Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, has unveiled an innovative new plan to create a city-region-wide cycling and walking network made up of more than 1,000 miles of routes, including 75 miles of Dutch-style segregated bike lanes.
The ‘Beelines’ network will be the largest joined-up system of walking and cycling routes in the UK and has been developed with all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities.
Once built, the network will better connect every community in Greater Manchester, benefitting 2.7 million people and making cycling and walking a real alternative to the car.
The proposals also include plans for 1,400 safer road crossings on the majority of routes and 25 ‘filtered neighbourhoods’, where priority will be given to the movement of people and where more public spaces to sit, play and socialise will be created.
People in Greater Manchester make around 250 million car journeys of less than one kilometre each year – the equivalent of a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride.
A large proportion of these trips are school runs. In the Netherlands, 50% of children cycle 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.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester has a long history of doing innovative things and our approach to Beelines is no different.
“This proposal is bold and I make no apology for that. If we’re to cut congestion and clean up our air, decisive action is needed. I want to make Greater Manchester one of the top 10 places in the world to live and it’s action of this sort which will help to deliver that promise.
“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.”
Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “I’ve been massively impressed by the political will of all of Greater Manchester’s 10 authorities 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 people a real choice about how they travel. In doing so, we’ll make the city -region healthier and more prosperous.
“We’ve seen from other global cities that these methods work and the benefits are there for all to see – we simply can't afford to be left behind.
“So now the hard work begins and we’ll be working closely with all local authorities and partners to deliver this plan as urgently as possible.”
Click here to read the full Press Release: Transport for Greater Manchester
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