Manchester City Council has published a draft 20-year transport strategy that includes the permanent pedestrianisation of Deansgate and a city centre “triangle” cycling route linking Deansgate, Whitworth Street West and the Northern Quarter.
The strategy also supports the creation of a “world class transport interchange” at Piccadilly Station that will be redeveloped in line with the arrival of High Speed 2, and the reimagining of Piccadilly Gardens, which is due to go out to consultation later this year.
The proposals, developed jointly by Manchester, Salford City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, are open for consultation until 4 November. They aim to change the way people travel around the city centre by placing a greater emphasis on ‘active travel’ – that is, cycling and walking – as well as by improving the city’s public transport offering to reduce dependency on cars.
By 2040, Manchester City Council wants 90% of city centre journeys to be made on foot, by bike or on public transport, compared to 78% currently. With this in mind, the strategy outlines seven main aims:
- To make the city centre more attractive for walking
- To create a cleaner and less congested environment
- To encourage more people to choose to cycle within the city centre
- The improve public transport connections
- To move towards a smarter parking model, integrated with other modes of transport
- To ensure goods are moved and delivered sustainably and efficiently
- To embrace innovation where it benefits the city centre and its users
Plans for the permanent pedestrianisation of Deansgate, to be completed by the end of 2021 according to the council’s vision, will be subject to a separate consultation. In May, the part of Deansgate between King Street West and Blackfriars, was closed to traffic as part of social distancing measures during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.
In July, Manchester City Council requested £10m from the Government’s £900m pot for ‘shovel-ready’ projects, to bring forward the Deansgate scheme but it did not receive the funding.
As well as the part-pedestrianisation of Deansgate, several similar interventions designed to improve the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists have been implemented in recent months, including the closure of Thomas Street and Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter to vehicular traffic.
Manchester City Council’s previous city centre transport strategy was adopted in 2010 and facilitated the delivery of projects including the Oxford Road bus and cycle enhancements and the redevelopment of St Peter’s Square.
Cllr Angeliki Stogia, the council’s executive member for transport, said: “As Manchester continues on the road to recovery from the pandemic and plans for growing numbers of city centre jobs and homes, more than ever, a strategy is required to guide the future of transport in the region’s capital.
“This ambitious strategy envisions a well-connected, zero-carbon city centre at the heart of the North, offering residents, workers and visitors a great place to live, work and visit.”
Cllr Roger Jones, executive support member for transport at Salford City Council, added: “It is important we have a vision for the future and not let the way we travel around the city centre area develop in an uncontrolled way.
“This strategy is a partnership approach and sets out ideas of how the city centre area can be best managed for all – with a special emphasis on cycling and walking and aiming for a cleaner, greener future.”
And Cllr Mark Aldred, chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, said: “Greater Manchester is growing and evolving, and this strategy looks to the future and how we can actively create a successful, resilient and thriving city centre.”