Greater Manchester confirms £3.1m emergency active travel measures

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

The schemes across Greater Manchester districts aim to 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 re-open.

Following submission of a funding bid developed by Greater Manchester districts, the UK Department for Transport has responded with confirmation that an initial £3.1m will be provided to deliver the first phase. In recognition of the ambition shown in the region’s bid for tranche 1 schemes, Greater Manchester received all of its allocation.

Councils have worked alongside the GMCA and Transport for Greater Manchester 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 designed to 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 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, said GMCA. This reportedly equates to an estimated one million cycle trips being made each week, an average 16% increase on pre-lockdown levels.

Local authorities have also launched the #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign to support social distancing during coronavirus lockdown and recovery, with £5m of emergency funding made available through mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.

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.

Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “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.”