Greater Manchester Cycling
Manchester is under pressure to create temporary cycle lanes. c.Livia Lazar/Sustrans

Manchester submitted £600,000 transport bid amid cycle row

Sarah Townsend

The city council met the deadline to submit a funding bid for cycling and walking interventions, but faced criticism over its refusal to provide pop-up bike lanes and other ‘active transport’ elements as neighbouring boroughs did.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been coordinating and collating bids from Greater Manchester councils, in order to submit a combined bid to the Government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund last Friday.

The combined bid was expected to total £16m, although the GMCA has not confirmed the final submission.

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council told Place North West today: “[The council] can confirm that a package of bids was submitted to the fund, totalling around £600,000, for a range of cycling and walking interventions, which we want to pursue as soon as possible.”

Further details will be published this week, the spokesperson added.

The Whitehall fund is intended to help authorities fund changes to street layouts to make it easier for people to move around and avoid public transport while social distancing measures remain in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said when the fund was announced: “Towns and cities based around active travel will have happier and healthier citizens, as well as lasting local economic benefits.

“The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.”

However, over the weekend, critics slammed Manchester City Council on Twitter for failing to include the installation of temporary cycle lanes in its bid as other GMCA boroughs had done.

Lobby group Walk Ride Greater Manchester tweeted: [Manchester City Council] isn’t installing [temporary] bike lanes unlike other UK cities and against Government advice, citing lack of people cycling…

“We think [that] logic is flawed, as do some councillors, other Greater Manchester leaders and MPs.”

Andrew Gwynne, the MP for Denton and Reddish, tweeted: “Why I’m angry at @ManCityCouncil’s decision to not participate in @GMcycling pop-up lanes: from the West, you can almost reach ‘town’; from Stockport and Tameside there’s a five-mile gap.

“This is endangering lives and potentially increasing air pollution. Please think again!”

Labour peer Lord Tony Berkeley asked the House of Lords about Manchester’s refusal to provide pop-up bike lanes. “I congratulate the Government on its commitment to cycling, it’s really very good.

“However, although some local authorities are doing very well, there’s one in Manchester where there’s a complete problem, because the Greater Manchester mayor [Andy Burnham] and Chris Boardman [the cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester] are launching a 200-km temporary cycle lane this week, which has got one big hole in the middle because [Manchester City Council] won’t cooperate.

“So, could [UK ministers] please encourage Manchester to take part and work with other authorities to create this potentially fantastic new facility for cyclists.”

Writing for Place North West last week ahead of the deadline for bids, Steve Connor, chief executive of Creative Concern, called for the GMCA bid to help drive a lasting revolution in city-centre transport.

“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,” he wrote.

He said this week: “Manchester City Council really has had a very strong track record on cycling and climate change strategy, so it was extraordinary that last week it seemed to have stumbled.

“But I remain confident that it has the political will and intelligence to get back behind the walking and cycling cause.”

Further details of Manchester’s contribution to the GMCA bid are to be detailed in the coming days.

 

Your Comments

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We all know there is a political power struggle at the top and Richard Leese seems to be blocking the cycling plans. Disappointing.
New leadership is required to take Manchester into the next period as cities evolve and respond to the climate challenges ahead.

By Politick

Yes, again faceless bureacrats from the Home Counties decide whether Northern Places get any of their taxes back and if so how they must or must not invest it on. I bet cities in the Soviet Union has more control over their own Places. Take back control from Tory Ministries of Central Planning in Moscow. Vote for Democratic Communities.

By James Hayes

“Manchester City Council really has had a very strong track record on cycling” – this is utter nonsense. Of the 20 or so arterial routes into Manchester, only two have protected cycle facilities – and these are short. The Greater Manchester area is a desert for cycling, demonstrated very well by the fact that only the brave or desperate ride bicycles.

Try riding a bicycle along Oldham Road, or Hyde Road, during rush hour. Or perhaps near Piccadilly Railway Station during rush hour. For good measure, take some children along with you – soon be eating your words.

By No healthy options

It’s going to look embarrassing for MCC when the other GM boroughs are building protected lanes up to the MCC border and from there key workers using bicycles will be unprotected.

By Active Travel Trev

One word describes MCC, in regard to their lack of cooperation – PATHETIC!
This is a great opportunity to see what routes may work and which routes don’t. It also helps enable the wider society of (Greater) Manchester to be integrated through cycling routes.
MCC pull your finger out and get involved!

By Anon

This really is totally and utterly insane !

By lovemcr

Remember Manchester’s embarrassing bike scheme

By Anonymous

Manchester was only very recently given over £150m to create cycling infrastructure, as the first tranche of a £1.5bn investment. Could all the boroughs not concentrate on spending that, rather than dipping into another very small pot of cash?

By Mike

All these cycle lanes what about charging them road tax too it’s totally unfair

By Patricia

£600,000, well that’s going to last a minute.

By EOD

Patricia – road tax hasn’t existed since the 1930s. We all pay for the roads with our council tax. Now how about getting motorists to pay for destroying the pavements they illegally park on, the damage to public property they do when they fly their cars off the road at 10x the speed limit, and giving them a proper punishment when they drink and drive, or kill a child cause they were texting behind the wheel (all of which happens every single day in the UK).

By Anonymous

There is no such thing as ‘road tax’. This was abolished in 1937. The correct word is Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

By SW

The public need to be correctly informed. Safe Streets for Children and Clean Air Levenshulme have written to Angeliki Stogia asking for a pop up cycle lane on the A6 from Stockport to Manchester. We had a reply stating that our letter would be filed, and that is the last we have heard.

By Susan Pascoe

Seriously @Patricia, did you really write that? Apart from all the obvious issues with the non-existence of ‘road tax’, you know that cars that electric cars are exempt from VED? So even if you subjected cyclists to it, they would be exempt anyway?? Pavements are basically paid for and maintained out of the same budgets as carriageways so should we be making the tax-dodgers that walk or run to work pay as well?

It’s unfair that some people create a disproportionate of air pollution, take up more space on the roads and a bigger drain on the NHS due to their own self-inflicted lack of exercise.

By Anonymous