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Levenshulme bidding to become Manchester's first 'Mini Holland'

Aim is to reallocate road space to reduce car use for short trips and to increase levels of cycling and walking

Levenshulme is bidding for £3.5million of funding to turn a one-mile area into the most cycle-friendly part of Greater Manchester. The project, which draws inspiration from London’s Mini Hollands, would be branded the Levenshulme Bee Network after the region recently renamed its Beelines cycle lanes following a copyright dispute.

The Manchester Evening News reports that the filtered neighbourhood has been proposed by Levenshulme Bee Network, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman.

The project has been coordinated by volunteer Pauline Johnson, who said: “We want to create the most cycle friendly and walking friendly area in Greater Manchester.

“The idea would be that within the mile radius – which is a 10-minute walk – we would see linking up of back streets to create better connectivity between community centres, doctors and schools, for example.”

Pointing to one of London’s Mini Hollands, she added: “Doing this has transformed Waltham Forest’s neighbourhood – people have been enjoying the benefits of walking and cycling to school, with more places to play, and we want to do the same here.”

The aims are to reduce car use for short trips, create a safe area for children and increase the levels of walking and cycling.

“It’s all about safety – getting from A to B – but also issues like improved air quality,” said Johnson. “Levenshulme is three-times the legal limit outside primary schools, which needs to change.”

She added that the project would not affect the A6, one of Manchester’s main arteries into the city centre.

“It won’t touch the A6, which is a major road – unlike Chorlton, for example, who for their bid have gone for segregated cycle lanes around the main roads.

“We understand that there may be some reservations, but want to win hearts and minds. If our bid is successful there will be plenty of opportunities to contribute ideas to the scheme. We want everyone to have a voice.”

Chris Boardman commented: “The fantastic thing about this proposal is that it has been community led. The people of Levenshulme want to enhance their neighbourhood, enabling more people to travel locally without using cars. All credit to Manchester City Council for recognising the potential and taking a bid forward.”

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Pilot Pete | 4 years ago
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My wife is mayor of our town and has spend 3.5years trying to enlighten he councillor colleagues to the benefits that increased cycling and walking and reduced car traffic in our small town would bring.

She is unfortunately shovelling sand uphill. We are a market town with 26,000 residents that is set in its ways and ALWAYS prioritises traffic flow above everything else. They even built a four lane dual carriageway right through the middle of the town several decades ago thinking that a great idea to reduce congestion.

They are at least 20 years behind cities in their thinking and simply just don’t get it as they are all old and more importantly unfit car drivers who see a mile trip into town in their car as their ‘right’. I’ve had arguments with several of them about me (a cyclist) not paying road tax - the borderline illiteracy of elected councillors is shocking.

My wife has boxes of evidence regarding air quality, health benefits, lifestyle enhancements, reduced congestion, reduced NHS burdens, cost benefit ratios regarding cycling vs other transport modes etc etc. They just don’t want to hear it. Her mission is to provide a safe, segregated cycling network for local journeys.

Even when she pointed out that getting just 100 school kids out of the 4500 in the town cycling to school each day rather than being driven would cut 50,000 short car journeys per school year during peak travel times, they were stunned but still didn’t want to actually hear it and consider supporting her ideas.

It is symptomatic of apathy across our nation. Everyone knows that we cannot keep building roads and infrastructure based around the motor vehicle, but they are too resistant to actual change as the majority of the public are car drivers who hate cyclists...

I take my hat off to the Levenshulme volunteers and wish them well with their project, but one thing is for sure; they will face SIGNIFICANT opposition from a vocal minority, jus like they did in London with spurious fears being raised and an unwillingness to listen or accept that the scheme could actually make their living environment better. It will all be about their ‘rights’ as car drivers to not be restricted in where they drive, claiming the scheme will cause horrendous congestion, be disastrous for local traders etc etc etc.

All of this is incorrect, but they won’t listen and they will campaign hard against such a scheme. What they need to do is mobilise all the right minded residents - which will be mainly families who realise it is their children’s future.

HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago
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What a great initiative.

I've noticed that I rarely have my finger on the pulse, and I don't have any idea how the people of Levenshulme will react - but I hope they back the idea.

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