Trafford Council’s Labour leader has unveiled bold plans to provide cycling space along one of the borough’s main roads, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cllr Andrew Western, who is also Green City Lead at Greater Manchester Combined Authority, has approved blueprints for a potentially seven-mile stretch of the A56 to be sectioned off for cyclists.
The move will ensure people who need to make essential journeys can do so safely and with assurances on social distancing.
The authority has been able to move rapidly on this ambitious scheme after receiving emergency cash from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.
Trafford’s political leaders are working alongside partner Amey at One Trafford Partnership to develop more schemes in the short-term to see how these changes can help deliver its longer term ambitions for a cleaner and greener transport network that will support and encourage more active travel and a reduction in car journeys.
Cllr Western, said: “Trafford is facing a huge economic challenge in terms of its recovery from coronavirus – and by working together we can support one another to get us back on our feet.
“It’s imperative that our immediate focus is on how people can move safely around the borough with proper social distancing and space to walk and cycle.
“We have to address these fundamental issues to help businesses as they begin to reopen and start the process of rebuilding our economy.
“At the same time we must not lose sight of our longer term ambitions for Trafford as a healthy, vibrant and welcoming place to live and visit – and not choked by traffic and pollution.
“This is not the end of our work in this area, but the single largest intervention we can make quickly to increase space and ensure that those without cars can commute safely in line with social distancing advice.”
Cllr Steve Adshead, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change at Trafford Council, also welcomed the scheme.
He said: “We will also be looking closely at how these short-term and essential measures that will be introduced can help us move towards a place that we want future generations to be able to enjoy.”
This initiative will feature a trial period introduction of a route for walking and cycling along the A56, from Altrincham to the border with Manchester at Bridgewater Way and Chester Road.
This will involve protecting one of the lanes currently dedicated to road traffic and repurposing and signing it for pedestrian and cycling use.
This is a major piece of work and will involve the A56 being divided up into areas and delivered in phases.
The first phase will be from Stretford Mall, northbound towards the city linking to existing cycle routes on Talbot road initially, being followed by the section from Dane Road to Stretford Mall including the Barton Road gyratory.
The plan for this would be to introduce these sections within the next two weeks or as soon as is reasonably practical.
These temporary works will be designed and agreed with Greater Manchester Police, the other emergency services and the GMCA to ensure safe and efficient movement along this important corridor, while improving provision and safety for cycling and walking.
If this initiative proves successful further sections of the A56 will quickly follow suit moving southwards into Altrincham over the coming weeks totalling seven miles.
The proposals will assist movement for cyclists but also for pedestrians with special crossing points being introduced at locations such as bus stops and traffic signals to assist those on foot.
Additionally adjustments will be considered to all traffic signal installations to accommodate the removal of one lane.
A new page will be launched on Trafford Council’s website, which will direct people to an interactive map. This page will allow residents to identify areas of concern on the map and suggest ideas that will be reviewed. It will also encourage people to nominate other neighbourhoods that could benefit from reduced traffic.
These ideas will allow engineers to target those areas most in need and work up projects for consultation. The map and the website around it will also provide further information about existing projects and allow residents the opportunity to add their comments and engage with the project team.
In the coming weeks and months, the council will be looking at making changes to road networks across the borough, including some around local shops and residential neighbourhoods.
These plans will be developed by way of a public consultation exercise with input from ward councillors, residents and community groups.
The key focus will be on shifting road user priority away from motor vehicles and towards safer and more environmentally friendly ways to travel.
Other proposed route changes elsewhere in the borough include:
- Footway widening to maintain social distancing around businesses with queues:
- Flixton Road, Urmston, outside Malcolm’s Pharmacy
- Station Road, Urmston, outside Whittaker’s Fish and Chips and Pinocchio’s Takeaway
- Pop up Cycle ways – Coning off lanes where applicable:
- A5145 Edge Lane, Stretford, between A56 Chester Road and Kings Road – Coning off of lane 1 in both directions
- Old Hall Lane, Sale Moor, between Dane Road and Wythenshawe Road – Coning off of lane 1 in both directions
- A5145 Edge Lane, Stretford, between Kings Road and Cromwell Road – Pop up cycle lane eastbound
- Road closure and change of use:
Moss Lane between Oakfield Road and A538 Stamford New Road – Temp POD pedestrians and cyclist only