There’s more evidence that new cycle routes increase the number of cycle trips from Sustrans this week.
A new section of the National Cycle Network along an improved canal towpath has proven a hit with locals in Sale and Stretford. An estimated 180 per cent increase in pedestrians and cyclists using the route has been measured, with the majority using it for commuting to work.
Sustrans worked with the Peel Group and Trafford Council to upgrade the two-mile stretch of towpath along the Bridgewater Canal.
Sustrans has surveyed users at two points along the canal before and after completion and found an average 180 per cent increase in estimated annual use across the two points, with almost a quarter of a million journeys per year estimated at Sale.
Also at Sale, over six in ten users said they could have made their journey by car, but decide to leave it at home to walk or cycle instead. Cycling has proved increasingly popular on the towpath, with an average increase of 380 per cent across the route.
Peter Green, Sustrans’ area manager in Manchester, said: “These statistics really speak for themselves and once more prove that people want to make their local journeys on foot or by bike and feel much more comfortable in safe and attractive spaces.
“The Bridgewater Way is a key link in the local traffic free network that allows people of all ages to make the journeys they want without the need to rely upon the car.”
Louise Morrissey, Director of Land and Planning at Peel said, “This two-mile section is the first part of the Bridgewater Way route in Trafford. Bridgewater Way is 39 miles in length and when completed will create a route that will attract over half a million visitors a year, create up to 350 new jobs and bring over £6 million into the local economy.
“The increase in estimated annual use is astonishing and we are pleased that a safer and more pleasant environment has been created along the towpath for all to enjoy. We are looking forward to developing the next phase of the project, linking towards the Trafford Centre and Barton Aqueduct.”
Chairman of the Bridgewater Way Steering Group, Cllr Ken Weston, said: “I am delighted to see all the hard work that went into upgrading the towpath paying off, providing a route that the entire community can use. The route is encouraging people to leave their cars at home and enjoy much healthier ways of travelling, while keeping Trafford’s roads clearer and safer at the same time. This is so important, particularly at peak times when children are walking to and from school.
“As a Council, we will continue to try to access as much external funding as possible to enable more projects like this to get off the ground.”