Stevenson Square Aerial
Manchester proposes to improve pedestrian and cycle routes in the Northern Quarter

Council consults on £11m Northern Quarter upgrade

Chloé Vaughan

A consultation on the future of movement through the Northern Quarter has opened to the public, as part of the Greater Manchester Bee Network transport improvements.

Manchester City Council’s proposals for the Northern Quarter, illustrated by landscape architecture firm Planit-ie, include: more cycling features, a reduction in on-street parking, more trees and public spaces, smoother traffic flows, pavement improvements, traffic-free areas and the partial pedestrianisation of Stevenson Square.

These features would cost approximately £11m, £10.6m of which would come from the GM Mayor’s Challenge Fund, and £1m from the Government’s Cycle Cities Ambition Grant.

The council said: “The plans would make Manchester’s brilliant Northern Quarter streets even more dynamic, lovely to look at and pleasant to use. They would be safer, greener and better for everyone, especially for those enjoying this buzzing quarter of our city as it should be enjoyed: on foot and by bike, as well as other transport uses.”

The plans form part of the broader planned Greater Manchester travel upgrades that encompass more than 1,800 miles of routes across the city, 400 miles of which will have segregated bike lanes.

The public has until 17 February to comment on the proposals. The consultation can be accessed here.

Your Comments

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Good intentions but it looks like it’s designed by a highways engineer. There’s a real opportunity to reflect the vibrancy of the Northern Quarter through the public realm design.

By Anonymous

Ridiculous, traffics bad enough as it is.

By Floyd

Great idea, as the less traffic in the city centre the better in my opinion. However please put some aside to repair an upgrade the rest of the pavements and roads in the city centre. They are in a really bad state. Loose paving slabs and uneven surfaces everywhere!

By Steve

You’re right Floyd, I nearly get run over most days walking to work. There is way too much traffic. It’s 2020, surely there is no need for cars to be driving around the city centre??

By Anonymous

Spot on, Anonymous.

By MancLad

Floyd – stop driving then you drama queen

By Anonymous

@Floyd, then don’t drive through the NQ? It is one of the best connected public transport hubs in England outside London. It is framed by two mainline stations, Victoria and Piccadilly and easy walking distance to several tram stops for local transport as well as easy walking distance to most buses that pass through the city centre. Why drive through the narrow streets on a regular basis? Sorry, but I have nothing against cars and many suburban areas need them, but this is the inner city where people should have priority. These are streets, not roads and streets are people first places


I think Highway Design is crucial to the success of this though.
We’re all bored of people complaining about making the roads wider when the one thing this area in particular needs is less cars.
Maybe you should recommend something alternative at the consultation?

By L

@L, I agree, it is fine to comment here, but everyone should also provide comment through the consultation process. With some ambition this space could be something really special and distinctive.

By Anonymous

They are totally missing a trick, and Stephenson Square represents a real opportunity to complexly pedestrianise it and create a real central hub for the northern quarter. The two cycle lanes take up far too much space and that bus lane can be rerouted elsewhere

By Dan

Can’t wait for Manchester to be a traffic free pedestrianised ghost town with boarded up buildings and muggers galore.

By Floyd

Why is the ramshackle remnants of a 1970s underground toilet being retained in the centre of it all ?

By Bo

A part from Piccadilly Gardens the council have created some really good examples of public open spaces most notably St Peters square and Cathedral gardens, the NQ proposals looks like they could be another success. Unfortunately the council have a dreadful record of looking after the spaces they have created with an ongoing litter problem, overflowing bins, broken and loose paving stones. Generally the council’s capital investment works are excellent however the following revenue maintenance and management works are probably the worst of any major city in the country.

By Monty

Just because some people cant afford a car does not mean they should antagonise car owners.

By Anonymous

The reason that the Northern Quarter is not being more comprehensively pedestrianised is the same reason you have a heavily engineered, unsubtle bi directional cycle lane scything straight through Stephenson Square: the funding for this is coming from a pot set aside for cycling infrastructure not public realm.

Now the council might be trying to spin this as them finally ‘pedestrianising they Northern quarter, making it look better and feel safer’ but the reality is nothing of the sort. It’s a cycling infrastructure scheme spun to sound like a landscaping scheme; and it’s a landscaping scheme that is still sorely needed in the N/4 even after these somewhat modest improvements.

By Unspun

The ‘Northern Quarter’? Do they mean the place that is named Ancoats and has been called so for hundreds of years?

By Juan

Pedestrianisation = Ghost Town

By Jon

I don’t know why there would be people sat outside Slice Pizzeria and Chai Latte, they’ve closed down!

By John

They need to focus more on the aggressive begging and the ever increasing spice problem that goes on around there. All in full view.

By Liver fella

Good point Juan. Also why do they keep referring to Mancuniun as ‘Manchester’?

By Anonymous

Whilst people live in the city, cars will always be in the city.


No Juan, this isn’t Ancoats, you’ve got the wrong area, Ancoats is north of here

By Dan

@Juan No

By Anonymous

Where did Ancoats originally start? The NQ is a new name for what we always referred to as “Oldham Street area.” I think the NQ is overrated.

By Elephant

Whilst i am all for the pedestrianisation of the inner city stopping cars from using these roads will only result in putting more pressure on the adjacent roads. Great Ancoats Street gets busier every minute and will be at a complete standstill should these plans be approved.

No matter how much we would like them to people will continue to drive cars into main conurbations and we must deliver traffic management solutions which allow for this.

By Someone

@Someone…I don’t agree. Look at central Tokyo. Lots of good public transport, lots of roads but very few people have cars so the roads are fairly pleasant. Great to cycle around, no stress. Also, no on-street litter bins and zero rubbish on the street. It’s not in-built to drive everywhere, or drop litter!

By Allotmentlad

Public transport in Manchester isn’t safe though, full of idiots

By Dan

@Dan, I’m pretty sure, even in Manchester, public transport is safer than driving

By Anonymous