Executive to meet with councillors about cycle lanes #CycleLanesJustice

The pressure is working. Over the last week people who want open, transparent and agile action on pop-up cycle lanes have been writing to their MPs and to their councillors (especially those who sit on the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee. It now emerges that the Executive Member for Environment, Transport and Planning is to meet with councillors who have raised concerns about the lack of co-ordinated action by Manchester City Council with the other local authorities with whom it shares a border. According to a letter sent by a councillor to a resident (we are withholding the names), ” The Exec member is arranging a meeting for those cllrs who raised concerns with her about this in order to inform the next round of this emergency active travel funding.”  When this meeting will be, whether it will be minuted, whether the details of it would be released short of a FOIA, remain to be seen… In any case, there will be questions raised at the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee this Wednesday, at 2pm. CEM is organising a pre-meeting at 1.30pm.
There is also CEM’s regular monthly online meeting, happening from 7pm tonight (Monday 22nd).  If you want the addresses and passwords for these, please email contact@climateemergencymanchester.net
Here is the letter forwarded to CEM:
Hi [resident],
Thank you for the email – I hope you are well and enjoyed your weekend and made use of the dry weather!

I’ve had a fairly positive response from our neighbours about the bid put in by the Council totalling £600,000 for cycling and pedestrians, a lot of which is being spent in and around the city centre. There was initial concern when it appeared Manchester did not put any bid in, which was contrary to my knowledge, but once it was established that we put in a larger bid then most GM authorities and the details of that bid was shared, many were satisfied that attention was being given to pedestrians and cyclists. I’m always happy to talk about the investment being spent in, and adjacent, to my ward on the committees I sit on and I’m sure it’ll be brought up at the committee.

I’ve looked at the Government’s statements when they’ve released this money, it appears this was funding they initially ring-fenced for cycling and pedestrian provision to be allocated over 5 years, but decided to just release it now. Given the likely recession (and as they are Tories, we know what is likely to follow in regards to austerity), it is slightly concerning that authorities are spending all this funding on temporary schemes when future funding hasn’t been guaranteed. I support the approach to spend the money on a mix of temporary and permanent schemes, whilst reviewing the temporary schemes seeing if we can make them permanent (which I’d support).

I’ve listed the initiatives that the bid will cover below:

Deansgate temporary closurePoint closure to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridor

Deansgate temporary adjustments/Social distancing extensions & mitigationsFurther measures to extend and mitigate the reallocation of road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridor

Phased Programme to begin fill in gaps in existing cycle network in Manchester:

Phase 1

1) Stretford Road (Hulme) – Missing Westbound Cycle Lane between Chorlton Road & Zion Arts Centre

2) Lower Mosley Street Missing Northbound Cycle Lane

3) Albert Street (Beswick) – Road Closure

4) Princess Road Cycle Contraflow Major Street to Portland Street,

5) Parsonage Road (Withington)

The “Triangle” to support people moving around Manchester city centre- form mass transit hubsConnecting Piccadilly, Deansgate, Victoria and Salford Central railway stations and then bus hubs at Piccadilly Gardens, Shudehill and Chorlton Street. Various interventions supported by cycle stands at each station to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridor

Shudehill temporary one way system – Point closure as a trial for Northern Quarter scheme to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridor

Closure of Stevenson Square (as part of Northern Quarter scheme) – Point Closure for the reallocation of road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridors

Closure of Ducie Street – London Road to Dale Street (as part of Northern Quarter scheme) – Point closure for the reallocation of road space to cyclists and pedestrians, on strategic corridors

Withington – east west connections – From Wilmslow Road cycleway to Withington Hospital and improved pedestrian crossings, filtered neighbourhood and improved connections to cycleways. Roads to include Wellington Road and Copson Street.  Will include Modal filters and possible point closures

– Wythenshaw walking and cycling improvements – provide either point closures or modal filters on streets around Wythenshaw hospital to encourage walking & cycling and at Northenden, Simon’s Bridge/Ford Lane, (Part of Trans Pennine Trail NCN 62) improve the unsurfaced are on Both Approaches to Bridge (200m)

– North Manchester Schools walking and cycling support – Point closures, filtered neighbourhoods and new 20mph zones to promote active travel and improve safety

As the Exec made clear, there have been a number of Cllrs (including myself) who raised concerns that we aren’t linking up with other GM authorities. The Exec member is arranging a meeting for those cllrs who raised concerns with her about this in order to inform the next round of this emergency active travel funding. I believe there are a number of connections we can easily make in regards to the temporary cycle lanes, but of course money spent on making those connections now is money not spent on permanent schemes. Any temporary lanes funded need to be sturdy so it’s not constantly needing attention from an already stretched council staff team, I’ve seen some pictures from the pop-up cycle lanes where they have been thrown about by the weather and cars pay no attention to them, so any temporary schemes do need to be done properly absolutely.

Have a good week

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