TfGM starts works that will transform cycling in part of Manchester city centre (+ videos)

Bus priority programme which introduces segregated cycle lanes will be completed in 2015

by Simon_MacMichael   January 13, 2014  

Manchester Oxford Road cycle lane (source TfGM)

Work will start this month on a £54 million transport scheme in Manchester that will pave the way for parts of the city centre closed to motor traffic other than buses, taxis and emergency vehicles, while introducing segregated cycle lanes.

The works form part of what the bus priority programme drawn up by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), centred on Oxford Road, and which seeks to encourage people to reduce their car dependancy by switching to public transport or cycling and walking.

Currently, TfGM is reviewing responses to a public consultation on Oxford Road itself, but works on roads nearby will commence on 20 January.

The bus priority programme is due to be fully implemented next year, and the initial wave of roadworks will focus on Upper Brook Street, Higher Cambridge Street, Lloyd Street North, Upper Lloyd Street and Claremont Road.

According to TfGM: "The schemes include road and pavement widening and resurfacing, extended 20 mph restrictions and junction improvements. There will also be cycling, pedestrian crossing and bus stop improvements, along with better street lighting, and trees and landscaping in some areas.

"The complementary measures being introduced in surrounding neighbourhoods will support the bus priority package proposals on Oxford Road itself. These measures on Oxford Road are designed to improve bus travel and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists as well as enhancing the road's wider environment and its connections to surrounding areas."

Last year, TfGM released CGI videos that show how the proposals should look once implemented, including segregated cycle lanes that also run behind bus stops, similar to the ones Transport for London has introduced on the Stratford extension of Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS2.

Councillor Andrew Fender, who chairs the TfGM Committee, commented: “I’d like to thank local residents and businesses for bearing with us while these works take place.

"There will be some short term disruption to journeys through the area but ultimately the sustainable transport and road safety improvements will benefit Manchester for decades to come."

Councillor Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, added: “This work will bring huge improvements to a large number of people who use those roads, making them safer and more efficient for cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and public transport users.

"They will also support a range of important new measures which have been proposed along Oxford Road.”

Last year. Greater Manchester was awarded £20 million under the government's Cycle City Ambition Grant (CCAG) scheme to which will be added £11.1 million in local match funding.

The city's successful bid application said:

The funding will kick start Velocity 2025, which will, over time, create a city-wide cycle network. Initially, as part of the CCAG funding, this will involve a series of high quality cycle lanes that will lead from the city centre out to the M60 like spokes of a bicycle wheel. Spokes will have a Cycle and Ride station located several miles from the city centre, allowing cyclists to leave their bikes and swap onto Metrolink or a local rail service for the last leg of their journey if they wish. As part of a door to door approach the proposals involve the introduction of 20 mph zones in some residential areas adjacent to the cycle “spokes” to enable safer access to the cycleways. Greater Manchester’s vision is to double the number of cycle journeys within 5 years and to double them again by 2025. The Government funding will bring 56km of new or improved cycle paths and predicted health and wellbeing savings of around £7 million a year.

Referring to the bus priority programme, Professor John Brooks, chair of Corridor Manchester, said: “The scheme will ultimately result in increased choice and access to Oxford Road for existing staff, future workforce, students and visitors, linking with the routes to Rochdale and Leigh.”

Pete Abel, spokesman of local cycling campaign Love Your Bike, told the Manchester Evening News that while a full appraisal of the plans could only be given once they had been finalised, the scheme should make conditions safer for cyclists, but he would like to see safety improved elsewhere too.

He said: “If the council and TfGM want more people on the roads they have to make them safer. This will be initially on Oxford Road but hopefully ultimately across the city.”

TfGM is holding a drop-in session at Asda Hulme this Thursday 16 January from 12 noon to 5pm so the public can see the plans and ask questions about them. 

More details of the proposals can be found on the TfGM website.

9 user comments

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posted by northstar [936 posts]
13th January 2014 - 21:55

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It'll only work if greater Manchester Police actually enforce traffic violations, which in my opinion they currently don't.

I saw a woman drive the wrong way up a road (booth street) and then mount a kerb to drop her kid off, a policeman nearby hand a quick word and then she was on her way. So what chance that they'll enfore bus lanes et cetera, nil I say.

posted by GREGJONES [87 posts]
13th January 2014 - 23:53

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"Work will start this month on a scheme that will pave the city."
would be enough. Maybe fill a few pot holes that aren't on Oxford Road. Beside why would I go through Rusholme to get to Oxford Road when the same buses, wall to wall parking and dicks doing U-turn on the Curry Mile are still there.

David Bowie agrees with me

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1046 posts]
14th January 2014 - 0:02

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Some of this looks great, except that they can't be bothered to deal with the bus stops properly in every case.

There is also plenty of junctions in that design which are very dangerous for cyclists due to "left hook by bus" problems.

Nice intentions, but bikes and high volumes of bus traffic sounds like a dangerous mix unless its done really carefully...

posted by P3t3 [30 posts]
14th January 2014 - 10:07

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If they do exactly what they show it will be stunning.

White buildings, white buses, white clothed people.

I can't wait.

It'll be tricky in the snow though...

posted by Mountainboy [63 posts]
14th January 2014 - 10:30

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P3t3 wrote:
Some of this looks great, except that they can't be bothered to deal with the bus stops properly in every case.

There is also plenty of junctions in that design which are very dangerous for cyclists due to "left hook by bus" problems.

Nice intentions, but bikes and high volumes of bus traffic sounds like a dangerous mix unless its done really carefully...

Agreed. The video made a specific point about the safety aspects of the bus-stop bypass, but then further on shows that it won't be all along the route. If people are scared to ride because of buses they STILL won't ride if they're forced to cross paths. Island bus stops would be more than possible while continuing the segregated cycle lane behind. I'd like to see the junctions designed properly, segregating in time what cannot be segregated in space.

It could be brilliant, but as always the devil is in the detail...

posted by teaboy [121 posts]
14th January 2014 - 10:32

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To reiterate - i could never understand why cycles and buses are considered good bed (or path) fellows.
It often seems that much effort is gone into creating bus lanes and cyclists are literally dumped into them because 'traffic engineers' dont know (or care) where else to put them.
Its a bit like organising a child's swimming lesson in a shark tank.
Not saying this is the case in this proposal - just making an observation

posted by Some Fella [614 posts]
14th January 2014 - 11:49

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I agree.

If they didn't permit cycling in bus lanes then I am sure that on-the-whole cyclists would use them anyway.

However that is not an excuse for the council to build a bus system and get "cycling infrastructure" on the cheap.

It feels like a difficult case to argue because on balance I'd rather be allowed to use the bus lanes than not (where there is no dedicated cycling infrastrucutre. But given their velo2025 ambitions in Manchester they really ought to be a bit more innovative in integrating the bikes in this system. The bike paths are very very welcome, but why have they done the same thing as they always do and given up when it got hard to put them in?!

There is almost nothing innovative in this plan - its just a standard UK bus/one way system with a few bikes painted on it. I see a lot of green paint but not that much bike infrastructure. Where is the segregation and left hook protection at most of those junctions?

posted by P3t3 [30 posts]
14th January 2014 - 15:37

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I'm interested to see how sucessful the bike lanes behind bus stops (not just in this location) turn out to be. My concern is that peds might view them as part of the pavement and wander blindly into them.

posted by Matt eaton [222 posts]
15th January 2014 - 13:24

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