Council leaders are under pressure to make Oxford Road in the heart of Manchester a ‘no car’ zone as they implement the city’s first Dutch-style segregated cycle lanes.
City council and Transport for Greater Manchester teams are gearing up to make the changes, which will see most segments of the Oxford Road corridor closed for private motor traffic from 6am to 9pm. However cyclists have said a total restriction, or at least one lasting until midnight, is needed to make cycling safer.
Jonathan Fingland, Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC) chair, said: ‘We’re disappointed to see that private motor vehicles are not being restricted till midnight, we’re hoping this can be discussed further.’
After a recent public consultation, concluded on December 21, GMCC urged the city council to make sure restrictions are enforced well.
Lead member for Department for Transport funded Velocity Programme - now renamed 'Cycle City' - Cllr Luthfur Rahman, told Transport Network: ‘We have tried to ensure local and political acceptance for the segregated lanes, bus bypasses and the plans around them. Carrying out all the works within a £7m budget from the Cycle City Ambition Grant has been a challenge for us.’
Finlay McNab, Sustrans national lead for community street design, said: ‘Getting people out of their cars, means more people out and about and more ‘eyes on the streets’ which collectively makes streets feel safer. An experimental approach to street planning which enables communities to see for themselves the relative merits of proposals can be effective way to develop consensus on emerging design and traffic management proposals.’
In August 2013 Manchester was awarded £20m from government towards its VeloCity 2025 aspiration for a 300% increase in cycling by 2025.
Update: This story has been amended. We originally understood implementation of the scheme would begin in March but no fixed date has been set for the Oxford Road project.