The case for “pop-up” cycle lanes is so close to being open-and-shut, it is genuinely baffling to understand what reasons MCC might have for their reluctance. As @ClimateEmergMcr tweeted not long ago:
It’s a public health issue.
It’s a social justice issue.
It’s an air quality issue.
It’s a climate change issue. #multisolving
Why don’t MCC see it as the obvious thing to do? If they can’t manage a few pop-up bike lanes, what credence do we give their wider zero carbon plans!
— Climate Emergency Manchester (@ClimateEmergMcr) June 15, 2020
And yet, here we are. So what is to be done? Well, my colleague Marc posted some thoughts about what you can do over the next few days. But what can be changed, structurally, to increase the chances of a) not getting into this kind of ludicrous mess in the first place, and b) if we do, giving it the attention it deserves?
One idea would be to lobby the Council to create a seventh Scrutiny Committee, one dedicated to climate and the environment. The existing “NESC” (Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee) does technically already include this – but because of the many other important things it also has to consider, there simply isn’t enough attention given to this sort of issue. A dedicated C&E scrutiny committee could do a much better job of holding the Council Executive to account, something they historically do not like.
So, how do we persuade the turkeys to uh, vote for Christmas? We force a vote using the Council’s own petition scheme, which they are legally obliged to debate and vote on at a Full Council session, if the necessary (4000) signatures are obtained. The link between our petition and pop-up bike lanes, housing retrofits, protection of local ecologies or any other “green” issues may seem tenuous, but at CEM we believe it’s a way to give Manchester citizens a much stronger voice within the Council, one that is sorely needed given the lack of actual (helpful) action.
If you’re not happy about the MCC’s response to this issue and want them to be more responsible to its residents, please sign our petition online. If you’ve already done that – please tweet the link and ask others who live, work or study in Manchester to sign it.
 The Council has done plenty of “acting” – buying up old retail sites to turn into car parks next to schools, approving planning applications for expensive apartment blocks during lockdown, removing existing cycling provision from major routes through the city.