Transport bosses and city council leaders are calling on the public to help them shape the future of transport in the city centre.
Manchester City Council and Salford City Council, supported by Transport for Greater Manchester, have today (8 August) launched a ten week conversation to find out what people who live and work in the city centre think of the current transport offering and what improvements they’d like to see delivered in the future.
The conversation presents those who know the city centre best with a real opportunity to let transport planners know what they think should be done to improve all aspects of travel in the city centre through the coming decade.
From major infrastructure such as a transformed Piccadilly Station and a possible Metrolink tunnel under the city through to high quality streets and public spaces with better air quality for cyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities.
Feedback received from the ten-week conversation will go on to shape the next City Centre Transport Strategy to support further growth in city centre living, employment and visitor activity expected in the 2020s.
The last City Centre Transport Strategy, published in 2010, looked to the year 2020 and saw several major transport improvements delivered across the city centre, including: the Metrolink Second City Crossing, dedicated cross-city bus services as part of the wider Bus Priority Package, the transformation of the Oxford Road corridor, new and improved cycle infrastructure and improvements to public spaces like St Peter’s Square.
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport for Manchester City Council, said: "We want people's experience of the city centre to be as good as possible. That's why we are planning ahead to ensure we have a city centre transport network that supports a thriving, welcoming and sustainable Manchester.
"The phenomenal growth of the city centre in recent years has been a real success story – creating new jobs, places to live, amenities and attractions. It's a vibrant place where people want to be but this popularity comes with its own challenges. Ensuring Manchester remains a great place people will require us to change the way we plan, operate and think about transport.
"We want to keep improving our transport system but this means balancing ease of access to the city centre while ensuring it is a healthy and attractive place to live. We also need to make sure that solutions don't have a negative impact in areas neighbouring the city centre.
“Our message to anyone who uses the city centre is to get involved in the conversation about the big transport issues facing our city and help us ensure we get this balance right for the future."
Over the next 20 years, city centre employment levels are expected to rise to around 270,000 people, with up to 100,000 city centre residents. And, with over 7 million people living within a one hour commute, the need to develop new and innovative transport solutions is essential to supporting the long-term growth of the largest centre in the North of England.
Cllr Roger Jones, Salford City Council’s Executive for Transport, said: “Some key parts of Salford can now be considered as being part of the city centre, so I hope that people from Salford get involved in this conversation.
“Whether they travel by bus, tram, train, car or cycle, this presents us with a chance to create a strong case for further transport investment to be made on the Manchester and Salford border.
“The development of the next transport strategy is about supporting growth, enhancing quality of life, boosting pride of place and generating a greater sense of wellbeing. I hope that many Salfordians seize this opportunity and help to influence the future of transport on our doorstep.”
Simon Warburton, TfGM’s Transport Strategy Director, said: “The growth of the city centre has been a major factor in Greater Manchester’s success over the past 10-15 years.
“In recent years we’ve made big strides to help more people to travel by public transport and to take up cycling and walking, allowing the city centre to grow in a more sustainable and inclusive way. A new transport strategy for the city centre will allow us to be clear on our transport priorities for the future, as we prepare for the arrival of HS2 and the realisation of the Northern Powerhouse.
“We can’t rest on our laurels and I hope local residents, businesses and city centre workers will join us in developing a vision for even better city centre transport.”
Anyone wanting to take part in the conversation can do so by visiting the webpage or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday 17 October 2018.
Findings from the conversation will be fed into the development of the draft City Centre Transport Strategy and then it is expected that a formal consultation on its proposals will take place next year.