Arup and partners start work on Greater Manchester’s active neighbourhoods

Arup has started work with Sustrans and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), 10GM and local councils to design 10 Active Neighbourhood schemes across the Greater Manchester city region.

The Active Neighbourhoods project aims to prioritise the movement, health and safety of people over cars. This includes using modal filters such as benches, planters or bollards to reduce traffic on residential streets, increasing walking and cycling for local journeys, and creating quieter, more attractive places for residents to chat and children to play.

The Active Neighbourhood schemes form part of the Bee Network, a 10-year plan for Greater Manchester to deliver what is claimed will be the UK’s largest joined-up cycling and walking network, eventually spanning 1,800 miles. 

The partners were chosen by TfGM because of their clear understanding of the need to put community engagement and community co-design at the heart of a scheme. TfGM said this is critical to the successful design and implementation of its Active Neighbourhoods programme.

James Tate, Arup Active Neighbourhoods Project Manager, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic, and measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, have resulted in extraordinary levels of active travel, such as walking and cycling, across the UK. With this, we’ve seen many cities temporarily reap the benefits of improved air quality, safer streets and stronger communities. Local councils now have the unique opportunity to create long-term behaviour change, in which active transport becomes the norm, by putting the right infrastructure in place across the UK’s cities.

“That’s why we are really excited to be delivering TfGM’s Active Neighbourhoods project, focusing on the need to design residential streets that allow people to access local facilities and public transport by foot and by cycle, and delivering the health, air quality and safety benefits of reduced road traffic. We are confident the project will help deliver a huge range of improvements for the Greater Manchester city-region.”

Rory Davis, Principal Urban Designer at Sustrans, said: “We’re very excited to be working with local communities on this ambitious programme, which will help transform residential streets across many areas in Greater Manchester that suffer from high road traffic accidents, health problems and poor transport links.”

Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Over the last decade, traffic levels on main roads have barely risen, but journeys on residential streets have risen by a staggering 45%. That’s five billion more miles being driven every year past people’s front doors, mostly by people using what should be quiet neighbourhood streets as shortcuts, and that’s not right.

“By stopping through traffic but keeping full access to homes for people who need to go there, active neighbourhoods prioritise those that call it home.”

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