A report outlining proposals for a revised City Centre Transport Strategy, with a long-term emphasis on cycling, walking and public transport and reducing car journeys, will be heard this month.
It will replace the existing strategy, which was published in 2010 and will take into account the city centre’s continuing economic and population growth and Manchester’s ambition to become a zero-carbon city by 2038 at the latest.
Pending approval from the council’s Executive on Wednesday 16 October, an initial engagement exercise will be undertaken to generate ideas with key stakeholders in the city centre and surrounding wards, to begin to develop a new strategy, with the support of Transport for Greater Manchester and Salford City Council. This initial engagement will be followed by a staged, longer-term public consultation process.
The proposed new strategy will be aligned with the 2040 Greater Manchester Transport Strategy - which has set a target of 50 per cent of all Greater Manchester journeys being taken by public transport, bike or on foot - and the findings of the Manchester City Centre Strategy Transport Conversation, which was held last autumn.
This conversation, which attracted 3,700 responses from people and organisations across Greater Manchester, found that 90 per cent of respondents saw air quality as an important issue, with 80 per cent agreeing that improving public transport, cycling and walking would be the best way to improve air quality.
Traffic and congestion was identified as one of the biggest problems when travelling into and around the city centre, with around 70 per cent of respondents saying that reducing traffic levels would be the best way to create a high-quality city centre.
Following on from this conversation, the council has developed a vision for 90 per cent of all trips to the city centre during the morning peak to be made on foot, by bike, or on public transport by 2040, with walking prioritised by making the city centre a more intuitive and safer place to navigate. Even as the number of journeys into the city centre is set to increase significantly in the coming years, the vision is to reduce the number of car journeys, not just as a proportion of the total, but as an absolute number.
The report will be heard by the council's Economy Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 10 October before being considered for Executive approval on Wednesday 16 October.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “The new City Centre Transport Strategy will set out how we’re going to improve our public transport network and make the city centre a cleaner, more attractive place to walk and cycle, setting a firm direction of travel towards reducing the number of car trips for the long-term future.
“These are necessary steps which will help us to meet the city’s ambitious zero-carbon goal and to improve our air quality, making the city centre a healthier, more enjoyable place to live and work.
“Manchester is a dynamic, fast-growing city, which is attracting more and more people and businesses. We need to continue to create high-quality jobs and ensure that local people can access those opportunities via public transport, cycling and walking wherever possible.
"Even though the number of journeys into the city centre is set to increase significantly in the coming years, our aim is to reduce the total number of car journeys. Creating a better, more liveable city centre environment is not an additional extra - it must be at the heart of how we continue to grow in the coming decades."
Councillor Roger Jones, executive support for transport, Salford City Council, said: “We have had a number of discussions with Manchester City Council in recent months and we look forward to commenting on the revised City Centre strategy report.”
To read the report, go to https://democracy.manchester.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=132&Ver=4