Work to transform the infrastructure in Manchester’s city centre will begin in the early new year, with work to improve the flow of cycle, bus and taxi traffic.
There will be six major new cycle routes into the city by 2017 as part of the £1 billion Grow projectm which also includes the Metrolink Second City Crossing and the bus priority project.
The cycleways are being built with the help of the government's Cycle City Ambition Grant, under more than £40 million is being invested by 2018 in cycle routes and infrastructure in Greater Manchester.
The efforts will begin in Portland Street, which is being totally remodelled between New York Street and Newton Street, in work that will take around nine weeks.
Once Portland Street reopens, it will be for buses, black cabs, emergency vehicles, deliveries and cyclists only between Minshull Street and Aytoun Street – improving bus journey times and reliability – with general traffic permanently re-routed.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: "The works on Portland Street represent a long-term investment into the future of Manchester city centre and will be carried out as quickly as possible to ensure that the benefits can be felt as soon as possible.
"Works of this nature are always challenging and we are working closely with Manchester City Council and other partners to keep disruption to a minimum – this is a short-term programme of work which will deliver huge benefits in the longer term."
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Keeping our city centre moving and making it easier to get around for years to come requires an ambitious and co-ordinated package of work. This major investment will transform people’s experience of travel in and across the city centre for the better.
“We recognise that the current partial closure of the Mancunian Way has had a knock-on effect on the road network as a whole and Manchester City Council is working with TfGM and other partners to put a package of measures in place from early in the New Year to support drivers and public transport users."
A 3D video fly-through takes people on a virtual journey through the transformed city, showing improvements for bus users, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.
In September we reported how the first of 13 Dutch-style cycle lanes taking cyclists behind bus stops opened on Manchester’s Oxford Road opposite Whitworth Park. The bypass lanes will form part of the Wilmslow Road Cycleway which will see infrastructure improved all the way down to Didsbury Village.
The new-style bike lane is designed to make it safer for cyclists on what is Europe’s busiest bus route. Rather than overtaking when buses pull over, the rider instead cycles behind the bus stop. The Manchester version of these bypass lanes also includes a zebra-style crossing for pedestrians – arguably a clearer layout than that used on equivalent lanes in London.
The plan is that by the end of 2016 every bus stop but one on Oxford Road from Moss Lane East to Portland Street will have the new lane and rather than cutting into pavements, roads will be made narrower. The one exception is the stop near the Temple of Convenience pub where a bypass lane will not be possible.
The scheme, which will include over 4km of segregated cycle lanes, will also see traffic restrictions imposed. Between 6am and 9pm, general traffic will turn off Oxford Road at Hathersage Road with only buses, taxis, cyclists and emergency vehicles permitted beyond.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.