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‘Penny hasn’t dropped yet’ on cycling, says Boardman

Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman and Mayor Andy Burnham have called on Government to provide “a consistent funding stream” for cycling and walking, increasing money from the Department of Transport above the 1% of total budget currently spent.

Burnham and Boardman were speaking yesterday as part of an evidence session with the Government’s Transport Select Committee in Manchester.

Burnham asked for cycling and walking to be given the same status by the Department for Transport as roads investment. He said: “Successive Governments have treated cycling and walking as an afterthought. This cannot continue at a time when we’ve got congested roads, polluted air and high levels of physical inactivity.

“Greater Manchester made the bold decision to spend £160m on cycling and walking to kick-start our plans for the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. There is a huge appetite to deliver these plans but we now need Government to show the same ambition and put in place a consistent national funding stream for cycling and walking.”

Boardman, former Olympian and the City Region’s cycling tzar, said: “This isn’t about people riding bikes, it’s about creating healthier, better places to live, more economically-robust areas, revitalising town centres, and giving people a real and attractive alternative to driving. By the Government’s own calculations, money invested in enabling people to cycle and walk is the most efficient transport spend that a nation can make. I just don’t understand why the penny hasn’t dropped yet.

“The transformational work we’ve started doing in Greater Manchester needs to be backed up by a consistent funding stream for active travel. The will is there – we’ve got thousands of residents keen to see improvements where they live, and the councils are up for this too. Sadly, our ambition needs to be matched by a funding model that is currently only reserved for other transport modes like motor transport. This isn’t just a problem for Greater Manchester, it’s a problem for countless other cities too like Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield.”

Currently, only around 1% of the Department for Transport’s budget is allocated to cycling and walking.

The Mayor and the commissioner also told the committee that there should be a Government requirement that, where possible, cycling and walking infrastructure is included as part of any new transport infrastructure, such as the building of roads or junctions.

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All well and good. We also need massive central government funding to improve the state of our roads and pavements in the city centre. Every street and pavement has rocking flags, temporary bitmac infills and are an absolute disgrace. The Council needs to wake up and realise that what with the increase in the population (through the thousands of new flats being built) there are going to be more people using the infrastructure, which needs drastically improving asap!

By Steve

Creating a smooth surface on most roads should be the first priority. Some GM roads are a disgrace, full of potholes and uneven surfaces which is dangerous for cyclists. I have cycled in France and the roads are a dream. Also the motorists pass slowly with caution giving you a wide berth, here I’ve had range rovers pass at 60mph a few inches from me. We are only flesh and blood and they are 2 tonnes of metal.

By biker boy

All well and good ..
Try cycling along the Fallowfield loop on your own without being mugged !!

By Tony W

They are going about it the wrong way and spending all that money on what is an expensive under used vanity project. Use the money to improve the entire public transport network now, why wait until 2040+ for an expansive metrolink, get on with it. Once people have a better and greater choice of public transport, less people rely on cars which means the roads can be opened up to cycling etc…

By aevis

Luckily I have earned enough to buy a car so I don’t have to ride a bike around the streets like a child

By Successful

What a waste of money this is. In a conurbation where three of the ten boroughs still don’t have the Metrolink we are obsessed with this pointless vanity project. This is a classic Manc centric approach to travel. What use is this to the old lady waiting an hour for a bus in Heywood or Breightmet? No use at all. GM is becoming Britain in miniature where London gets all the resources and everyone else is an afterthought. Andy Burnham needs to realise that he is mayor of GM not just the city of Manchester. We don’t even have integrated buses between the North and South of the city. Why do we in the North of England always have to settle for cheap gimmicks sold as something amazing?

By Elephant

@Successful Unfortunately for you, statistics show you are more susceptible to poor air quality levels while sitting in your metal cage through city centre congestion than when breezing past on a bicycle.

By IanP

@elephant
It’s not a choice between either cycling and walking or public transport, they work together. Allowing people to cycle and walk in greater safety, comfort and convenience will take cars off the road and reduce congestion making buses work better.

By ScubaDivingChameleon

Excellent

By Lenny1968

We can’t even tarmac the roads we have ….
A bus takes 40+minutes to do a 4 mile trip ….
Why don’t we just get the basics right first.

By Pineapple Chunx

I agree to a point Scuba but we are not getting investment on a grand scale with the other components of your argument.There are no concrete plans to extend The Metrolink beyond the Trafford Centre. The buses are not yet integrated. Cycling and walking should be complimentary not a priority.

By Elephant

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