Greater Manchester launches ‘UK’s largest’ cycle network

Transport for Greater Manchester and cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman have revealed what is claimed to be the UK’s largest cycling network, covering 1,000 miles of routes and 75 miles of “Dutch-style” segregated bike lanes.

The project, named Beelines, follows Boardman’s report to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, published in December last year, and outlines around 1,000 miles of cycle routes, 1,400 new crossings, and more than 75 miles of segregated cycle lanes on existing roads.

Initial estimates suggest the routes will be “cost-effective and fast to implement” with the new infrastructure in place “as early as 2023”.

The programme is targeting at least one protected cycle corridor per local authority in Greater Manchester, and each borough has a target for the number of upgraded crossings, including:

  • 124 new or upgraded crossings in Bolton
  • 71 in Bury
  • 279 in Manchester
  • 80 in Oldham
  • 136 in Rochdale
  • 194 in Salford
  • 123 in Stockport
  • 63 in Tameside
  • 155 in Trafford
  • 183 in Wigan

Overall, the interventions are estimated to open up 92% of the existing network to cyclists across the whole of Greater Manchester.

A £160m cycling and walking challenge fund has already been made available to kick-start the project, and Planit-IE has created visualisations of how the proposed junctions and infrastructure will look.

Boardman said: “The proposed network is not for people who already cycle or walk for the majority of their journeys. Its focus is to enable the two thirds of people who currently use their car, as their main mode of transport.

“Numerous surveys have told us they do this because at present, cycling and walking doesn’t feel safe, attractive or easy. We need thousands of Greater Manchester residents to look out of their car windows and think: ‘That appeals to me.’ In the few places where we have safe, attractive infrastructure, that is exactly what has happened.”

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