The latest steps towards a new transport strategy for Manchester city centre will be presented in a report to Manchester City Council’s Executive this month.
The new City Centre Transport Strategy will aim to reduce car journeys in the long-term and prioritise walking, cycling and public transport trips. It will set out how the city centre’s streets can be best managed to meet these goals, reduce air pollution and contribute to the city’s goal of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest.
A series of workshops with city centre residents, businesses, commuters, transport operators and representatives of disabled people and older residents have been held to inform the new strategy, which will be brought forward for public consultation later this year by Manchester City Council.
Participants challenged the council to be ambitious in setting targets to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, while supporting plans which are already in place to improve and prioritise walking and cycling routes in the city centre.
They agreed that any city centre transport strategy should prioritise the needs of pedestrians and disabled people first, followed by cyclists, public transport, goods deliveries and finally vehicle traffic.
Ideas debated in the workshops included the pedestrianisation of key city centre streets, creating more green space and planting trees, more segregated cycleways, bus gates and bus priority lanes, moving car parks to the edge of the city centre and preventing through-traffic.
A report summarising the results of the workshops will be heard by Manchester City Council’s Executive on Wednesday 12 February.
The new strategy will be developed jointly by Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester. It will be aligned with the 2040 Greater Manchester Transport Strategy - which aims for 50 per cent of all Greater Manchester journeys to be taken by public transport, bike or on foot - and with the findings of an initial Manchester City Centre Strategy Transport Conversation, which was held in autumn 2018.
90 per cent of 3,700 respondents to the conversation identified air quality as an important issue, while 80 per cent agreed that improving public transport, cycling and walking would be the best way to reduce air pollution. Some 70 per cent of respondents said that reducing traffic levels would be the best way to create a high-quality city centre.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “We’ve heard a lot of really exciting ideas about how the future of our city centre’s transport system should be shaped. Now it’s time to create a strategy which will help us to reduce air pollution and respond to the climate emergency, while making Manchester city centre a more attractive, accessible and healthier place to live, work and visit.
“We’re aiming to bring forward more schemes to promote walking and cycling in the city centre and want to accelerate this work, while ensuring that the local transport system works for everyone. This is why we’ve been listening to residents, businesses and other interested parties throughout the process so far and will be holding a public consultation later this year, to make sure that everyone has the chance to have their say.
"Mancunians have 'voted with their feet' and so we will now create a strategy which leads the way to more space for people to walk, talk, meet in and enjoy their city centre."
To download the report, go to https://democracy.manchester.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=147&MId=624&Ver=4.