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What Chris Boardman’s Made to Move report really means for Greater Manchester

Chris Boardman and Andy BurnhamLast Friday saw the release of Chris Boardman’s report, Made to Move, which aims to quadruple cycling in Greater Manchester and get more people walking.

Chris Boardman is Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner. He was appointed by GM Mayor Andy Burnham and this report is his first major contribution.

The report has been covered in the press, but there have been cycling and walking strategies before. The real question is whether this represents a genuine step forward. Is the strategy new, or is it just a re-hash?

£1.5 billion

The report puts a price tag on Greater Manchester’s cycling infrastructure for the first time. £1.5 billion over ten years, or £150,000,000 a year is needed, we’re told. No actual routes have been planned in detail, so that number is a guess, but it’s a plausible one.

Previous reports, such as the TfGM 2040 Strategy, have led on physical infrastructure – segregated cycle paths and the like. Boardman’s report includes all that of course, but goes further.

It identifies the areas with the most potential for increasing cycling and walking. In addition to Manchester City itself, the main towns and, in particular Stockport, Altrincham and Sale are identified. A small area around Cheadle Heath and Heaton Mersey is also seen as a hotspot.

New cycle routes

Cycle Routes And HotspotsMain cycle routes are  mapped out, though at this stage only very roughly. Ten radial routes into Manchester along with two orbital routes (an inner and outer ring road, in effect), and some shorter radial routes into each of the main towns. More details on these will be brought forward in 2018, we’re promised.

These routes will need to take on the best cycle facilities design from around the world and look to improve on it.

There are other ideas too – worth trying, though not all of them will work out, such as:

  • trial new schemes with temporary street improvements
  • work with industry to reduce lorry and van travel in Greater Manchester
  • deliver greater levels of public access to bikes
  • engage with local businesses to achieve a culture-shift in commuting
  • launch a “Summer Streets” festival to trial street closures

Additionally, there are some proposals which are simply continuing work already being done – developing a design guide, encouraging more cycling and walking to schools and improving road safety, for example. They all feature prominently in numerous other papers we’ve seen in recent years.

The report is positive. It moves the agenda forwards and comes up with a price tag for the first time along with some interesting ideas. We’ll look forward to seeing the more detailed route proposals in 2018, along with the plans for how the £150 million annual investment pot is going to be built up.

becg is a sector-specialist, multi-disciplinary communications consultancy for the Built Environment sectors.  Find our more about how we can help your business at becg.com and follow us @becgUK, or give Iain a call for a chat over a coffee.

Iain commutes into Manchester by bike. He was formerly the councillor with responsibility for cycling in Stockport.

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