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Letter to our neighbours on the One Levenshulme protest

We support your right to protest, even if we don’t agree with your desire to remove the trial modal filters and suspend the Active Neighbourhood project.

If you really want to reduce traffic and air pollution that means reducing the amount of journeys made by car. 30% of journeys in Manchester made by car are under 1km. If we could transfer many of those journeys to walking and cycling, that would make a big impact on traffic and pollution.

Making walking and cycling attractive enough for those that currently drive involves providing a safe and comfortable network of infrastructure to allow that to happen. That means linking filtered roads with crossings and speed calming measures on main roads.

We need both filtering and main road interventions for a functioning active neighbourhood. If you narrow and add crossings to main roads without filtering the adjacent streets, cars would redirect down these back streets. We need a low traffic neighbourhood, not just a slow traffic neighourhood.

One Levenshulme (OL) ignore that the trial of filters will unlock £1.8 million in funding, which can be used on permanent measures, including measures for main roads. Removing the trial would be devastating for residents on both filtered and unfiltered streets. Filters mean Funding for our community.

We thought this was common knowledge. In December last year OL supported the trial of 14 of the planned filters and an additional 5 paused filters, which they acknowledged had ‘strong support from the community‘ (OL have since deleted that post, but we took the precaution of archiving it for posterity, since we suspected such support was a temporary position short of campaigning for the total removal of filters later on.)

We mustn’t forget that at the major public consultation that took place ahead of the trials, some 2/3rds of residents supported them going ahead. There is clear majority in favour of both the concept of filtering rat runs and trialing filter locations. OL’s petition calls for the scrapping of the ongoing online public consultation while at the same time their website encourages residents to participate in it. Which is it to be? It’s not right to only accept consultation outcomes where they reflect your opinions.

S4P will continue to campaign for fewer cars, less pollution and safer walking and cycling on every street. This is why we started our “join the dots” campaign that has 3 major asks:

  • Take action on “boundary roads”
  • Strengthen the network of modal filters to make safer routes, not just individually filtered streets
  • Encourage walking and cycling via other measures, including School Streets and walking buses, improvements to pavements, provision for cycle parking, etc.

Only with all of these actions will a true active neighbourhood be possible.

We have also put together a list of detailed suggestions for plans for every street with through traffic in Levenshulme. Take a look.

As ever, we would be happy to meet with the leaders of OL to discuss how to constructively move forwards, and heal some of the hurt in our community. OL have never taken us up on that, but the door is always open.

Much more needs to be done by the council, which is why we continue campaigning, but nothing will be achieved by ripping out filters, reopening rat runs and returning to the status quo.

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