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Beelines Manchester

Chris Boardman announces first step in implementing Made to Move

27th June 2018

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman, © TFGM

Chris Boardman today announced the first step in implementing his Made to Move vision for Greater Manchester. It's called Beelines, and it's a detailed, Greater Manchester-wide walking and cycling infrastructure proposal.

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 cycling.

Beelines Manchester: the report

The Beelines report sets out the details of the proposal.

Part 1 The Challenge

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.

Part 2 Developing the Network

Visualisation of a busy road, Beelines

Visualisation of a busy road, © TFGM

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.'

Beelines zebra crossing

Zebra crossing at a side road © TFGM

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 be considered.

Beelines, filtered neighbourhood

Filtered neighbourhood, © TFGM

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.

Beelines crossing point

Beelines crossing point, © TFGM

There are maps showing the proposed network.

Part 3 Design

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 shoul 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 system.

Beeline worker bee symbol

Worker bee symbol, © TFGM

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 wings.

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.

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CWIS consultation

17th March 2018

Bicycle traffic lights, Leeds-Bradford route

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.

Read about the CWIS consultation, and follow the link to the consultation.

Santander bikes, London Cycle Superhighway, LondonSantander bikes near King's Cross

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