A consultation is being launched on the first phase of a proposed scheme to improve road safety and air quality for Levenshulme and north Burnage.
Residents are being asked to have their say on the Active Neighbourhood plans, which have been reworked in the light of feedback from previous rounds of engagement with the local community.
The aim is to create better routes for short walking and cycling trips to local places like shops, schools, libraries and public transport hubs, while also making it easier to cross busier roads in the area.
Safety issues including rat-running, traffic speed and volume have been highlighted through analysis of traffic data and the community feedback received to date. Information collected has shown that a significant number of vehicles travelling through Levenshulme and Burnage are using local streets to “rat-run” to places outside the area.
The Active Neighbourhood approach seeks to reduce total vehicle journeys and redirect rat-running traffic away from local residential streets. This is achieved by locating strategically-placed filters, such as planters, on residential streets – preventing through-traffic while retaining essential access for residents, businesses and emergency services.
Further to feedback which has already been received, the council is now seeking comments on proposed additions, such as new pedestrian crossing sites and traffic-calming measures on roads on the outer boundary of the scheme area.
Before construction of a permanent scheme begins, a six-month trial version of the scheme is to be brought forward. The temporary version of the scheme will allow residents to see the changes to their streets and mean that alterations can be made if required before a final scheme is installed.
The £1.4m project, with support from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund for cycling and walking, is set to be delivered in two phases. Subject to the fresh consultation, a trial of the first phase of the scheme is provisionally due to begin during the Christmas school holidays.
Due to the high density of schools and local issues with traffic congestion, the council is continuing to seek opinions from residents, businesses and schools in the Cringle Park area on what measures are needed, before these are trialled in a second phase, which is provisionally set to start in early 2021.
Alongside the Active Neighbourhood project, the council is also working with schools in the area to explore and trial ‘School Streets’, where busy roads surrounding schools may be closed at certain times of day, while retaining access to and from local properties.
Evidence from other UK Active Neighbourhood projects points to significant benefits for local communities, including more active residents walking and cycling far more frequently, and lower levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide in the atmosphere, as local car journeys reduce. Studies have suggested that average life expectancy for residents can increase by as much as seven months, when compared to neighbourhoods without the same measures in place.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “The Active Neighbourhood scheme presents an exciting opportunity for major investment into Levenshulme and the north area of Burnage, which will improve road safety and air quality, promote active travel and reduce the reliance on cars for short journeys.
“We believe the measures we’re suggesting to improve walking and cycling routes and cut traffic levels will encourage people to walk or cycle for short trips to shops, schools and local amenities, helping to create a healthier, safer and more attractive neighbourhood.
“Over the summer, we’ve been busy working through suggestions and comments from the community, in preparation for bringing forward this plan for a trial scheme. We’re now calling on all residents and businesses to offer their feedback on the first phase of these ambitious plans.”
If you would like to comment on the proposals, go to www.manchester.gov.uk/consultations, where you can give feedback on the trial plans.
Stocks will also be made available from Arcadia Library & Leisure Centre and Burnage Library.