As an early Xmas present on 20 December, Manchester City Council revealed its proposed designs to transform the Northern Quarter and prioritise people over motor vehicles.

Visualisation_of_Stevenson_Square__proposed_

The scheme promises:

– better features for cyclists
– less on-street parking
– more trees and pleasant public spaces
– smoother-flowing traffic
– nicer pavements
– a part-pedestrianised Stevenson Square
– some traffic-free stretches.

The Councils website places the scheme in the context of the city-region’s Bee Network: “These plans are part of a Greater Manchester-wide revolution for travel on foot and by bike. More than 1,800 miles of routes with 400 miles of Dutch-style segregated bike lanes will form the UK’s largest joined-up network for walkers and cyclists. The routes will connect every community in Greater Manchester and make healthy cycling and walking a real alternative to car travel.”

Comments via social media have pointed out potential options to achieve an even better outcome, including the full pedestrianisation of Stevenson Square and greater safety measures for cycling:

“The left side is being pedestrianised first to allow for public transport routes on the right, hopefully it will eventually become fully car and bus free!” @NQManchester

“OK now we get radical. I’m still working out the traffic flow, bus, and loading plan for the surrounding streets :) Lever Street potentially too busy for this, even with buses only.” @MCRCycleSam

Cycle Sam NQ

However, the plans are certainly an improvement on the existing car-centric movement network around the area and provide a vision for a future living, working and playing environment in the city more aligned to the status quo of illegal levels of air pollution, streets beholden to revving engines, and inequitable space distribution that sees 

The opportunity to respond to the consultation ends on 17 February 2020, and in the meantime there are consultation events are due to be staged:

– Thursday 16 January 3:30pm to 6:30pm: Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU

– Wednesday 22 January 1.30pm to 5.30pm: Trek Bikes, 41 Newton Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1FT

– Tuesday 4 February 1pm to 5pm: Manchester Craft and Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD

Alternatively, you can also view all of the designs and consultation survey via this link: secure.manchester.gov.uk

Ian Pennington