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COMMENT | Manchester’s recovery is about ‘putting people first’

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Friday will see the deadline for cities across the UK to submit their bids to the £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund, supporting ‘bold’ and ‘speedy’ action to create pop-up infrastructure for cycling and walking, writes Steve Connor, chief executive of Creative Concern

Greater Manchester will be one of those submitting a bid, with around £16m possibly earmarked for the city region.

The Emergency Active Travel Fund will support measures to create segregated routes into our towns and cities, in particular making it possible for thousands of city centre workers to get back into offices when lockdown is loosened.

The routes for Greater Manchester under discussion include some the major arteries into the city centre such as the A6, A56 and A5103. The pop-up measures, including barriers, planters and ‘wands’, could lead to longer-term infrastructure making more space for bikes and people choosing to walk.

Rescuing space for cycling into our city safely is an economically smart move. Public transport is currently being discouraged by Government and will be running at radically reduced capacity. More than a third of households don’t even own a car and the road space we do have has no capacity whatsoever for an uplift in personal car use.

People-powered travel is the best and probably only option to get the city back to work en masse and across Greater Manchester the shift is already underway. Last week alone saw a 42% increase in cycling as all other modes continued to show relatively little change. It’s heartening growth, but after all cycling should be a pretty easy sell for Manchester, with a relatively flat landscape and over three-quarters of all journeys taken being less than five miles.

When the city starts to come back online, ideally through people choosing to leave their car, if they have one, at home, then a recently assembled collective of experts, businesses, local residents and activists has put forward a vision of a new kind of city centre, almost entirely free from private cars.

In our draft vision we’ve called this the ’20 minute city’ because inside the inner ring road encircling Manchester city centre and skirting city centre Salford, everything you could want is about 20 minutes’ walk away, or even less depending upon your level of mobility. If you alight at Victoria, Piccadilly or Oxford Road, you are likely to be a short walk from where you need to be. If you have to drive to a parking area somewhere on the edge of the city centre, again, you’re just minutes away from live, work or play. And if you’ve taken the even smarter choice and chosen to cycle, it’s the 10-minute, not the 20-minute city.

This alternative vision of a car-free city centre is where businesses thrive because it’s people that spend money, not cars. Imagine the ‘City as a Park’ where the space we’ve liberated from cars can become playful and forever green. Currently, at least 8% of our surface area in the city centre is for parking cars; this needs to change and is a wasted resource. The spaces and places we enjoy across the city centre can become more animated, leaner, greener and cleaner – with people put first in urban design.

As you start to feel the seasons change, we believe the experience of the city centre will be transformed. Spaces will be shared, and enjoyed. In fact we already know what this looks like – anyone been to St Peter’s Square recently? Cars don’t make a space vibrant and beautiful, all too often they are its undoing.

This vision is of a more inclusive city centre, not least because the vast majority of people who already travel into the city centre don’t do so by car, and yet the noise, pollution and danger of cars is pervasive and felt by all. With lockdown in place, air quality has seen a dramatic and swift improvement, more than 70% improved in Manchester city centre. Grasping the opportunity to keep the air clean and the noise levels down has to be of paramount importance as we work to ‘build back better’ and drive an economic recovery.

More green and permeable spaces will also make us more resilient to the climate emergency; trees, parks and green spaces instead of car parks and traffic queues will pay dividends even in the near future; and, of course, we will sound, feel and look like a premier global city, joining the ranks of a huge number of cities that are deciding urban centres are for people, not cars.

We all know that a perfect world can be the enemy of a good one, but the details will matter in securing a car-free city. Car-free does not include essential access for the disabled, or indeed for the emergency services. If you need to make bulky deliveries, pick up an elderly relative from hospital or carry equipment of some kind, we’ll need a permitting system for occasional trips.

The car needs, at most, to be an occasional guest in our city centre – certainly not the guest of honour.

A fund of £16m to help more pop-up cycleways will help us on our way to making walking, cycling and then public transport the only ways in which you’d choose to come into the city. Post-Covid change is inevitable and already across the world cities are making this shift in the way people move around their dense urban centres. If we want to be a magnet for talent and famed for our progressive approach and great quality of life, this cleaner and greener transition has to start now.

Steve Connor is chief executive of Creative Concern, a communications agency.

The collective that is building the car-free vision detailed above includes Urbed, Civic Engineers, Planit-IE, Sustrans, Living Streets, WalkRide GM, Love Your Bike, GM Cycling Campaign, as well as academics, local residents and concerned businesses.

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Great article. Ignore some of the car-gammon troll comments you’ll inevitably get on here. Onwards and upwards towards a walking & cycling-friendly city!!

By Anonymous

Wow great stuff, wonder what our leaders in Liverpool pull out, maybe copy and paste the above if they haven’t anything prepared yet!

By Liv once

This sounds great but what about people that cant cycle, walk or drive due to health conditions? Also what about if you have a lot of shopping with you? I totally have to rely on public transport for hospital appointments and to go to support groups.

By Diane

Yeah, this is a great idea. We need to think beyond COVID-19 and into a world where we can, as you say, “Imagine the ‘City as a Park”. To do this we need vast improvements in public transport to get people into the city – and not just the outskirts that current rail transport provides, but right into the heart like Metrolink. Recruitment agencies have been saying for years, it is difficult to fill jobs in the city centre as much of GM don’t have easy public transport options.

This means improving the existing rail access to have the current loop line around the city centre as an all stationer line – Every train stops at every station in the main loop (Victoria, Salford Central, Deansgate, Oxford Rd, Piccadilly – and removing freight from this line) – that allows fast trains and slow trains the opportunity to improve frequencies on that stretch, people to get off at the station closest to their location, every station to act as a transfer station and even an inner-city transport option for hop on/off movement around the city centre. It will come at the cost of increased time for long distance passengers travelling through the city (e.g. north to the airport) but benefit the majority of people. This won’t affect most long distance services either.

Secondly, we need to extend Metrolink. It needs to go to far more areas, especially in the central part of Manchester within the M60. Metrolink is not suitable for long distances outside the M60 as it is too slow if used outside of segregated historical rail lines and even on them, with a two car max, it’s not ideal.

Thirdly, we need to start investing in proper, underground metro systems like any other city our size in Europe. We have the population. We have the density in some areas. And like Metrolink, these lines can cross the city centre, dropping people where they need to go.

When we do this, we can Imagine the ‘City as a Park’, where people can arrive at a station close to their destination, and walk the remaining short distance.

By EOD

Liverpool’s not doing bad either, but this is great news for Manchester. We all need to be much more ambitious about getting cars out of city centres and planting lots of trees!

By The Crows

Fortunately, I can afford a car. When it`s pouring with rain I will overtake you on your bicycle, and try not to splash you. Cars and fuel duty are here to stay. The war against cars is a losing battle. Accept this fact.

By Resent what you aint got.

@ Resent what you aint got.

I was hesitant to respond to your comment as its so bizarre but I still think its worth picking up a couple of points.

I am also fortunate enough to be able to afford a car, however I often choose to use my bicycle as a means of transport and would like to do so more.

Walking and cycling are not purely about affordability. There are also environmental and health considerations.

There is a climate crisis at the moment and cutting carbon emissions from road traffic is essential part of tackling this. Vehicle emissions are also a key contributor to poor air quality, particuarly in urban areas, which can contribute to a variety of health conditions and even lead to preventable deaths. We should therefore look to encoruage people out of their cars to address these issues.

Additonally, as a country we have high rates of obesity and it is widely acknowledged that most of us are not undertaking enough exercise. Walking and cycling are forms of exercise.

Thanks

By Anonymous

I live 20 miles north of Manchester. Travelling by car is generally OK. Public transport is possible but it can take 1.5-2 hours door to door not 45 minutes – 60 minutes and for a family of 4 (with 2 teenagers) by bus would cost between £30-£35. We don’t have direct access to rail or Metrolink and at the moment the car is the only real option.

By Anonymous

As a car driver and cyclist – this is all good stuff! The single biggest issue is MCC – they have not done a thing except Deansgate (which was planned anyway) to make cycling safer or walking nicer (big public realm issues). The outer boroughs have done what they can but the city centre is so key and MCC are jeopardising all the good work the other GM councils have done. I fear unless the city centre changes quickly this will fail as it is very difficult to cycle and the public realm is poor so people do not like walking.

By XY

I like EOD’s comments.

By Elephant

This article hits the nail on the head – get these measures implemented asap!!

By Anon

Totally agree with the sentiment here. I would love to see the council introduce this in a well thought out way. Unfortunately, the initial step of closing 200m of Deansgate has not been introduced alongside a well researched wider strategy for meaningfully pushing traffic out of the centre. It has simply meant that traffic and buses have been pushed down the St Mary’s Parsonage alongside Parsonage Gardens, taking away from one of the places that we should be protecting and preserving as a community space. I would love to see all of the above come into play alongside strategies which would protect green spaces, encourage sustainable travel and prevent traffic simply relocating to other areas which are not suitable to support it.

By Anonymous

Maybe I’ve missed the point but every major city should put its people first every day of the week

By PL

The sooner we stop listening to these idiots the better, face facts cars are not the problem if used properly, ie if i want to drive from the city centre to my house approx 6 miles away it should not take over an hr. The reason it takes over an hr is because of restrictions on lines like salford cresent 3 lanes then reduced to 2 lanes now to 1 lane, traffic backs up all the way down chapel street while bus’s with 3 people on go wizzing by. Open up the roads, stop using silly one way systems to force all cars onto one road. Sequence traffic lights properly to keep traffic moving and the pollution won’t be as bad as 100’s of cars all sat stationary. I work near victoria station and the station near my house is 5 mins walk. Could i get the train? Yes i could but its £6 a day and takes me to Piccadilly then its a tram at another £3 then a 5 min walk all in all about an hr and £9 per day. Car is £4 to park next to the office, warm comfy and being paid for so why choose to leave it at home. This is the vue of thousands of car owners so you will never win, if you car about the environment so much sort the roads out. I do use my bike to come to work some times during the summer as its a nice ride down the canal but i’ll avoid roads at all cost because roads are for cars not cyclists. Every cyclist i come across are angry about any car on the road near them, they hog the roads never use the cycle lanes and ride 2 3 abreast across the street purposely to annoy motorists. If you want to ride your bike thats fine but use the lines provided and avoid roads where possible. Manchester isn’t a park its a City which existing because of the Industrial revolution started here, i am proud of that fact and it should be embraced not turned into a kids playground.

By anon

A good point made about obesity, but the obese get rewarded motability cars, along with inflated benefits which is an insult to the working poor, though I won`t go into that. Cars are nothing to do with obesity though.Obesity is a different problem and if losing weight risks losing motability then there`s no incentive.
What we need is more, better & cheaper parking outside the city centre, There`s far more that`s not been thought about because an underground metro will not be coming soon. Taking the car away from Deansgate, Albert Square etc is not a bad idea, but this is the city of Manchester, not Manchester Hamlet. If you do not like cities go and live in a rural area.

By Resent what you aint got.

doesnt like pollution then goes to live or shop in a city lol

By Anonymous

Anonymous (above, the 20miles North one) perfectly illustrates the current problem with public transport in Manchester. His/her points are entirely valid as for some people, existing public transport is simply not a viable option. Even if they want to use public transport, they can’t because the time it takes to get in, is far too long and the costs for families can be far too high.

The other question is, is 20 miles from Manchester where we need to focus on public transport? Is it too far out to be considered in a viable public transport area? This will depend on a number of factors, including the density and population of that area, proximity to other competing towns and existing rail connections (if they already exist, but require upgrading, then it adds to the viability).

While we need to focus on improving public transport into MCR, we still need to provide for those who live in areas that just don’t have public transport options or viability, and a great deal of the hinterland around MCR are areas like this.

There will be other reasons people may choose to drive into town. Also as mentioned, it’s just easier sometimes with families on the weekend, or going to the cinema or shopping for large items. We still need to attract these people in and cars maybe necessary. While this may be the case also for some commuters, I think there could still be a strong case to encourage as many permanent commuters to use public transport by improving it for them, or them moving to a place where it exists.

That said, as we improve public transport as a whole and attract more people to use it, this will free up road space for those car drivers that just have to drive for no fault of their own or even the ones like “Resent what you aint got” who just really care about themselves – which is all the more reason why public transport should be subsidised – if everyone subsidises public transport via tax, then it is spread over a wide population, decreasing everyone’s payments and overall costs – everyone benefits including the diehard car drivers as the roads will be more empty for them, so more pleasurable to drive on, less congestion and thus lower fuel costs.

The problem is convincing the “Resent what you aint got” folks in the world as they often are not the types that see the bigger picture.

By EOD

I’ve also got a lot of time for EOD

By Anon

Central Manc looks hell for cyclists at the moment – dodging diesel spewing buses and crossing hellish junctions. This can only be applauded and the key is that “collective of experts, businesses, local residents and activists” recognise that giving over a chunk of your city to commuter traffic, which doesn’t spend that much money, is dull. Go for it. Manchester was once Britain’s Detroit – a donut city. Tackling the traffic is the one last major step needed to take it into “world city” league.

By Sceptic

EOD Follow your passions but dont expect everyone else to.

By tree hugging Nick

It will be great. Can’t drive into town, can’t catch a diesel spewing bus into town.

@ EOD ‘imagine the city as a park It’s a city and that is why what you want will never happen. We haven’t got the right climate for a start.

By Fallowfield

I am also in agreement with eod’s comments. For years I have chelped on about the necessary efforts and investment in a 21st century rapid transport system, ie an underground metro. Take Victoria to Piccadilly as an example, its an opportunity to connect and expand the city centre. I would say 5 stations,,, Victoria,, Angel meadow, Ancoats West, New Islington, Ancoats East and on to Picadilly (loathe that name btw,, I prefer Store Street /Central, HS2 connection). Then the much discussed Pic~Cornbrook line, again an opportunity to expand the city west. Possible stations at Medfield Park, circle square, Oxford Road, First Street, Deansgate, Water Street /Liverpool Road and Cornbrook and ultimately connect Cornbrook with Salford Central, Blackfriars and Victoria. I have had an idea for a while now to push for overhead or elevated cycle lanes, especially at roundabouts and junctions, 5m wide. Maybe green surface coating 2 red stripes central along with rubber bollards lit with led’s. Indeed there is some space up on the viaduct that runs down to g~mex /central station also maybe incorporate 1/2 story buildings. Maybe hempcrete and a lil steel would be suitable materials. Locations I have thought of are Ancoats, both along and across at 5/6 points also 7/8 points across the Mancunian way. These overheads also create covered walkways, which can be lit and also provide space for bike parks and recharge points for e~bikes. Norman Foster envisaged a similar idea when he was working on the London Olympics,,,,, they missed a big trick there!

By Robert Fuller

Simply build, long overdue metro system. Vic~Pic (loathe that name btw, prefer Store Street) stops at Angel meadow, Ancoats West, new Islington, Ancoats East, Store St. Along with much discussed line to Cornbrook, then connect the dots via Salford Central back to Victoria. Elevated bike lanes, 5m across, 4.5 m high. Locations such as junctions and roundabouts maybe even across 1/2 story buildings. Lit with led’s and construction materials such as hempcrete and sterl/aluminum. They should be dynamic and exciting and they save lives as bikes/e~bikes are not in contact with cars. Also these overheads create covered walkways which can also be used for bike parking and recharge points. The supports can accommodate planting and lighting. One possibility could be a provision for a bike lane on the viaduct that runs down to the gmex /central station underneath the proposed Viadux development,,, that would be amazing, dynamic. A similar idea was proposed at the Olympic games in 2012,,, I really think they missed a trick there,,

By Robert Fuller

It is a pie in the sky argument. there is never going to be any subterranean public transport. it is what it is. a few more streets might get pedestrianised, and there might be a few new bike lanes, but thats all. nothing is going to change. if you dont want bad air then the best thing would be to go and live somewhere like derbyshire. also let me say that some of these environmental green types need to have a word with themselves because they are just as extreme and potentially dangerous.

By Vauxhall corsa

@Robert Fuller….Simply build, long overdue metro system.
Don`t hold your breath or dwell on fantasy. It`s just nothing but rhetoric.

By Anonymous

This is happening, get in front of it and steer it!

Far more people will be cycling and walking thanks to plans to boost greener, active transport, launched today (9 May 2020) by Transport Secretary Grant  Shapps .

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund – the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.

By Pragmatic Progressive

We need to build lots more park and rides about 5/6 miles from the MCR city centre with approx 300/400 cars places at each one, just think if there was about over 25 park and rides, with regular buses going past em every 5/10 minutes. There is loads of land just of motorways for park and rides places.. In the great City of Salford, we have Clifton train station which has got lots of land around it to build a park and ride. Citizens from kearsley, farnworth, and Bolton plus the surrounding areas can park there cars to can use this train station to go to work and back, but sadly for many years, it’s got 1(yes one) train stopping at 7.05am(towards town) and 1 train stopping at 6.45pm(from town). Salford council should get in touch with the train authorities and get a lot more trains to use this train station, WE NEED TO CUT TRAFFIC.. Also we need to take back all the greater Manchester bus companies and put them into one big company like in the 1970s with orange buses of SELNEC, then the orange buses of GM BUSES in the 1980/90s. At the moment we have about 5 big companies in the GM area like stagecoach, first bus, diamond buses, go northwest buses etc, all charging different ticket prices and picking the best profitable routes.Andy Burnham has been trying to sort this out for a couple of years. Also we need to extend metrolink further, places like Bolton and Wigan . WE NEED TO CUT TRAFFIC and sort it out now.

By Darren born and bred in Salford

@Resent what you aint got, I disagree with you when you say we need more carparks outside the city centre. That’s just not going to happen in any extensive way. That inner city ring is just too valuable for residential and commercial properties. It might be a new thing in MCR, but this land area is the second most valuable land outside the central core and the trend in the rest of the world has not been to fill it with car parks.

@Fellowfield, the City as a Park phrase is all about shifting the focus of a city from cars to people – and people is what cities are all about. A city can still be a city if the focus isn’t about cars and weather has a lot less effect than you imagine. Manchester can be a seriously grim place in the heart of winter, but that doesn’t stop the throngs of people walking through the Xmas markets paying far too much for a terrible sausage. You can go to so many cities in Northern Europe, places with equally challenging climates and see how they have turned the focus from cars to people. That said you still have a valid point when bringing up the weather. Cycling & walking are great during good weather, but we can’t rely on them during bad weather. The solution is thinking through the problem. Public transport could be one answer, something better than that horrid free bus loop we have (an inner city Metrolink loop connecting to the main network maybe?). Another is the what Canadian or Japanese cities have done, extensive underground public walkways so during bad weather people can still get around in comfort (Australian/NZ cities also have extensive use of awnings to protect against rain and sun). I’m not saying these are the solutions we need, just that there are ways to solve problems rather than blanket rejection.

By EOD

Anon (6 miles from city center) you appear to defeat your own argument. You say you could cycle, but Manchester isn’t geared up for cycling, and you say you could use public transport, but it is not a joined up integrated efficient system. Isn’t that the point? Isn’t’ the point that there needs to needs to be for a decent modern livable city?

By Loganberry

As a business set in the heart of Manchester in the Northern Quarter I’d like to enthusiastically endorse the contents of this article. Not just for the sustainability and growth of the Northern Quarter but for the whole of the city centre.

The high streets and city centres across the country have to reinvent themselves. We have known this for at least a decade, as internet shopping and working practices have changed clinging to old car-centric thinking will simply be death by a thousand cuts.

In some places this change seem remarkably old fashioned; a return to small local providers of things like groceries happens not because of nostalgia but because active travel allows people the opportunity to shop more often, making places more pleasant to slow down and hang out encourages this. Less may be purchased because of carrying capacity but over time little and often has proven to be greater spend than big and infrequent.

Stopping locally is easy if walking or cycling past but the temptation when driving is to simply wait for the weekend ‘big shop’. Providing subsidised parking to overcome this is unsustainable in simple space terms and incredibly inefficient compared to the increase in footfall that cycleways, improved pavements and other amenity bring. The short term cash gains of parking fees are tempting but also self defeating.

If you travel around the satellite towns of Netherlands you don’t see wasteland high streets in decline because the larger cities and out of town shopping have sucked all the trade out, you see thriving local economies with people making use of the infrastructure to regularly cycle and walk around their high street. This supports smaller, often independent and family businesses, that greatly help in creating a sense of place and somewhere people feel they belong. This creates a virtuous circle of economic sustainability as more money stays within the local economy and is inevitably reinvested within it.

This is not anti-car, there is still a place for vehicles to make deliveries, trades to operate from, pick up large loads, transport families longer distances and to places poorly covered by public transport but it is about accepting they do less to sustain our city centres than the commitment in space and infrastructure warrants and it is time to rebalance how we use the streets before it is too late.

We are entering a period where office based businesses will have to reevaluate their presence within the city, retail will have to adapt to new ways of shopping and hospitality sector, which has a symbiotic relationship with the former two, will need to be more tempting than ever in order to maintain the vibrancy and economic opportunity which is the purpose of a city in the first place. The car forms a minuscule part of this rather than the main focus it has been for the last few decades. Bring on a car-free city, bring on the city as a park, bring on the vibrancy, greenery and fun that can be had when we no longer have to dedicate huge swathes of space to storing people private property in the mistaken belief this is the only option. We need to be quick and we need to be bold.

By NQHQmcr

In-line with the above we need better signposting & way finding to green space& green corridors. GM has more ( as much ) green space as any other UK city & with greater usage will improve the lives off all , visitors & residents.

By Joe Webb

If they want to turn the North West largest business centre into a cyclists fun park they better start building offices in th suburbs

By Lee

@NQHQmcr, perfectly said.

One of the big differences you notice in MCR compared not just to the Netherlands, but most developed cities in Europe and the new world (except some deprived parts of the US) is the lack of urbanity here just outside the city centre. This is NOT normal. Now, I know there are historical reasons for this, but putting all that aside, it’s time we finally fixed it.

It seems so many of us are just either so used to it, or know nothing else, we think this is the way it should be, but it isn’t. NQHQmcr explains why brilliantly and the NQ, Ancoats, Castlefield & Greengate (finally) are starting to see this. The next phase around Middlewood Locks, Gould Street, Strangeways, Mayfield & back of Piccadilly will expand on this and hopefully we’ll see this expanding even further into places like Ardwick, Eastlands, Northern Gateway etc.

It’s all about creating vibrant, highly urban communities where people can walk to most of the things they need, shops, grocieries, friends, bars, cafes, pubs, parks, restaurants, theatres, galleries and the city centre (or cycle, or take public transport) and you can see these neighbourhoods in cities all around the world – these are often the city’s most popular neighbourhoods.

This is NOT taking away the burbs for those who still want the house & garden. We need them as well – they are great for families and some people just prefer that lifestyle. But a suburban house is little different from a village house and we also live in a big city – a city that should embrase its core’s urban denisty – a core that again, as other successful cities around the world has shown, doesn’t need to focus on cars.

All that said, we need these places to be designed right and well maintained. I love the NQ. I think it is one of the most interesting parts of MCR but it needs to be cleaned up, with proper paving, less vandalism (not trying to stop the legitimate street art), less deriliction, better lighting and more pedestrianisation – that can all be done without harming the character.

By EOD

Now I know for sure that romance isnt dead. Seriously, except for the odd ones commenting on here, no one really cares. With all the duty paid from petrol and diesel, the government wont be in a rush.

By Anonymous

This isn’t about public transport kicking, car use shaming and comments like “road are for cars not cyclists”!! Cyclists are not only people who can’t afford a car! Everyone has their own motivation for using a particular mode of transport and that cannot be ignored. Cycling is a great alternative because it is relatively cheap and has little impact on the environment and leads to a healthier population so if there is money up for grabs to improve it then why not!

The public transport system is not fit for purpose unless you live and work close to access points. Plus the tram is overcrowded and overpriced which discourages drivers and families in particular from using it.

The road network is simply not fit for purpose for commuting into the city centre when it takes an hour to travel less than 10 miles. There are limited routes into the city centre, parking options are limited and becoming more expensive, there are odd one way systems and a lack of signage. When there is a midweek event on in the city centre it is gridlock but all of this still doesn’t put people off driving. Many simple things could be done to improve this, some are mentioned above such as traffic light sequencing and lane switching for peak times on main routes in and out and I wonder why this is not happening anyway!

Cycling on the roads is dangerous particularly at peak times. Frustrated car drivers don’t help and when it rains (which is often) many return to their cars plus it just isn’t practical for everyone all of the time. Segregated cycle routes will help but that will mean removing lanes for cars and so more traffic congestion so there has to be viable alternatives for the car drivers for whom it is not practical to cycle. Not many people will be keen to cycle more than a few miles each way in the rain regardless of segregated routes. Cycling of itself is not the answer.

We need to take a step back and consider what is the objective/what are we trying to accomplish here and what is truly achievable and will provide the most benefit to the most people? Is it improving air quality, improving the experience of the city, reducing wasted time and costs of travel, generating income, increasing/reducing taxes, enabling a fitter/healthier population, protecting the environment, reducing stress and accidents, becoming a world class city or a combination of these as well as others?

Since very little of the infrastructure in the region has moved on much since the 80’s (in some cases it is worse or worse still some people hanker after our 70’s bus network) answers on a postcard please.

With or without this funding we could be doing so much better.