A “revolutionary” cycling and walking network in Greater Manchester would provide a national blueprint to reduce congestion and air pollution as well as improve health.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, the region’s cycling and walking commissioner, have said that the Government needs to provide financial backing to make the proposals, costing £1.5 billion, become a reality.
The foundation of the “world-class” plan is the Bee Network, which will provide 1,800 miles of protected space for cycling and walking throughout the region.
Salford itself has multiple walking and cycling routes, many of which have been revamped in recent years, such as the Bridgewater canal path.
Over the next 10 years it is projected the network will help deliver a 350% increase in daily cycling trips from 100,000 to 450,000 and a rise in daily walking trips by a third from 1,480,000 to just over 2 million.
Other expected benefits include up to over 100,000 fewer daily private car and taxi trips, a 10% reduction in traffic, an improvement in some journey times by up to 50% and an estimated £6.73 billion health boost.
Mr Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is creating the blueprint for a real culture change in the way people travel.
“Our city-region’s 10 districts have been working on these plans since 2017 and, crucially, residents have helped to develop them based on what they want their neighbourhoods to look like.
“Now we have a world-class plan and we know how to deliver it but we cannot do it alone.
“We need the Government to back us with sustained funding over the next 10 years to enable us to complete the Bee Network.
“If they do so they will be helping create a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country.”
Mr Boardman said “It’s impacting our air, our health and the place we’re expecting our children to grow up, get on and grow old.
“To revolutionise travel across a whole city region we’re asking for the same financial backing over a 10-year period as it’s costing for a single junction improvement scheme in Bedford. I know which will return the best investment – not only for our city-region but the nation as a whole.”
The Change a Region to Change a Nation report was jointly commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Mayor.