The intention is to create the most comprehensive network in
Britain, covering 1,000 miles. The plan has been produced in
collaboration with the ten local authorities concerned.
Boardman has identified that 80% of roads in Greater Manchester are
fairly quiet (less than 6 cars a minute). Beelines concentrates on
safe crossing points for people to get over busy main roads on foot
or by bike, so they can use the existing quiet network. It can be
done in less than 2 years.
The crossing points will be accompanied by Beelines signage, which
will be trusted route that can be used by people walking and
The report begins by reiterating the reasons why changes to the way
we travel are needed - obesity, air quality, and congestion - and
states the objective of a fully joined up cycling and walking
network covering 1,000 miles.
The Mayor Andy Burnham has allocated £160 million to kick-start the
project, which amounts to spend of £15 per head per year. This is
close to the levels of investment in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Boardman hopes to add to the money by seeking match funding from
central government, and with other innovative strategies.
The idea is to make walking and cycling routes that appeal to the
two thirds of people who currently use a car as their main mode of
transport. The report notes that 80% of cycling trips in Amsterdam
happen on unsegregated roads. Boardman says that strategic crossing
points will unlock the potential of local roads and communities to
be used for cycling and walking.
The network has been created by Greater Manchester's local
authorities: 'The networks were drawn collaboratively by council
officers, local highways engineers, as well as local cycling,
walking, and community groups. And crucially, they held the pen;
another UK first.' There were practical cycling and walking planning
sessions in March and April 2018.
Beelines are defined in the report (p11) as 'routes that get people
from A to B, connecting up communities across the whole of Greater
Manchester. They can be a fully segregated route or a network
connected via a series of crossing points on quieter roads. They are
a marker for quality and 1,000 miles of routes will be delivered if
this proposal is fully realised.'
The quieter roads require less design intervention, but will get
zebra crossings of side roads to promote courteous driver behaviour
and give pedestrians priority; there will be filtered routes, which
cut out through traffic, but allow cycling and walking; ideally,
20mph speed limits will be put in place; off road green routes may
On main arteries, walking and cycling routes will be fully
segregated. Many junctions will require major interventions, and
ensuring the design is of a high standard is 'critical is we are to
create trust in the network'. This may mean innovative junction
design is necessary to 'meet the level of service needed to enable
significant modal shift'. 75 miles of fully segregated routes on
busy roads are proposed.
Town centre improvements will include parallel signalised or zebra
crossings for cycling and walking.
The report sets out design principles, which will support the
ambition to transform the way the streets in Greater Manchester
operate, and make a shift from private car to walking and cycling.
The principles include:
Streets should be pleasant places where people spend time, not
just for passing through
Street design should focus on moving people rather than traffic
Dedicated separate space should be provided for walking and for
cycle traffic: 'Providing for cycling by converting footpaths to
shared use is an approach that can deter people from both walking
and cycling and it is an approach that we plan to avoid. However,
it can be appropriate to encourage considerate cycling in existing
shared public spaces'
People should feel safe, relaxed and secure on the street and
not just in a car
Protection and priority should be given to people cycling and
walking at junctions
Walking, cycling and public transport should go hand-in-hand
The worker bee symbol is to be used as part of the wayfinding
It symbolises Greater Manchester's aspiration to become greener,
cleaner, and more biodiverse. It has been adapted a little: the bee
features handlebars on the antennae, and zebra crossings on its
Part 4 Delivery
Spending decisions will be taken by a new Greater Manchester
Cycling and Walking Board. A commitment to maintenance will be
essential in any successful application for funding. TFGM and the
local authorities will collaborate with police on enforcement of
pavement parking and speed limits.
Part 5 Engagement
Interested local people will be invited to participate in project
planning and delivery. The first iteration of the network map is to
be published online using mappingGM.org. There's to be a behaviour
change programme including advertising campaigns, school workshops,
and business engagement.
In his first action as Cycling & Walking Commissioner for
Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman has set out an ambitious vision
to transform the way people travel in Greater Manchester. He plans
a high-quality cycle network throughout the area, with continuous,
Jesse Norman, minister for cycling at the DfT, is asking for
ideas to make cycling and walking safer. Probably the DfT should
know how to do this already - after all, organisations like
British Cycling and Cycling UK have been telling them for years,
but unfortunately they haven't been listening. Will the DfT
actually act on what they're told? Who knows, but if you have any
interest in active travel, you should respond.