Letter in #Manchester Evening News on pop-up cycle lanes: “Council has failed to make brave decisions”

Here below is the text of the letter. The reference to the FOIA is this.  If you think Manchester City Council needs to be scrutinised more closely over what it is and is not doing, and you live, work or study within its boundaries, then PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE THE PETITION FOR A SEVENTH SCRUTINY COMMITTEE.  Thank you!

Tristan Quinn of Walk Ride Rochdale puts his finger on the problem in the article “1.3m revamp to make canal a cut above for cyclists and walkers” by Niall Griffith (MEN, 8th August). He says “it’s more of a leisure route. Unless you’re going to a destination directly on the canal it’s not going to benefit you greatly.”

This is the latest example of a high profile but geographically isolated project – what I call “Heroic Infrastructure” – particular pieces of infrastructure which seem to hold out the promise for a better world (cleaner air, greater safety etc). While they display some mix of policy, social or technological innovation, ultimately they are used to argue against other, less sexy but more widespread solutions. For example pop-up cycles lanes.
Following a Freedom of Information Act request that Tameside Council had the courtesy to answer in full (Manchester Council did not), we now know, in the words of a senior Manchester City Council official that  – despite vague assurances – Manchester Council is “not proposing any pop up cycle lanes”.  
If the Council had bothered to be brave and innovate with that infrastructure, people without cars could have cycled to work, instead of having to crowd onto public transport.  You would hope that such a basic social justice innovation would be within the capacity of a Labour council with an overwhelming majority. Instead we get more distracting bling which doesn’t help working people.
Marc Hudson

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