Oldham councillor backs 'Safe Streets' campaign

Date published: 15 May 2020

Greater Manchester’s council leaders have committed to creating enhanced shared spaces for pedestrians and people on bikes across the city-region, to ensure people can keep their distance for essential journeys and exercise during the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.

Brought together under the "Safe Streets Save Lives" campaign, local authorities are looking to prioritise a range of temporary, pop-up measures such as footway extensions, one-way streets, removing through-traffic on certain roads, adding extra cycle lanes and removing street ‘clutter’ like pedestrian guard rails at 'pinch points'.

The emergency changes will be matched to help ease social distancing at specific locations such as areas outside shops, transport hubs or routes to hospitals, with £5m of funding made available through the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.

There has been a dramatic fall in traffic levels across Greater Manchester, but walking and cycling now account for approximately a third of all journeys. 

These trends have also led to congestion almost being eliminated and significant drop in pollution.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has written to the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, asking him to enable local highway authorities to fast track the approval of side road zebras, as part of the emergency response.

Evidence shows that most road users recognised side road Zebra markings that are currently used across the world.

Mr Burnham said: "Greater Manchester has been leading the way with our plans to build the largest walking and cycling network in the UK.

"A number of cities around the world have begun implementing measures to enable safe essential travel and exercise during lockdown.

"As part of our efforts to Build Back Better in Greater Manchester, we’re taking the same, bold approach - Safe Streets really do Save Lives.

“Peoples’ travel behaviour across our city region has transformed during lockdown.

"As more people turn to walking and cycling, we want that to continue as we move into life beyond lockdown.

"That’s why we’ve proposed measures, backed by up to £5m of funding, to create space which allows people to continue making safe, sustainable journeys."

Oldham Councillor Ateeque Ur Rehman, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Over the coming weeks and months it is vital that residents feel safe when using our streets and public spaces.

“Coupled with this, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get around so they can carry out essential journeys and exercise.

“We’ve come up with a number of measures that we feel will help out, and they also fit with our long term ambitions of becoming a greener borough.”

Oldham Council is proposing a number of ways to help with social distancing for cyclists and pedestrians.  

These include looking at better access routes into schools and education centres and also seeing if we can remove any potential blockages - including badly parked vehicles - on streets so people find it easier to get about.

Road markings will be refreshed and the authority will be working  with TfGM to ensure social distancing is observed on public transport.

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