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Manchester Plans to Set an Example for the UK with New Cycling Plan

By Monica Buck

The 1,800-mile network of protected routes for both cyclists and pedestrians should provide significant benefits. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, expects an increase in journeys on foot or by bike by 2.5m a day. As it is now in the Manchester area, one in three car journeys is less than a kilometre long . The Bee Network, as it’s named, should cut the time of some of these journeys by up to 50%. The National Healthcare System should benefit as well. The improvement of people’s health could cut the expenses by £6.73bn.

The Guardian informs that the report Change a region to change a nation contains projections of a 350% increase in daily cycling trips over the next 10 years, from 100,000 to 450,000, a one-third increase in daily walking trips, from 1.48m to 2.05m, and up to 130,000 fewer daily private vehicle and taxi trips.

Bikeability cycling safety training for schoolchildren, Swinton, Greater Manchester. © Ian Canham / Alamy / Profimedia

The plans have been developed with the help of local residents in order for the neighbourhoods to be exactly to their liking. It seems that everybody is on board with the Bee Network.

Unfortunately, the municipality doesn’t have the funds to pay for the network alone. Thus, Andy Burnham is trying to get government funding. The plan is for Greater Manchester to serve as a blueprint for the whole country. The plans will be delivered to Westminster next week.

“Ask yourself this,” Burnham says. “Which form of transport investment delivers the most benefit? Build roads and you may get an economic benefit but not an environmental benefit. If you invest in Metrolink, you deliver economic and environmental benefits. But if you invest in a walking and cycling network, you get economic and environmental but also health benefits.”

Well, if you put it that way, it’s an easy choice, right?