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Plans unveiled for 81 miles of new cycling and walking routes in Tameside
Thursday 5th July 2018 @ 15:44 by Tom Greggan
News Tameside

An innovative new plan to create 81 miles of new cycling and walking routes has been unveiled by Tameside Council.

It’s part of a proposal for Greater Manchester to create a 1,000 mile-long network for people travelling by bike or foot, which would be the UK’s biggest.

In addition to the new routes, seven miles of ‘Dutch-style’ segregated cycling lanes and 63 new or upgraded crossing points are being proposed. These will better connect every community in the district and make cycling and walking a real alternative to driving.

Named ‘Beelines’, the plans for the new network have been developed with all ten of the local authorities in Greater Manchester.

The proposals were announced by Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman. He said: “I have been massively impressed by the political will of Tameside Council to come together to make this plan a reality.

“It’s not really about people using bikes and walking; it’s about making better places to live and work by giving normal people a real choice about how they travel. In doing so, we will make the city region healthier and more prosperous.”

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman.

Around 250 million car journeys of less than one kilometre are made per year in Greater Manchester; the equivalent of a 15 minute walk or a five minute bike ride. A large proportion of those trips are school runs.

In the Netherlands, 50% of children bike to school every day but in Greater Manchester, that number is less than 2%. Beelines aims to make walking and cycling the natural choice for short journeys.

The plans also support Tameside Council’s ‘Our Streets’ campaign, which is bringing the local authority and public together to create a cleaner, greener, safer borough.

Tameside Council Executive Leader, Councillor Brenda Warrington, said: “It’s vital that we reduce air pollution and help the population get fitter and healthier. These 81 miles of new cycling and walking routes across Tameside will give residents a cleaner, greener and safer option to enable them to leave the car at home and be more active. They will link with a 1,000 mile long network that connects communities throughout Greater Manchester.”

BEFORE: The current map of Tameside’s cycling and walking routes.

Maps showing the proposed plans for each local authority in Greater Manchester have been published on Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s website. The proposed routes and crossing points have also been published on open data website, where interested members of the public can collaborate on the plans for their area.

The plans represent the first iteration of the network that could be expected to be delivered over the next four years. A second iteration of the map will be published later in the year.

Chris Boardman added: “Planners, engineers and most importantly, local people in each district led on creating the first draft of these plans, which will evolve in the months and years ahead. By involving local people from the very first stage, and enabling them to inform the details of each proposed route and crossing, we will get the outcome they need, not what we think they need.

“That’s why we’ve taken the decision to create a first draft then immediately make it available to the public. This will be Greater Manchester’s network and it’s important that residents’ voices are the loudest, that they own it from start to finish.”

AFTER: The new 81 miles of cycling and walking routes would improve connectivity across the borough.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, made the decision in March to allocate £160 million of the government’s Transforming Cities fund to the project. It brings the total spend on cycling and walking in Greater Manchester to around £15 per head, which is at the levels seen in cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Further funding streams are currently being identified in partnership with TfGM and the ten local authorities.

Speaking about the plans, Andy Burnham said: “I have no doubt that Chris Boardman and Tameside Council will do us proud and make journeys on foot or by bike the first choice for local trips.

“This will help to tackle congestion and it will help to tackle poor air quality, as well as boosting people’s health and fitness levels. We have £160million to get us started and we have a plan that has something in it for every single person in Greater Manchester.”

Further information on Beelines is available on TfGM’s website here.