Active Travel England (ATE) has confirmed it will award £23.7m to Greater Manchester as part of a wider boost to active travel funding across the country, making it the largest regional settlement in the UK.
In addition, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is due to approve the release of £17m from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund for four major active travel schemes when leaders meet next week.
Both sources of investment will enable Greater Manchester to progress with its long-term ambition to create the largest walking, wheeling and cycling network in the country, and further unlock the health and environmental benefits of active travel for people across the city-region.
“The news of this funding award from Active Travel England is a sign of confidence in the plan we have here in Greater Manchester for the development of our Active Travel network,” says Dame Sarah Storey, Greater Manchester’s active travel commissioner. “It’s vital that we are linking to the wider public transport system and building a Bee Network that provides genuine journey choice for residents and visitors alike.
“The new funding, as well as the funding drawn down from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, will be used across all 10 boroughs on a variety of infrastructure projects. The key focus remains that a universally accessible network is the aim and so the projects vary from segregated and accessible paths and crossings, to secure cycle storage and upgraded junctions.
“I am looking forward to seeing all of the funded projects come to life as they will further add to the high quality, comprehensive network of active travel routes that are needed across the region.”
The £23.7m has been allocated to 13 schemes in total, including a new active travel corridor along Chapel Street in Salford and a striking cycling and walking ‘helix ramp’ as part of the new Stockport Interchange.
The eye-catching 180m spiral ramp (pictured above) will link a new rooftop park to the River Mersey and the TransPennine trail, and to a wider network of cycling, walking and wheeling routes. The ramp will not only be a striking structure to look at, but it will also provide a seamless and dedicated link for users to walk, wheel or cycle to the new park from ground level, and vice-versa.
The first phase of Salford’s Chapel Street East scheme, between New Bailey Street and Blackfriars, will make it easier and safer for people travelling on foot or by bike by providing high quality cycle lanes, as well as improved footways and crossing provision.
With approximately five million journeys made on Greater Manchester’s road network each day, the investment in active travel infrastructure will further enable people to opt for different modes of transport and in turn reduce congestion.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, adds: “The scale of our ambition in transforming how people get around is huge; with a target for one million extra journeys being made on public transport or by bike or foot every day by 2040.
“To meet this challenge head-on we are delivering our transformational Bee Network, which will make travelling easier, cheaper and more accessible and connect our trams and buses – and ultimately local train services – with the largest cycling, walking and wheeling network anywhere in the UK.
“It is great news that all 10 of our boroughs will benefit from more than £40m being invested in active travel schemes across the city-region.”
As well as funding to deliver new and improved cycling and walking routes, leaders at next week’s GMCA meeting will also be asked to approve the release of funds – allocated to the city-region from the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) – to enable the ongoing development of plans for a range of transport projects, including a new train station at Golborne, a new quality bus route connecting Ashton and Stockport and the development of future rapid transit schemes.