Bury Labour has welcomed the innovative new plan to create 64 miles of new cycling and walking routes locally, as part of a proposal for Greater Manchester to create the UK’s biggest network for people travelling by bike or on foot.
As well as the new routes, five miles of Dutch-style segregated cycling lanes and 71 new or upgraded crossing points are being proposed to better connect every community in the district and to make cycling and walking a real alternative to the car.
The plans are part of a new 1,000 mile long network – named Beelines – which will be the largest joined-up network in the UK and has been developed with all 10 of the local authorities that make up Greater Manchester.
Around 250 million car journeys of less than one kilometre are made per year in Greater Manchester, the equivalent of a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride. A large proportion of those trips are school runs. In the Netherlands, 50% of children bike to school every day. In Greater Manchester the number is less than 2%. Beelines aims to make walking and cycling the natural choice for short journeys.
Labour Councillor Rishi Shori, Leader of Bury Council, said: “Our region suffers from some of the worst levels of air pollution in the country, which has serious consequences for people’s health. We need to create a modern, green and sustainable conurbation where residents are encouraged and enabled to make more short journeys by foot and on their bikes.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “I have no doubt that Chris Boardman and Bury Council will do us proud and make journeys on foot or by bike the first choice for local trips. This will help to tackle congestion and it will help to tackle poor air quality, as well as boosting people’s health and fitness levels. We have £160m to get us started and we have a plan that has something in it for every single person in Greater Manchester.”
Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “I have been massively impressed by the political will of Bury Council to come together to make this plan a reality. It’s not really about people using bikes and walking; it’s about making better places to live and work by giving normal people a real choice about how they travel. In doing so, we will make the city region healthier and more prosperous.”
Maps showing the proposed plans for each local authority in Greater Manchester have today been published on Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s website. The proposed routes and crossing points have also been published on open data website mappinggm.org.uk, where interested members of the public can collaborate on the plans for their area. The plans represent the first iteration of the network that could be expected to be delivered over the next four years. A second iteration of the map will be published later in the year.
Chris Boardman added: “Planners, engineers and most importantly, local people in each district led on creating the first draft of these plans, which will evolve in the months and years ahead. By involving local people from the very first stage, and enabling them to inform the details of each proposed route and crossing, we will get the outcome they need, not what we think they need.
“That’s why we’ve taken the decision to create a first draft then immediately make it available to the public. This will be Greater Manchester’s network and it’s important that residents’ voices are the loudest, that they own it from start to finish.”
Mayor Andy Burnham made the decision in March to allocate £160 million of the government’s Transforming Cities fund to the project which brings the total spend on cycling and walking in Greater Manchester to around £15 per head. This funding is at the levels seen in great global cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Further funding streams are currently being identified in partnership with TfGM and the 10 local authorities.