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Cyclists have praised new pop-up cycle lanes installed along the A56 – with one saying it is the “first time they have felt safe in 40 years of commuting”.

Trafford Council announced its plans to close one lane of the A56, the main road from the borough into central Manchester, to make space for cyclists and pedestrians earlier this month.

Now the scheme is well and truly under way, with more routes being added and new speed restrictions in place.

(Image: Neil Meehan)

Councillors, including leader Coun Andrew Western, have already hinted the lanes could become permanent if feedback is positive.

Almost seven-miles of protected road space has since been opened up to cyclists and pedestrians for the first time, making it one of the longest cycle lanes in Greater Manchester, and commuters couldn’t be happier.

Neil Meehan said on Twitter: “Tried the A56 pop-up cycle lane today. The difference to before is like night and day, felt so much safer! Thanks Trafford Council. Edge lane was, too. Hope it can be extended through Chorlton/High Lane.”

A member of the A56 safety campaign added: “Tried [the A56 pop-up cycle lane] this weekend and in 40 years of cycling along the A56, this is probably the first time I’ve felt safe.

“Let’s hope the rest of Greater Manchester’s councils follow Trafford Council’s lead before the Government deadline this Friday.”

On Friday, June 5, applications for a share of a £250 million Government fund specifically for walking and cycling schemes will close to local councils.

The applications have been open for three weeks, with a total fund of £225 million for infrastructure and a further £25 million specifically for cycle repairs.

It is not yet known if Trafford Council has applied for this funding or whether it has been successful in securing any cash.

But the changes so far have been partially funded by a £5 million handout from the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s walking and cycling challenge fund.

(Image: Neil Meehan)

Previously, Trafford Council’s leader and cabinet member for the environment have both separately said that the currently temporary measures will be ‘carefully looked at’ by the council in line with its ambition for a ‘cleaner, greener future’ for the borough.

Trafford Council and its contractor firm Amey work together in the One Trafford partnership.

That partnership has already been pushing forward active transport schemes, including an active neighbourhood programme in Urmston, which will see new cycling and walking routes added throughout the area and campaigners are calling for similar programmes elsewhere.

Now, the partnership is working to extend the pop-up cycle lanes along the A56 and has suspended the bus lane between Chorley Street and its North East junction with Sir Matt Busby Way in Stretford.

OneTrafford tweeted that work is continuing to add pop up cycle lanes along Cornbrook Road and Warwick Road in Stretford too, with temporary 30mph speed limit imposed along Bridgewater Way.

A consultation where people can have their say on the current scheme and offer suggestions for its possible future is also open here.

The Greater Manchester ambition is to make its existing ‘Bee Network’ of cycle routes the most extensive in the country. The network is championed by cycling and walking commissioner and ex-Olympian Chris Boardman.


Posted: 2020-06-01 14:58:28

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