Timperley Pop Up Cycle
The removal of the pop-up lane is to be reviewed, according to Trafford Council

Row breaks out over Trafford cycle lane move

Sarah Townsend

The council removed a pop-up bike lane from Ashfield Road in Sale this week only 48 hours after it had been installed, sparking outrage among local cyclists and others seeking to avoid public transport.

Other commentators backed Trafford Council’s decision, blaming the pop-up cycle lane for increased traffic congestion on the borough’s main roads now more people are commuting to work as lockdown eases.

The council installed the extension to the seven-mile cycle lane along the A56 at the weekend. The temporary lane sits on a southerly stretch of the road travelling into Timperley.

The move was part of wider efforts by Greater Manchester local authorities to safeguard health and wellbeing by making it easier for people to travel without using public transport.

Many of the cycle lanes being installed across the conurbation are intended to become permanent, as part of Greater Manchester’s drive to promote greener, sustainable modes of transport.

However, Trafford has now pulled the extension back to Sale town centre and removed the Timperley link. Cllr Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, tweeted yesterday: “Today we have moved the A56 pop-up cycle lane back from Ashfield Road in Sale to the junction of Dane Road to help traffic flow.”

The move was to be reviewed within the next 24 hours, the council added.

Many criticised the decision on Twitter, leading to a heated online debate yesterday and last night.

“Are you [Trafford Council] aware this is directly contradicting the mandate that the transport secretary reiterated today?” one commentator tweeted, referring to Grant Shapps’ call to local authorities to “reprioritise road space use” in favour of cyclists.

Another said: “And so ends Trafford’s lip service to health and the environment. Absolutely pathetic excuse for a council.”

Another tweeted: “Really bad decision in direct contravention of govt guidance. The best way to “help traffic flow” is to enable as many as possible to travel car-free.”

That person was backed by another critic who wrote: “The whole point is to make driving a less attractive option and therefore to make more people consider other modes of transport….”


One commentator noted: “In the middle of a respiratory pandemic, you’re facilitating the particulate pollution that increases the susceptibility of vulnerable lungs to the virus.”

However, others countered such arguments. “The pollution [is from] the cars sat in traffic because they can’t move because of an empty cycle lane,” one said.

Another wrote: “There is no need [for] these pop-up cycle lanes anyway. I don’t see anyone using them when I go to work and come back daily.”

Another agreed: “This needs more thought. This morning an ambulance got stuck in Stretford as the first lane was blocked off! On my journey into Manchester this morning I saw one cyclist and he was on the pavement.”

Manchester City Council also came under fire this month for failing to include the provision of temporary cycle lanes  in its part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s £21.5m bid to the Government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund, intended to fund alternative transport measures during the pandemic.

The city council contributed a £600,000 bid towards the application. But, unlike other authorities, it did not propose the installation of pop-up cycle lanes, leaving a five-mile gap in cycling provision across the the conurbation.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham asked the public for patience and said the bid “is not the finished article and we need to balance road space with other users”.

Timperley Sale Pop Up Cycling 2

Many people complained about congestion on the A56


Your Comments

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Even with three lanes of cars the A56 is still congested (this morning has proved that). Doesn’t matter how many lanes you give to cars, it’ll always end up congested (research “induced demand” to find out more). A new approach is needed, one which priortises clean, space-efficient transport such as bikes over cars, which take up so much room on the road that they cause congestion and prohibit emergency vehicles getting through, not to mention the pollution. This pandering to the motorist lobby will only cause more pollution and misery for the 60% of people in Manchester who don’t have a car – what are they supposed to do?

By Anonymous

I am not able to use any other means of transport other than a car to my place of work as I commute from Sandbach and need to visit construction sites during the day. What has normally been a 10 minute journey down A56 took 30 minutes with the cycle lane in place and I saw 3 cyclists. Standing traffic like this is not good for the environment or people walking/cycling. The footpath is wide enough surely this can be adequately sectioned in to two lanes for cycling and walking with out the disruption.

By Anonymous

Huge congestion on the Chester road at 10 am it’s sheer madness .I ever saw one cyclists .

By Madeline Cadman

Anyone who knows the Altrincham line knows that in the era of social distancing we need an alternative. The canal towpath is a victim of its own success and is too busy. These cycle lanes provided a real alternative for people travelling, which is important given the low levels of car ownership in some areas.

This really humanised the grim stretch through sale, now it’s back to HGVs beside your ear hole as you walk past. Nice.

By Commuters

Never seen anyone using these cycle lanes – I wonder how much cash from the emergency fund has been spent on this pointless exercise when the Council faces bankruptcy ?

By Rick

I find this blanket superior attitude from the pro-cyclist lobby to be ignorant and discriminatory. What about those of us who have to use cars to get about for health reasons? Cycling would not make me healthier, it would make me even more unwell. We’re not all blessed with perfect health or even the ability to improve our health as some conditions can only be managed. I drive a hybrid car, several of my friends drive electric cars or hybrids so we’re not all big polluting machines either. I have seen only one person use these cycle lanes in the entire time they’ve been there. Most cyclists seem to prefer the pavement and once I saw someone cycling on the road but on the outside of the new cycle lanes causing further problems as cars were having to drive round him.

By Heather

The White City Junction is a nightmare due to these cycle lanes. Haven’t seen one cyclist use it in the past 5 weeks. They all use Stretford road instead. This is just madness. In addition… if you have children.. and a job with start times that can’t be changed .. you don’t have the time to do a nursery drop of then cycle to work. Car is the only option… and I am a club cyclist.

By Tony.

Absolutely ridiculous. Temporary cycle lanes on bridge waterway and A56 Chester Road. Now more people are back in work this is causing chaos at peak times and is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs. Time to take them away.

By simon