and photographs by attendees to document the event:

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Riding Now that you have all the gear you need and the right bike for you, we thought some tips on riding might be helpful: Pedalling – this is most efficient if the