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Streets for All – Starting a revolution on the streets of Manchester
Danny Crump
14th May 2019

Transport is the lifeblood of our towns and cities. It has an impact on every aspect of people’s lives.

As our urban centres grow and work-life patterns evolve, issues around connectivity and movement have never been as important.

In Greater Manchester, as in all major conurbations, the road network is under pressure and with projected population growth over the coming years this is likely to become more acute.

Historically the road network has developed following an approach that has prioritised vehicle movements with the widening of carriageways and engineering of our streets. With disruptive shifts in mobility, vehicle technology and demographics, it’s time to rethink how we use our streets.

Across Greater Manchester, almost two thirds of all car journeys are less than 5km and in a bid to re-examine the balance between vehicles, bikes and people, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched its innovative Streets for All programme.

Streets for All is about creating better places for a future Greater Manchester, creating streets that balance the movement of people and goods with the inclusion of more people-friendly places. Streets for All explores the critical role that streets across the region play in creating sustainable, healthy and resilient places, with a focus on people rather than vehicles.

The programme supports the vision of the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 with its ambition that by this date we have one million more sustainable journeys per day. Approaching streets as places for people, not just traffic lanes is an essential part of our plan to support this ambition.

Delivering the vision

Transport for Greater Manchester is breaking new ground nationally, looking beyond city urban cores to a wider Greater Manchester, considering place as well as movement with the aim for city region-wide adoption of this more people-focused approach to better street design across our road network.

In progress is a programme of pilot study areas focusing on orbital, radial and city centre corridors within the region. The studies are a truly collaborative exercise: planners, engineers, urban designers, architects and quantity surveyors are all engaged in the process, liaising with a range stakeholders along the way from through a series of co-design workshops.

A consortium led by Mott MacDonald and including Broadway Malyan and Phil Jones Associates has been commissioned to examine a 50+ mile orbital corridor connecting eastern and northern routes around Greater Manchester between Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton and Wigan. The teams studying the radial and city centre corridors include WSP, BDP, City of Trees, Steer and PlanitIE.

Using a combination of data appraisal and site analysis, the three separate studies will define a set of recommendations around movement and place driven street typologies and locations for a series of interventions that will address key priorities such as improving connectivity, tackling congestion, reducing air pollution, encouraging active travel, supporting public transport, revitalising town centres and enabling new developments.

Work to date and the long term outcomes of Streets for All

Over the next six to twelve months, TfGM will publish its Streets for All strategy, which will outline its policy ambitions, present the findings from the first pilot studies and continue design development, business case production and ultimately delivery.

In the longer term, this is a key initiative that - as well as aligning movement and place strategies for the city region - also supports the aims of the recently published Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). The GMSF aims to improve productivity and address social inequality across the city-region. This project is well aligned with that ambition: the Streets for All approach is designed to stimulate regeneration and enhance access to jobs, education and health services.

In helping to achieve TfGM’s aspiration of a million more sustainable journeys per day by 2040, the Streets for All initiative will help enable economic growth and regeneration, reduce congestion, improve air quality and ultimately the health of the region as well as supporting community cohesion by creating places where people want to live and spend time.

With such a wide range of potentially transformative outcomes, the Streets for All initiative is about much more than just redesigning roads: it is about crafting healthy future places.

*Danny Crump and Nicola Kane, head of strategic planning and research at TfGM, presented the latest on the Streets for All project at the Place North West Transport Summit in Manchester on Thursday May 16.

Download the event flyer here

Pilot study - working concept designs