A NEW walking and cycling action group for Greater Manchester has been formed, revealing plans to pedestrianise Deansgate and reduce school traffic.

Walk Ride Greater Manchester launched their campaign at the Friends Meeting House on Tuesday 4th December, which over 300 people attended.

Amongst the attendees of the campaign launch were The Guardian’s Helen Pidd, and former Olympian cyclist Chris Boardman MBE, Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester.

Organiser Claire Stocks announced: “We want Manchester city centre to become a place where people are prioritised. We want Deansgate to become our showpiece boulevard, a street that symbolises exactly what kind of place Greater Manchester aspires to be.”

Discussing their objectives, the group also planned a crackdown on pavement parking, a civilised school run and bikes to be trialed on the Metrolink.

Research from the charity Living Streets has found that during the morning peak, as many as 1 in 4 cars in England on the road are taking children to school.

Earlier this year, Chris Boardman unveiled his £1.5 billion ‘Beelines’ investment for a walking and cycling network in Greater Manchester, which he discussed.

Mr Boardman said: “The group itself is to hold people like me to account. Andy Burnham is my boss and if we don’t get it right, groups like this are not chained by working for an organisation or anything that they do, they can just call it as it is and that’s really important to put pressure on.

“As far as we’re concerned we want to create an example for active travel as a whole for Greater Manchester that is so big that it is unignorable for the rest of the country.”

Sustrans charity director Rosslyn Colderley added: “The investment that has been secured is fantastic and we really think that it’s going to have a transformative effect in Greater Manchester.”

Following a Q and A with Mr Boardman, the event finished with a group discussion in which they targeted a goal of 10,000 supporters in 2019.

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