“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!
You will notice that our group are called “Streets for People Levenshulme and Burnage”. This is because, whilst the majority of the area of the low traffic neighbourhood that we still hope to get is Levenshulme, there is also a part of Burnage that sits within the area (see below). It’s also because we don’t want to see the rest of Burnage left behind. We encourage Burnage councillors to engage with the Greater Manchester Bee Network process, and submit a bid to improve all streets in the Burnage ward for walking, cycling, and the use of mobility devices (such as mobility scooters and wheelchairs).
A lot of the discussion, including scheme websites and social media group names, often omits Burnage, and so we thought we’d give Burnage its own blog to itself. This may start out brief, and expand over time as more information is learned. Due to only a corner of Burnage ward being in the previously proposed Levenshulme Bee Network scheme it is sometimes difficult to get data for this area alone. (There’s also a teensy bit of Rusholme and Longsight sneaking in. We see you!)
That being said, we’ve tried our best, and rather than relying on the 2011 census data, we’ve delved into the depths of the council website and pulled up something a little more interesting. A Mosaic Profile!
We know what you’re thinking “What’s this cubist monstrosity hovering over my neighbourhood?”
That would be the Levenshulme (and bit of Burnage) Mosaic Profile. According to Experian, a mosaic profile is a population segmentation tool that uses a range of data and analytical methods to identify 15 summary groups and 66 detailed types of local area that are “easy to interpret and understand”.
The easy to interpret to understand is… debatable, so what we at Streets for People have done is produce a version that is more straightforward and more importantly, colourblind friendly, to allow anyone who wants to interpret this data the ability to do so for their local area (Data from December 2015). We believe the more data local residents have access too, regardless of their views, the more successful this scheme will be.
However, this is Burnage’s blog, so we will zoom in on the bit of Burnage in the previously proposed Levenshulme Bee Network scheme.
This area of Burnage (the one in the scheme) contains the following mosaic profiles (most common in bold).
Cafes and catchments
Affluent families with growing children living in upmarket housing in city environs
Families with school-age children, who have bought the best house they can afford within popular neighbourhoods
Established older neighbourhoods owning city homes in diverse neighbourhoods
Large extended families in neighbourhoods with a strong South Asian tradition
Older residents owning small inner suburban properties with good access to amenities
Students living in high density accommodation close to universities and educational centres
Young renters ready to move to follow worthwhile incomes from service sector jobs
Maturing singles in employment who are renting affordable homes for the short term
Older people living in retirement homes or designated complexes
Note: The names are chosen by Experian for these categories, and are different in the most recent version of their tool.
From this brief glance, it seems this part of Burnage is home to a large proportion of elderly residents, with at least two dedicated retirement apartment blocks. Thus, it would be worthwhile looking at how an active travel scheme might benefit these people.
Cycling can also provide advantages for the elderly: a study by King’s College London on a group of cyclists aged 55 to 79 found these cyclists had levels of physiological function that are comparable to people much younger. For those who wish to continue cycling without the physical exertion, electric bikes – and trikes! – are now an up and coming option as well. Of course mobility scooters also provide a valuable service – but as they are speed limited by law to 8mph, using them on the roads in the area at the moment is a hair-raising experience, and using them on pavements difficult due to the high levels of pavement parking and lack of dropped kerbs.
Encouraging active travel among older people could therefore not only extend people’s transport options, especially for those who may be unable to drive for medical reasons, but could also confer health benefits. With the low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) we have the opportunity to remove barriers to transport, as well as helping people achieve better health.
It’s of course worth remembering, the ward lines are invisible, and any advantages in this bit of Burnage will be enjoyed by Levenshulmians and Burnagers alike, especially if they are brought closer by the low traffic neighbourhood plans.
See the original proposed LTN for this region set against the mosaic profile below.
Full MOSAIC profile numbered with Key by streets for people is HERE:
Are you enhancing inequality in Greater Manchester by taking planning priority away from those with cars? Is a modal shift unequal? Let’s take a look at the data.
The primary aim of low traffic/active neighbourhoods is to encourage people to change the mode by which they make short journeys. By reducing rat running and improving infrastructure, walking and cycling around the local area is made much easier. As a result, people who usually jump in the car to go to grocery shopping, to take their children to school, or to do whatever else they need, may choose to use an alternative method instead.
But whilst this mode change is one reason to bring in a low traffic neighbourhood, there is another group who this will benefit. Those who are already undertaking “active travel” journeys every day, those households who have no car.
These people who have been travelling by foot, bike or mobility aid before any of this new infrastructure. Who are they, in Greater Manchester, and in our local area? Most importantly, what could be done to make their lives easier?
The carless: Who and how many?
As can be seen, Levenshulme and Burnage both have a fairly average level of car ownership, compared to the rest of GM, with Burnage’s skewing slightly higher.
So who are the carless? Well, the Bike Life 2019 survey by Sustrans collected recent data on this group.
This data suggests that improving active travel infrastructure and prioritising non-car travel would be catering to many within the lowest socio-economic groups, as defined by based on occupation maintained by the Market Research Society. Data from the DfT also demonstrates that car ownership is correlated with income, with poorer households having lower access to cars.
30% of this group have also expressed an interest in starting cycling. When asked why they don’t cycle or cycle less often, they stated safety concerns (35%), lack of confidence (25%) or a feeling that cycling is “not for people like me” (20%). The last one is upsetting, considering this is exactly who cycling could help. Not having a car can increase the risk of social exclusion, dept and transport poverty, but this shouldn’t be the case. Cycling over a longer distance, to a place of work and outside of the neighbourhood, will be discussed at another time, due to this being a different issue to that of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).
So we know a little bit about people without cars, and who within the carless could have the most to gain from an LTN, but what can we work out about our own local area?
The carless: Levenshulme & Burnage
The spread of carless households across the area of the previously proposed Levenshulme Bee Network scheme appears to be split. The region of Burnage in the proposed LTN in particular has fewer carless households, whilst the East side of Levenshulme (particularly near Longsight) has more carless households. These areas will stand to benefit from an LTN even with no change in behaviour.
The census data is of course from 2011, so what could we do to get a more recent estimate of car numbers in M19?
To go back up to a bigger scale, the MEN reported in 2017 that Manchester still had fewer cars per head than any city other than London, with 0.27 cars per head, compared to Birmingham’s 0.53 and Leeds’ 0.44.
This is all we can work out about our car situation, hopefully the next data we can analyse will be from the trial of the LTN itself.
The ‘carless’ and the ‘car less’
Coming back to the LTN and modal shift, by prioritising active travel over cars, we can make life easier for people who have no choice but to walk or cycle. In the same way that by choosing not to drive, we clear space for those who have no option but to use the road. Even if we still own cars, we can “car less”, and in so, care more for our fellow neighbours who rely on active travel.
If everybody who is able chose to walk rather than drive for even just the shortest of these trips, there would be far fewer cars travelling down residential roads. The changes needed to achieve this modal shift in residential areas may seem drastic, but the health benefits would be significant. Within the low traffic neighbourhood, the resulting reduction in car journeys would lead to a reduction in noise and air pollution, and there are huge health benefits to everyone who makes use of the opportunity for a more physically active way to travel – even for those living on roads outside of the previously proposed scheme area. Indeed, air pollution and inactivity are two major threats to our health, with an estimated combined cost to the NHS of in excess of £1bn. In Greater Manchester, 10 people every day die early from air pollution.
For some, these benefits will be paid for in a reduction in convenience as some car journeys become slightly longer. For others who do not own a car at all, their day-to-day lives will be greatly facilitated.
People belonging to these carless households are already reliant on walking, cycling and public transport to go about their lives. Those using public transport still need to get themselves to the train station or bus stop without a car. It’s entirely understandable that people who rely on their cars may have concerns that certain things may become more difficult under a low traffic neighbourhood scheme – and any concerns should be addressed as best as possible. As a community, however, we have a responsibility to enable those who do not have access to a car to carry out their lives with ease and in safety. We can only do this by actively prioritising our roads to pedestrians and cyclists, and this invariably requires making cars less of a priority.
Occasionally we will be undertaking larger analysis to see what the effects of a filtered neighbourhood on Burnage and Levenshulme might be, and in our first we are starting with one of the biggest.
“The roads receiving the most benefit from the scheme are the most affluent and well-off already, and the ones receiving the least benefit are the most deprived. This scheme will only make inequality worse.”
Is this true? Well, let us look at the data. Specifically for the original Levenshulme Bee Network active neighbourhood plans. These came in for criticism regarding some of the planned changes, and are set to be modified, but they represent the most recent map we have. So we will be using this to judge “the schemes” plans, and to define affected and unaffected roads.
First we defined deprivation by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (Last published 2019). We took unfiltered non-main roads (i.e. Roads that were through roads and still will be through roads) and the filtered roads (roads that allowed through traffic that will now be resident access only) and looked at how highly ranked for deprivation they were.
As we can see, there is no clear split between filtered and unfiltered roads. In fact the least deprived roads are the ones that would still be receiving through traffic.
A point well worth making is that the index of deprivation rank ranges from 1 (most deprived) to 32,844 (least deprived). This means almost all streets within the scheme, particularly those receiving filters to stop through traffic, are within the 20% or even 10% most deprived areas across the whole of the UK. Do we want to deprive these areas of lower through traffic? We all love Levenshulme and Burnage, but trying to draw lines between which areas are “deprived” and which areas are “affluent” is clearly not something that can be assumed without data.
Most deprived areas
Here below we can see two of the most deprived areas according to IMD, of which both were due to receive interventions. The West Point Gardens area including Buckhurst Road/Osborne Road/Victoria Road has come in for particular criticism, due to some houses being worth a significant amount of money. However searching on Zoopla does not account for the hidden poverty in some properties where 5+ families can live in one converted town house.
But if you are only looking at house prices, you are only seeing a tiny slice of the housing pie as can be seen on Osborne Road.
So now we know looking at house prices alone will not give us the full picture of deprivation, where can we go for this information, and is there anything more recent than 2011?
You can’t see detail yet, but it’s clear the most deprived areas (the darkest) areas are the ones in the top left.
Lets look at these areas the interventions they were due to receive (drag the icon in the centre to swipe between IMD data and the original proposal):
This area was ranked 2867 out of 32,000, and is the 2nd most deprived in Levenshulme, it was due to receive three filter interventions. Two simple filters (the yellow circles, low cost interventions such as planters), and a split junction to prevent through traffic.
This is the most deprived area involved in the scheme, and was due to recieve 4 filter interventions. A bus gate, and 3 simple filters, there was also a filter planned for just outside this region that would have further cut through traffic.
So clearly, the two most deprived areas in the scheme were set to recieve alot of attention.
This shows the risk of presuming how deprivation is spread across out neighbourhood, and could end up negatively affecting the very people we want to protect most. The most deprived and most vulnerable. We must ensure we aren’t lead by our assumptions to easy answers, and use data to get as close to the truth as we can.
Of course, this whole discussion about some roads being overburdened more is only a problem if you assume some roads will shoulder a much larger amount of traffic than others due to the scheme. Is this true in the long term?
A trial is needed, but evidence from similar schemes suggests that unfiltered roads do not receive extra traffic, following a period of adjustment. However it is still vital to push for improvements to all streets in the area, whether filtered or unfiltered.
Thanks for reading. If anyone has any queries about the data, or suggestions on how to capture more information about our neighbourhood, get in touch via our contact page.
Postcodes for streets were obtained from https://www.freemaptools.com/ by scanning for all postcodes along each street. These were then cross referenced to google maps and https://www.streetlist.co.uk. Not every postcode has a different entry on the IMD (single streets have many postcodes) so this was done to ensure every street was captured fully.
The majority of the data used for the IMD indicators is sourced from administrative data such as benefit records from the Department for Work and Pensions. Census data is used for a minority of indicators where alternative data from administrative sources is not available. As far as is possible, the data sources used in each indicator were based on data from the most recent time point available.
Street postcodes were elicited and filtered/unfiltered status assigned prior to the obtaining of IMD data, to acocunt for potential risk of bias.
If you feel your street is missing please contact us with its name and filtered/unfiltered status and we will add it to the next iteration of the analysis.