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Boardman's Made to Move report

16th December 2017

Cycle & footpath in Manchester

Manchester cycle & footpath, by Pete Birkinshaw, Licence CC BY 2.0

Chris Boardman has set out an ambitious vision to transform the way people travel in Greater Manchester, in a report entitled Made to Move.

In his first report as Cycling & Walking Commissioner to Mayor Andy Burnham, he has set the goal to double then double again cycling in Greater Manchester, and make walking the natural choice for short trips. He wants to build one of the world's best cycle networks in and around Manchester.

Boardman sets out fifteen steps to transforming the way people get around in Greater Manchester. The first is to publish a detailed walking & cycling infrastructure plan in 2018.

Boardman's Made to Move report: foreword by Andy Burnham

There's a foreword by Andy Burnham. He says that he asked Chris Boardman to tell him what would be needed to deliver a step change in the numbers of people walking and cycling in Greater Manchester, and the report rises to that challenge.

Boardman's Made to Move report: mission statement

In his mission statement, Chris Boardman says that the Mayor wants Greater Manchester to be the best place in the UK to grow up, get on in life, and grow old. One way that happy countries achieve this is to prioritise walking and cycling. 'Riding a bicycle or crossing a street should not require bravery,' writes Boardman. 'We need protected space; uninterrupted, all the way from where I am to where I want to be.'

The report suggests using a 12-year-old as the yardstick for a joined-up network - it must be something a 12-year-old would choose to use. The 12-year-old represents other people too, such as pensioners, mothers, and people with mobility issues. 'We have to get this right. I won't waste people's money or time building a network that won't deliver a fundamental and cultural change in how we travel.'

Boardman's Made to Move report: creating the space for walking & cycling

In the 'creating space' section, the report says a detailed infrastructure plan will be produced. 'Cycling routes should be a mixture of wide segregated cycle lanes on main roads, offering quick journeys across Greater Manchester, local cycling routes through communities, and green routes that encourage slow cycling through residential streets. And all these new cycling routes must be delivered to meet to a standard that a competent 12-year-old would choose to use...'

Some of the focus will be on local high streets, making them accessible for walking and cycling. This will include 20mph speed limits 'that actually result in 20mph speeds'. 'Everybody should be able to cross the road safely, directly and without delay. Crossings should be positioned in the right place and give everyone enough time to cross the road.'

Creating space will also involve reclaiming the school run from vehicles and associated danger. (50% of children cycle to school in the Netherlands, but only 3% in the UK). Boardman is seeking to create a public transport system that is integrated with walking and cycling.

Boardman's Made to Move report: why Greater Manchester needs a new network

A new network is needed because the way we travel is killing us, according to the report.

In 2016, the Royal College of Physicians estimated that air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Traffic congestion costs £1.3 billion a year to businesses in Greater Manchester. 50% of adults in Greater Manchester are physically inactive, at a cost to the NHS of £500,000 per week. 600 people are killed or seriously injured on Greater Manchester's roads every year.

People want change - 8 out of 10 residents want cycling and walking to be safer.

77% of morning peak time journeys are not by car, only 23% are. The traditional UK approach has been to measure vehicle movement, but Greater Manchester will count people as well as vehicles.

Boardman's Made to Move report: people first

The report says that streets should be designed for the benefit of the whole local community. The poorest households, which have no car, can travel more if cycling is easy and safe. Rat-running should be eliminated from residential streets.

Boardman makes a distinction between places, such as residential streets, which should be for walking, cycling, and car access only; and links, like connector roads, which are for public transport, driving and cycling.

Other aspects of putting people first are public bike hire schemes, and temporary events like low car weekends that show people how streets could be used without so many cars.

Boardman's Made to Move report: funding

Boardman calls for £1.5 billion investment over 10 years, so £150 million per year, to deliver an initial network. The Mayor has so far promised £47.6 million, which is much less than Boardman wants. 'To genuinely grasp the opportunities, a combined budget for walking and cycling needs to significantly exceed this.'

The report argues that money invested in cycling and walking is well-spent. It points out that there is a cost of doing nothing (congestion, air quality, road casualties, inactivity, and global warming); and that the indirect economic benefits of investment are £5.50 for every pound spent.

'More journeys are cycled than taken on Metrolink, yet there is no comparison with the level of investment. Schemes to enable cycling and walking are extremely low cost compared to other transport investment...A cycle lane can be created for £50,000-£2 million per km.'

Boardman's Made to Move report: conclusion

In his conclusion, Chris Boardman makes clear that he is ambitious. 'At the moment, we are nowhere near where we need to be for walking and cycling, and it will be my mission to work with partners right across Greater Manchester to achieve a dramatic transformation in the next decade.'

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UK clean air plan July 2017

26th July 2017

Traffic jam, UK town

DEFRA today published its latest clean air plan, designed to combat illegal levels of NO2 pollution caused largely by diesel vehicles. The headline-grabbing feature of the document is a re-announcement of an intention already made public in 2011, to end the sale of conventionally-powered vehicles by 2040. Is there anything practical in the plans which will reduce pollution now? Read about the UK clean air plan July 2017.

Inspiration from Dutch cycle infrastructure

Bikes in Zandvoort

Bike lanes in the Netherlands are designed with thought and intelligence to create a joined-up, easily  usable network. I took a few photos of cycle infrastructure in Zandvoort, and I've added some comments about the intention of the planners. In the UK, we should pay particular attention to the way they give bike routes continuity, instead of making them give way to every side street.

Read about inspiration from Dutch cycle infrastructure.

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

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