£3.1 million schemes to enable more active travel in Greater Manchester

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has allocated the first phase of its emergency active travel grant set to prioritise the implementation of protected routes.

Schemes across GM districts will provide safe travel options for people without cars and to keep public transport free for those that need it most as retail, hospitality and workplaces start to reopen.

Following submission of a funding bid developed by Greater Manchester districts, the DfT has responded with confirmation that an initial £3.1 million will be provided to deliver the first phase. In recognition of the ambition shown in the region’s bid for tranche one schemes, Greater Manchester received 100% of its allocation.

Councils have worked alongside the GMCA and TfGM to decide which routes will form part of tranche one and are expected to be delivered by October. More interventions will be delivered across the districts as further funding is confirmed.

Tranche one includes pop-up cycle lanes that will give people safe and direct routes to key destinations within their district, such as Chorley New Road in Bolton, and several routes in Salford. Key corridor routes are also being put in place to support commuter journeys including Bury A56, Tameside A635 and in Stockport, a route parallel to the A6.

Local measures include the implementation of modal filters and ‘quiet streets’ which prioritise people over cars on residential streets to create safe neighbourhoods and provide areas for those without access to outdoor space.

Ahead of submitting these proposals, most districts have given residents the opportunity to offer feedback about the measures they’d like to see put in place in their areas, to ensure the schemes truly benefit those who need them.

Through lockdown, an increasing number of journeys have been made by bike, with the weekday cycling peak reaching 200,000 trips. This equates to an estimated one million cycle trips being made each week, an average 16% increase on pre lockdown levels.

Local Authorities launched the #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign to support social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdown and recovery, with £5 million of emergency funding made available through the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund (MCF).

This additional Government funding will advance the Greater Manchester wide campaign to provide pop-up infrastructure and temporary measures to enable safe essential travel for all Greater Manchester residents.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester has set out bold plans to create more space for cycling and walking across our city-region and we’re pleased the Government has backed our ambitions. These measures will help people in every borough of Greater Manchester to take advantage of safer, healthier alternatives to public transport and the car while social distancing remains in place. The political consensus around prioritising active travel is becoming stronger by the day and this is emerging as one area where Greater Manchester and the whole country is set to build back better.”

Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, added: “This emergency funding has empowered Greater Manchester leaders to take immediate action and provide safe travel options for their residents to get to and from key areas.

“By creating temporary space for people to cycle and walk along major protected routes, local authorities can support those who want to do their bit to help save public transport for people who need it most. This will also ensure that the third of Greater Manchester households who don’t have access to a car are not denied the right to safe travel options.

“These are big changes to make and I commend the local authorities for mobilising so quickly and showing bravery and commitment in reallocating space. Their actions will truly make a difference to social inclusion during this emergency situation and make sure everyone has access to safe travel.”

A list of the Safe Streets Save Lives tranche one schemes are listed on TfGM’s website with further information available via the local authorities.

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