Active Travel Summit By Jo Somerset



I attended the Active Travel Summit organized by Labour Cycles on 16th March. Despite the London-centric nature of the conference (raised eyebrows that we’d come from Manchester), there were some points that it’s worth Walk Ride GM considering.


Firstly, Sadiq Khan has a 20-year target for 80% of trips in London to be by walking, riding or public transport journeys.  Are we happy with TfGM’s equivalent target of 50%?  Whilst it would be amazing for half of all journeys to be NOT by car, is that ambitious enough for Greater Manchester 20 years hence, bearing in mind we’re supposed to be part of a game-changing transformation. I’d like to ask the Steering Group to raise this in their next meeting with TfGM.


Some people in WalkRide GM have been talking about ‘filtered’ neighbourhoods.  I now know what these are, but it would be better to call them ‘liveable’ or ‘low traffic’ neighbourhoods so that everyone can understand the concept. Ultra Low Emissions Zones benefit the poorest areas by banning diesel traffic from streets of low car ownership


We need to see children out and about on bikes, whether they’re cycling in an orderly manner supervised by their Bikeability instructor, pedalling in the park or even doing wheelies.  Don’t blame the victim – children are inactive and sedentary largely because the outdoors has been made so inhospitable, unattractive and hazardous. Hackney closes the streets for an annual children’s post-Bikeability ride led by the mayor. How about it, Andy Burnham and Bikeability providers?


As well as pushing for play streets, can WalkRide GM members join with Sustrans and others to push for ‘active travel schools’ to deal with the journey to school? In Cardiff, when a new school opened for its first intake in 2018, not one of the 100 pupils was driven to school.


WalkRideGM’s goal for traffic-free Deansgate should take a look at Waltham Forest’s daytime traffic-free scheme.  It’s brought life back to Leyton High St – against vociferous opposition – amongst other things, it has encouraged (and gained allies of) independent shopkeepers.


Cycle parking is a desperate unmet need, especially for people who don’t have room for a bike in their home. Cycle hangars are a no-brainer answer. Just one borough in London, Waltham Forest, has installed 350, with a waiting list of 400. The last I heard, we had two in the whole of Greater Manchester; we need thousands.


Hope this helps to add to WalkRide GM’s armoury of information to push for the best we can get in Greater Manchester.



Pic credits: Cycle hangar,


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