Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials

S4P: Consultation response

See below for our response to the Levenshulme and Burnage active neighbourhood consultation that we sent to Manchester City Council prior to November 4th, on behalf of our volunteers and 500+ supporters.

Into this we have put all of our knowledge and experience that we’ve gained from both engaging with our supporters and fellow residents in Levenshulme and Burnage and researching active travel and traffic management. In the past few months we’ve learned alot, and grown from a handful of people excited about making Levenshulme and Burnage better to a fully organised team.

This response is in no way meant to be exhaustive, as we can only draw on what we have learned ourselves, but we hope it gives the council some direction when it comes to making sure this trial has the highest chance of working for all of us, and helps residents see how this scheme could make our streets better for everyone.

You can download the full version of the consultation response PDF below, or read our summary bullet points first.

Response summary and recommendations:

Streets for People supports the scheme but asks that MCC work with local residents to identify where filters will be placed to help guarantee a successful trial and increase in pedestrian and cycle use for short journeys.

Thought will need to be given to the wider areas around the Active Neighbourhood trial area, to reduce traffic and encourage car use throughout Greater Manchester to enable transition to more sustainable forms of travel.


We would recommend that the following points are considered as part of the trial to make it as successful as possible:

  • There is a clear need for the trial and the trial should be kept as per the proposed plan or as close to the proposed plan to help create a truly active neighbourhood;
  • If the trial is to be successful it requires full public support of Councillors and officers within MCC. MCC need to be firm in their public support for the scheme;
  • The trial should be built on evidence and data to show how it has affected pedestrian, cycling, and vehicular movement within the trial area;
  • The trial needs to be undertaken in consultation with the emergency services and other partners of MCC;
  • Satellite navigation apps should be informed of changes to help reduce the risk of vehicles being misdirected;
  • The North Burnage part of the trial should be progressed without unnecessary delay to help bring benefits of active travel to local residents as originally promised;
  • School Streets should be considered as part of the trial or introduced as soon as possible to help compliment the Active Neighbourhood;
  • All roads within the scheme area should be reduced to a 20mph limit;
  • Raised crossings should be installed at junctions between main arterial roads and routes within the Active Neighbourhood (if they have been identified as routes with high or potential for high pedestrian footfall);
  • If any streets are to be reduced to one-way traffic, two-way movement should be maintained for cyclists;
  • Other measures to help walking and cycling need to be included to help promote the benefits of active travel, for instance pedestrian crossings, additional cycle parking etc;
  • Pedestrian and cycling crossings, which help break severance points, are equally as important as modal filters and these should be introduced as part of the trial, or as soon as possible to aid pedestrian movement;
  • The existing traffic using boundary and arterial roads needs to be considered, as well as the effect the trial has on it;
  • Where filters are installed, any on-footway measures to prevent vehicular movement should not impede pedestrian movement on the footway, including people with mobility aids and parents with prams and pushchairs.
Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials

We need more honesty in this consultation process

The money for the active neighbourhood trials comes from the ‘Mayor’s Challenge Fund’, which is being used to implement a Greater Manchester-wide high quality walking and cycling network.

The Fund is for the purpose of designing a Greater Manchester wide walking and cycling network which, when completed, will be one of the largest in the world.

The GM Bee Network project, headed by Chris Boardman recognises that previous attempts to improve walking and cycling through infrastructure has failed – it has not enabled the shift to walking and cycling from car use that it was supposed to. That’s because it’s been of poor quality, not following examples of places that have managed that shift. So the MCF only hands out money according to strict criteria that meets international best practice.

One of the key criteria is the ’12 year old on a bike test’.

Taken from: https://assets.ctfassets.net/nv7y93idf4jq/Xx5s7azQY1SYmdNKIAviX/e4395ab029410907365cd0962d17bf81/19-1950_Bee_Network_delivery_plan-style_-_website_version.pdf

On busy main roads, such as the A6, international best practice shows that you need to physically separate cyclists from motor vehicles with segregated cycle tracks. Would you want your 12 year old relative cycling on the A6 with anything less?

But that’s just part of the picture. Most local journeys in Levenshulme and Burnage are not on those main roads, but on the quieter ones. We need a walking and cycling infrastructure network that caters for those journeys too.

Otherwise, as London experienced with their Cycle Superhighway schemes, the main beneficiaries will be commuters accessing the city centre. What about the parents taking their children to school, what about the journey to the mosque, and what about local shopping?

There’s not the space on most of our streets to put in segregated cycle lanes, especially since most of our street space is used for car parking. So you have to manage car movements in a way that will make that 12 year old comfortable enough to cycle on the road to school. International best practice shows that neither traffic calming nor one way streets achieve that if traffic volume is too high.

The only way is to prevent rat running is through the use of ‘modal filters’ – so that only people actually driving on each street are the ones driving to that street.

How many modal filters you use in an area depends on the volume of traffic going down each through road. Unfortunately, where we live, every through road has too much traffic for comfortable cycling, and so all back streets require filtering.

So there’s no scenario where our community will gain from £2.5 million of improvements for walking and cycling without the widespread use of modal filters.

Our local councillors all know that. Unfortunately, they keep telling people (or at least heavily implying) that’s not the case, in a bid to quell opposition from a vocal minority, rather than take arguments head on.

There’s two interrelated problems with that strategy: 1 – it’s dishonest. Our campaign believes that you must win people over with conviction and confidence. 2 – people here are smart, and will record everything you say to discredit both you and the project in the future.

Please, stop messing the community about. We have a fantastic opportunity to make a huge difference to physical and mental health, to reduce transport-related inequalities, and to do our bit to stop the worst of climate change.

Be brave and make these arguments, and ensure that the project you started – which was a brilliant and brave thing to do – is successful. Thank you.

Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials

Leafleting campaign launch

Streets for People, Levenshulme and Burnage are proud to unvail our new leaflet and poster, which we will post through every door in the low traffic neighbourhood trial area.

We’re asking for participation from our supporters to distribute the leaflets. If you can, please email streets4peoplelb@gmail.com with the names of the roads you would like deliver leaflets to (Covid secure instructions will be provided).

Printing thousands of leaflets costs money, and our group has no source of funding. Therefore, we have launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise £1000 for materials. Please go here to donate, and please share the link with your friends and family: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/poster-levenshulme-amp-burnage?

Finally, here is a link to the poster iteself, for printing at home:

Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials Analysis and research

Active Neighbourhood: Access All Areas

“Roads are blocked to cars” is a statement we hear at least once a day about the active neighbourhood scheme, and yet it is clear from the map that anywhere a car can access before, it will still be able to.

But access to where? From where?

What the concern is for many is that they may have to find new routes out of their street, a concern that is valid. The Council can still do more to signpost how people’s driving patterns will have to change should they be unable to shift to cycling or walking. Even if we do walk and cycle more, some trips will still be made by car, and that’s alright.

To address these access concerns, and give people a clearer idea of how the overall scheme will look, Streets for People have created a colour coded “Access Map” that allows you to see where you will have to exit your street. We have also added in ALL street names, and even a couple of streets, that were missing.

Closer to the start of the trial, when filters have been finalised, it should be possible to create a visualisation that shows, where certain streets have a filter in the middle, which house numbers are on which side. This will particularly help delivery drivers and others whose work means lots of visits to different houses where it cannot be done without a car . This would be much better done through the official channels, but in absence of that Streets for People want to ensure there is no uneccessary delay due to lost drivers.

Access all areas: Google maps

Another issue, and often the reason there is so much through traffic on side roads, is navigation apps. Other active neighbourhoos schemes have found it takes Google Maps up to 6 weeks to update road closures, which could cause problems for anyone using GPS well into the trial. We would ask the council to consider contacting Google in advance of the trial to inform them of road closures.

Streets for People are going to begin to submit reports to google of the planned road closures prior to and immediately after installation, mentioning the date in case google decide to jump the gun. The more people report it the more likely they are to update, and the more we can avoid uneccesary congestion.

Here’s a handy video guide on how it works once you load up Google Maps. This uses Marley Road/Stockport Road filter location as an example but the process is similar for all of them. Google does not differentiate between a junction closure and a road closure, so you will have to specify a junction in your comment.

We hope this helped you understand a little bit more about the way the trial will work, and how you can still get to and from your residence. Streets for People are continuing to analyse the proposed plans and will be giving you more information soon.

If you want the full high quality version it is in downloadable PNG form below. Please report any mistakes! We’ve already identified a few places where roads were missing from the original map but there’s always room for improvement.

This map will have its own place on the site soon, but feel free to share (with credit). The more people see this map the more informed they will be about the upcoming scheme. We will make sure to update if the council make any changes!

Don’t forget to leave your feedback on the scheme on Commonplace

Happy travels!

Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials

Our community deserves better: Streets for People statement

Statement from Streets for People – Levenshulme and Burnage organising group

Streets for People are pleased to see lots of engagement with Manchester City Council’s feedback site for the filtered neighbourhood plans for Levenshulme and North Burnage. We understand that residents in these areas are also receiving brochures, and there are plans for Webinars, public meetings, or similar.

However, we are concerned with some of the quality of the engagement material, and apparent delays in reaching residents. We have been told that the Project Manager has quit, leaving his boss in charge, and this explains many of the delays and mistakes in the project, including engagement. We were always worried about the amount of work being asked of the Project Manager (who was also responsible for several other high profile schemes), and it now appears that the pressures on him led to his resignation.

We believe that the Project Manager situation is illustrative of Manchester City Council not putting in the financial and personnel resources required for a successful project, including the much-needed funding of School Street trials. Too much of the engagement work has fallen on too few shoulders, with many of the tasks performed by already overstreched neighbourhood officers, and in some cases, councillors themselves.

Yes, the Covid situation has made everything more difficult, but social distancing requirements mean more space for pedestrians is a priority, not something that should fall down the agenda, as recent national and local government statements have made clear.

Councillors have told us that resourcing problems are due to a general lack of funds with MCC. To this, we argue that our councillors should not simply accept the situation as it is. What are they doing to fight for more resources for our community? Why is it that vanity projects like the Great Ancoats Street ‘European Boulevard’ project receive £10 million in public funding, despite doing nothing for walking and cycling (and with, as it happens, very little consultation at all), while communities like ours are left to fight over scraps? It isn’t good enough. The project requires a full time Project Manager, dedicated solely to making it a success.

Furthermore, while we agree that all residents should have as much information about the trials as possible, and opportunities to influence the details of the trial, we do not understand the purpose of collecting positive and negative feedback on the trials as whole prior to them taking place. Commenting on individual filter or crossing locations clearly makes sense, but the purpose of the ‘Have Your Say on the Scheme Overall’ section is less apparent.

Anyone glancing at the existing comments will see over 400 comments, balanced largely between extreme support and extreme opposition. We don’t think that adequately reflects the views of the community. It’s likely that many want to see the trials in action before they make their minds up either way, or have become tired of responding again and again to such similar questions.

There are also a number of questions regarding this engagement (consultation?) process:

  1. How will responses, including the ‘have your say on the scheme overall’ play into shaping transport policy in Levenshulme and Burnage? It is simply a listening exercise, or will it stand in favour of, or detriment to, creating a ‘filtered neighbourhood’? What does a successful engagement look like?
  2. How will the many thousands of responses already collected in previous consultation responses to this project, including previous Commonplace exercises, public meetings, meetings with schools and community groups, and postal responses, feature in any such evaluation?
  3. It appears that the Commonplace site has been subject to spamming from all sides. How will the Council account for that? It is easy to set up new email addresses, fake postal addresses and fake IP addresses. How do the Council know comments received are genuine?
  4. Similarly, postal forms are completely anonymised. What’s to stop highly motivated individuals from submitting multiple forms, thus skewing results one way or the other?
  5. When will the public meetings take place? They need to happen soon.

Clearly, there will have to be a formal consultation on the scheme conducted in the fullness of time. The only sure way to ensure that it is fair and representative is to give each person on the electoral and/or council tax registers one feedback form each, with provision for those not on the register for whatever reason to have their say as well, and once everyone has had the opportunity to experience the changes first hand, following a period of bedding-in.

It would be a tragedy if, after all of these maps, announcements, online questionnaires, street clutter surveys, postcards, public meetings, meetings with schools, places of worship and community groups, and emails and collective letters to councillors, that the real voice of the community is not heard.

Streets for People are clear that we are in favour of the scheme going ahead, but that it is crucial to generate as much feedback as possible from as wide a section of the community as possible to ensure that it best serves the community.

Please engage with current proposals here.

Sign our collective letter to councillors here.

Categories
Active Neighbourhood Trials

Update: Levenshulme and North Burnage Active Neighbourhood

Streets for People Statement

We welcome the announcement from Manchester City Council that the active neighbourhood trial is still going ahead, and thank the councillors who have shown determination to get the trial started. We recognise that significant consultation has already taken place, but that some felt their opinions had not been heard. It is positive that the council is now pursuing further engagement through commonplace and public meetings. Streets for People will be doing our own work to ensure that as many people in the local area are informed about the consultation and trial as possible. The best way forward is to ensure everyone has access to clear information about the upcoming trial.

To that effect, we have created a comparison map and table of both the old scheme and new scheme at the bottom of our statement so that people can see where changes have occurred, with the keys of both the old and new maps provided.

We believe as a group that a trial is still the only way to find out how these measures will benefit our local area. We are glad to see that there are now several traffic and air pollution monitoring devices installed, especially on roads with high volume of traffic such as Broom Lane and Barlow Road. This data is public and will give us all a live look into how the trial measures affect traffic and pollution in several areas of Levenshulme.

From the information provided by the council, it is not 100% clear whether or not the much needed pedestrian crossing sites and traffic calming measures will be implemented during the trial period. We will seek urgent clarification from the council on this matter. Streets for People supports traffic calming measures for the whole of Levenshulme and Burnage. We want slower traffic and lower traffic.

We are also seeking clarification from the council as to how this engagement data will be used. The council must be clear that this is community engagement to improve the trials and the overall scheme. It is not a referendum on whether the trial should go ahead at all.

We are disappointed with some developments, particularly the further delay of School Streets programs that were due to begin in September. We are a month into the start of the school year and there has been continuing complaints from parents about the situation at the school gates. Recent data from Manchester Urban Observatory shows a distinct uptick in traffic around school times, and there have been multiple coronavirus outbreaks at local schools. Schools require action now and it is unclear based on the council’s information provided when measures will be implemented. A one-day school street closure will be nice, but won’t provide long term protection from both pollution and covid-19 around the school gates.

We are also disappointed about the delay of the Burnage part of the scheme.We spoke to many Burnage residents both online and in person who were looking forward to the trials. Two primary schools fall within the area which is now being delayed. Regardless, we look forward to this section of our community joining the trials in 2021, and the chance to see a low traffic neighbourhood working across the whole of the scheme area.

We will now take time to examine the plans in greater detail and to collect wider opinion from our supporters and signatories. We will examine the commonplace site to investigate the new feedback and see what the common themes are. We will be producing further information and comment on the plans as well as seeking clarification from the council where needed. If you want to let us know your thoughts on the plans, please get in touch at streets4peoplelb@gmail.com

This is just the start of what we hope will be many years of improvements for our community, including to areas of Burnage not covered by the current scheme.

For now, we encourage people to read the information we already have on our site (that we’ll be adding to regularly!) and comment their opinions on commonplace, as well as like comments they agree with. There is also no replacement for talking to those you know, letting them know about the scheme and what you think of it, ask them to comment and chat to others too (and sign the collective letter if they haven’t already!). The more information the council has about the scheme the more it is likely to reflect the views of the people of Levenshulme and Burnage.

***

Comparison map and table

See below for an interactive example of the two projects side by side. Bear in mind the original active neighbourhood vision map that includes crossings was for both during trial (filters) and post-trial, whilst MCCs phase 1 map is for the 6 month trial only.

Drag the circle in the centre to compare between the two.

Left legend is for the original scheme, with the right legend being for phase 1 of the new scheme. Note crossings and traffic calming have not been placed on phase 1 map yet as the council is still consulting on their locations.

Larger version can be seen here.

Whilst the crossings in the original map were for post-trial, the council seems to have announced traffic calming measures and crossings to be implemented alongside the filtered neighbourhood in phase one, with the locations for these easures being decided now through commonplace. We are seeking clarification, but if true this is brilliant news.

To answer this consultation specifically go here.

Table of filters and changes

Filter Number (Street)Status
1. Longden RoadNo change
2. Armitage avenueNo change
3. Mayford roadNo change
4. Guildford roadChanged from diagonal filter to standard filter
5. Manor road 1No change
6. Manor road 2No change
7. Caremine avenueNew filter
8. Portville roadNo change
9. Dunstable streetNo change
10. Barlow roadNo change
11. Cardus street (North)New filter
12. Cardus street (South)No change
13. Chapel street (West)No change
14. Chapel street (East)No change
15. Atlas placeNo change
16. Delamere road (West)No change
17. Delamere road/Gordon roadNo change
18. Crayfield roadNo change
19. Marley roadNo change
20. Dorset roadNo change
21. Molyneux roadNo change
22. Osborne roadNo change
23. Victoria roadChanged from diagonal filter to standard filter
24. Buckhurst roadNo change
25. Henderson streetNo change
x. Green driveFilter removed (This is a private road)
x. Lytham roadFilter removed

There have also been changes in road direction and the introduction of new turning directions which we will be investigating further.