Suggestions for improvements

Introduction

Along with our leaflet campaign, we have considered the different ways the project could be tweaked and implemented. These are suggestions to help us all (including councillors) think about ways our area could be improved!

These measures can be categorised into two groups:

1. Filtering of most through routes and “side streets” to prevent through traffic, reducing the size of the road network.
2. On the streets that remain open, a combination of traffic calming, crossings and road narrowing to reduce space for vehicles further.

The scheme should not just be “zones” of low-traffic but connected safe walking and cycling routes across the whole of Levenshulme. We have to “Join the Dots” of the scheme.

If you would like to see any of these suggestions please respond to the consultation on commonplace here, the council will not take this action unless called upon to do it. If you want a suggestion added here email us at: streets4peoplelb@gmail.com.

To see the suggestions for your area of Levenshulme, click on the relevant zone below:

General suggestions

What can be done for the whole area?

We would recommend that the following key points be considered for the whole trial area:

All roads within the scheme area be reduced to a 20mph limit.
Raised crossings to be considered where junctions exist between main arterial roads and routes within the Active Neighbourhood (see the section on main roads).
If any streets are to be reduced to one-way traffic, roads should be narrowed to allow more space for pedestrians, and two-way movement should be maintained for cyclists.

Also: See beyond levenshulme section for info on wider policy and infrastructure change that would help the project!

(We will add more information on Burnage once we hear about the proposed plans)

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What can be done for roads with through traffic?

Roads that will continue to have through traffic (Often called boundary, main, or arterial roads) are roads where people travel across and out of or through Levenshulme.

If crossings and traffic calming are not considered it greatly harms the effectiveness and connectivity of the active neighbourhood.

Whilst there have been calls for speed bumps, speed tables and “traffic calming” measures such as chicanes. Speed bumps do not always slow cars down and can cause extra noise pollution when heavy vehicles go over them, as well as more damage to the road, meaning more potholes and extra investment required over time. This has already been seen on Broom Lane where new speed bumps have not solved the problem and made noise worse.

However, there is no reason the council could not temporarily widen pavements to make the roadway narrower and crossing the road easier. Traffic calming that narrows/redirects vehicles can reduce speed and increase safety.

Temporary road narrowing can be done with the same planters being used for modal filters, as seen in this Leeds trial.

Pavement widening can also be used using connected barriers as seen below, but gaps should be left to ensure people can still cross the road, as poor placement of these can actually restrict pedestrian movement, especially for those with mobility issues.

Consultation starts on next phase of emergency walking and cycling plans
This example from Leeds limits freedom of movement across the road for pedestrians but has the trade-off of ensuring more space on the pavement and that the space isn’t filled with parked cars.

Road narrowing also shortens crossing time for pedestrians. The temporary build-out could be combined with temporary ramps to allow people in wheelchairs and people with prams/shopping trolleys to cross.

In the long term these can be transformed into permanent “pavement buildouts”, giving a clear signal that the people crossing are the priority, not cars speeding through. Notice the crossing is also brought up to the height of the pavement. This also provides new space for tree planting for absorbing pollution and making spaces nicer on main roads.

The continuation of the pavement patterns signals the soft priority of pedestrians too.

Larger build outs can be done if possible using a one-way priority system.

Build-outs can also help narrow wide junctions to make it easier to cross, an example of this alfready exists in Levenshulme, outside of Village stores where Cromwell Grove meets Barlow Road. There is no reason more of these build outs could not be done as part of the Active neighbourhood project.

Photo of the pavement being extended at Cromwell Grove.

We don’t believe traffic calming alone will do anything to address the number of cars on the main roads. We need a low traffic neighbourhood, not just a slow traffic neighbourhood. For this the number of journeys by motor vehicle will need to be reduced and active travel journeys needs to be prioritised.

Not all main roads are equal, some, such as Broom Lane, Barlow Road and Cromwell Grove, have houses that face into the street and narrow roadways that exarcebate the effect traffic and its pollution has on these residents. Roads such as Albert Road and Slade Lane have houses set further back from the road, whilst the vast majority of houses on Matthews Lane do not face into the road itself, but are on the side streets adjacent to it. This has all been factored into our recommendations for action on boundary roads.

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Why are side streets being filtered?

Filters are a key part of any low-traffic neighbourhood. For there to be less through traffic in an area, the size of the road network must be reduced. If traffic calming and road narrowing occured on the main roads with unfiltered side streets, drivers would just use these side streets to avoid the new measures.

For one example the filtering of Buckhurst Road/Victoria Road/Osborne Road means cars are not exiting onto Albert road via Buckhurst road or Victoria Road, meaning there is less pollution at these narrow junctions due to less idling. It also means it is easier to walk continuously long Albert Road.

The maximum roadspace and the maximum number of cars that can travel through at one time is then reduced, whilst it is easier to use this no through traffic zone to walk and cycle around the area. This is the reprrioritisation of streets for people that the whole scheme is aiming to enable.

Wherever filters have been installed, consideration must be given that the gaps between them are wide enough for all types of cycle and also prams/wheelchairs/mobility scooters. For this the gap needs to be 1.5 metres.

The reason the maps feature filters and green lines is to demonstrate how each filter is part of a wider linked up “network” of safe walking and cycling routes, this is to help us, you, and the councillors understand how moving/tweaking a filter could effect the network as a whole, as that’s the whole point of a trial!

Note: If you did put these zones in properly, the number of crossings needed will be massively reduced, you’d only need them on the streets listed here, and each street would get more funding, if you compare the actual cost of the planters to the cost of crossings and traffic calming.

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Area specific suggestions

Zone 1: North of Matthews lane

Suggestions for the “main roads”

Matthews lane

Matthews Lane is a key route through the north of the Active Neighbourhood, being almost 1km in length, yet does not have any pedestrian or cycling crossing facilities. At the very least one crossing is should be placed on the road to help pedestrians cross. Temporary road narrowing should be considered as outlined above to reduce driver speed, pavement space and crossing distance. This could lead to permanent road narrowing in the future if succesful.

Due to the straightness and lack of crossings or traffic calming Matthews Lane experiences large problems with speeding, with local residents campaigning for measures to be put in place to prevent this. Whilst the South side of Matthews Lane now has a complete “no through traffic” zone, it is still possible for drivers from outside Levenshulme to cut through North of Matthews Lane, and then continue this speeding on Matthew’s lane itself.

Mount Road

It should be noted that the junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to wider traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities.

Suggestions for the “side streets”

The current Longden Road filter was moved from its original position with no explanation, and is currently easily avoidable. In our suggestions it is moved back to ensure people cannot use Hannah Street as a cut-through.

Note: The Jain centre is currently very busy due to its role as a vaccination centre, and if this move were to go ahead the council would have to clearly signpost the new route to the car park for those visiting from outside of the area. Most would come from the A6 but some may use Northmoor Road if that remained unfiltered.

The Armitage Avenue filter was removed due to being “in Longsight”. However, the council stated this filter was recieved positively in feedback. The council must seek a way to recreate this filter, as the residents have requested.

To make this a complete zone, a bus gate would still need to be installed on Northmoor road for the 150 bus. This is next to Crowcroft Park school and is an ideal area to reduce through traffic and make it safer and less polluted for children as they travel to school. Northmoor also takes you up towards Longsight in a way that avoids the A6.

The North of Matthews Lane deserves the same benefits of the South, whilst housing is of lower quality and car ownership (according to IMD) is lower, this area should not be neglected simply because these filters are slightly harder to plan!

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Zone 2: Matthews Lane to Cromwell Grove

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Suggestions for the “main roads”

Matthews Lane

Matthews Lane is a key route through the north of the Active Neighbourhood, being almost 1km in length, yet does not have any pedestrian or cycling crossing facilities. At the very least one crossing is should be placed on the road to help pedestrians cross. Temporary road narrowing should be considered as outlined above to reduce driver speed, pavement space and crossing distance. This could lead to permanent road narrowing in the future if succesful.

Due to the straightness and lack of crossings or traffic calming Matthews Lane experiences large problems with speeding, with local residents campaigning for measures to be put in place to prevent this. Whilst the South side of Matthews Lane now has a complete “no through traffic” zone, it is still possible for drivers from outside Levenshulme to cut through North of Matthews Lane, and then continue this speeding on Matthew’s lane itself.

Cromwell Grove / Barlow Road

Cromwell Grove and Barlow Road run for approximately 1.3km and have only 1 pedestrian crossing at the junction of Barlow Road and Broom Lane. This is a pelican crossing, yet the pedestrian phase runs for only 5 seconds, this should be at least 7 seconds make crossing safer.

A new crossing is being built at the junction of Barlow Road and Cromwell Grove. Once this is finished it will greatly help connectivity across this area, especially if barlow road is maintained as a through road as per some of our suggestions.

The junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to wider traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities. The area east of Broom Lane is largely self-filtered with only 2 filters being proposed to prevent travel onto Barlow Road from Molyneux Road and Fairbourne Road. Pedestrian and cycle crossings are required to link this area to the other filtered cells, thus creating an active travel network in the South end of Levenshulme.

The junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to the bigger picture with traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities.

Suggestions for the “side streets”

An example of extra filters on Ballerat St. and Portville Rd. but these could also be placed on the A6 side similar to Mayford Rd.

We are happy with the design of the network south of Matthews Lane between Mayford road and Caremine Avenue. It can be clearly seen that these filters stop rat-running traffic from using Mayford Road and Portville Road to avoid the start of Matthews Lane. We are particularly pleased with this as many residents of this area have recently participated in a campaign to reduce speeding around the area, and this will now be more difficult due to cars being unable to cut through these roads and speed past people’s houses. (This also included residents from North of Matthews Lane!)

Further east, the solution is simple, add back in the missing Manor Road West filter. There was no reason given for why this filter was paused. It doesn’t require permanent work and was received positively.

A huge amount of streets benefit from the readdition of this filter, and it provides a safe route across the whole of West Levenshulme as it connects to the Matthews Lane south zone, making journeys to Greenbank and Stockport Road shops safer and easier for everyone in these areas.

The council should consider placing the current mount road filter further along towards Mount Road, similar to Guildford road filter. The closer it is to the less likely cars are to turn down by accident. Particularly good for emergency services.

As a further suggestion, if Barlow Road retains through traffic status (it is currently the signposted right turn onto stockport road from Cromwell Grove) then it would be good to filter Balleratt and Portville Road, or for the council to be aware that there may be increased through traffic on these streets.

The Dunstable St. filter could be placed at either end of the street, but whichever is chosen should be clearly signposted, as the GP car park is situated on this street.

One of the permanent works needed was the changing of Cromwell Grove to become a right turn onto Stockport Road. We appreciate Cromwell is a very narrow and dangerous junction, and that Barlow Road is currently the officially signposted right turn onto Stockport Road, so have suggested alternative filter layouts that preserve Barlow Roads arterial road status and prevent the left/right turning at Cromwell.

Firstly, reinstate the filter on Dunstable Street, this is currently at the North end, but could be moved to the bottom if residents would rather have the option to turn left or right onto Stockport Road from Barlow Road.

One advantage is that there is a natural “modal filter” between Carril Street East and Derby Grove. This connects those two zones nicely for pedestrians whilst preventing through traffic.

Consideration should still be given to making Barlow Road safer, as this is a key walking route to a church, a mosque and ashcroft surgery. A crossing could be possible but upkeep cost compared to filtering is alot higher.

Cardu St. North is currently just filtered by Cardus St North filter, and has the link to the possible Dunstable Street filter mentioned above, making this an easy no through traffic zone to maintain. No changes seem to be required here currently.

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Zone 3: Cromwell Grove to Broom Lane

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Suggestions for the “main roads”

Broom Lane

Broom Lane has had 7 slight, 2 serious and 1 fatal accident in the past 36 months, but there is only one pedestrian crossing, so more crossings fare a must. It should also be reduced to a 20mph limit along with the rest of the active neighbourhood to prevent more accidents.

There is a crossing at the junction of Barlow Road and Broom Lane. This is a pelican crossing, yet the pedestrian phase runs for only 5 seconds, this should be increased to a minimum of 7 seconds to enable safe crossing for pedestrians.

Broom Lane is a busy through route and is often the alternative route for traffic when the M60 is blocked from junctions 25-27. Alot of heavy goods vehicles use broom to get to the industrial estate on Sandfold lane. This should be reduced. If it must travel across Levenshulme one option is to use Matthews Lane which is over 8m in width compared to Broom Lane’s 6m, with less residential properties along its length, set much further back from the road. This could be achieved through a width restriction along the Broom Lane carriageway meaning HGVs could not fit. For an example here is Laburnum Road in Denton, which is width restricted to prevent HGVs cutting through from Hyde Road.

The width restriction is also clearly signposted at the entry to this road.

Broom Lane only has one pedestrian crossing, and needs at least one more. There are three obvious options in the current trial: the junction with Chapel Street, junction with Dorset Road or the junction with Crayfield Road. Both the Dorset Road and Crayfield Road crossings would be ideal in the current trial, whilst Chapel street serves the area currently furthest from another crossing.

A crossing by Crayfield Road would enable better pedestrian access to St Andrew’s Primary School and also to the Fallowfield Loop, and is a better position than its current position by Marley Road. The pavement area over the Floop is currently very narrow for a busy school run area, and if the council are serious about making Broom Lane safer this is a key area to consider. A crossing at the junction of Dorset Road would provide pedestrian and cycle access to the Chapel Street “no through traffic” zone from the filtered Dorset Road and Molyneux Road area.

Regarding pavements, house numbers 1 to 21 along the north side of Broom Lane have no footway at all. A path should be installed to aid pedestrian movement and safety along this section with a minimum width of 1.2m. While this section of road is 8m wide there is on street parking bays taking 2m of road width. A pedestrian footway of 1.2m would leave 4.8m wide which would still allow for 2-way vehicle movement along this road, in accordance with Manual for Streets.

The junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to wider traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities. The area east of Broom Lane is largely self-filtered with only two filters being proposed to prevent travel onto Barlow Road from Molyneux Road and Fairbourne Road. Pedestrian and cycle crossings are required to link this area to the other filtered cells, thus creating an active travel network in the South end of Levenshulme.

Whilst the council’s concern was that traffic would exit the proposed network onto Broom Lane and cannot currently perform a right turn, this can easily be avoided by the shifting of the positively received filters on Marley and Crayfield and the addition of two more filters on Elmsworth Avenue and Bristol Avenue. This means traffic will join at the A6 and not require a right turn to be installed on Broom Lane. This has the added bonus of giving Broom Lane residents easier access to the network with minimal walking/cycling down the street itself. Also, as we’ve learned from manor road, placing filters at a junction as opposed to half way down a street decreases the likelihood of U-turns. (see the relevant filter section for more info)

Temporary road narrowing should be considered as outlined above to reduce driver speed, pavement space and crossing distance. This could lead to permanent road narrowing after the trial if sucessful.

Barlow Road/ Cromwell Grove

Cromwell Grove and Barlow Road run for approximately 1.3km and have only 1 pedestrian crossing at the junction of Barlow Road and Broom Lane. This is a pelican crossing, yet the pedestrian phase runs for only 5 seconds, this should be at least 7 seconds make crossing safer.

A new crossing is being built at the junction of Barlow Road and Cromwell Grove. Once this is finished it will greatly help connectivity across this area, especially if barlow road is maintained as a through road as per some of our suggestions.

The junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to wider traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities. The area east of Broom Lane is largely self-filtered with only 2 filters being proposed to prevent travel onto Barlow Road from Molyneux Road and Fairbourne Road. Pedestrian and cycle crossings are required to link this area to the other filtered cells, thus creating an active travel network in the South end of Levenshulme.

The junction of Barlow Road and Mount Road leads to traffic backing up on Barlow Road. Consideration should be given to wider traffic through this area and how traffic can be redirected onto other arterial roads with greater junction capacities.

Stockport road

Stockport Road runs from the northern boundary to the southern boundary of the Levenshulme ward and has 8 Pelican Crossings and 1 implied crossing with dropped kerbs and a central island. While this may seem a lot, the crossings are typically a minimum 150m apart, while the furthest distance is over 230m between crossing points. To encourage active travel, distance between crossings should be reduced by providing and upgrading crossings to make crossing the lines of road as easy as possible for pedestrians and cyclists and connecting the two sides of levenshulme.

As part of the original scheme the implied crossing outside of Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre was due to be upgraded. It is important that this is upgraded to a formal crossing, ideally a parallel crossing with the island removed to enable swift crossing by pedestrians and cyclists.

One easy measure is to lengthen the time pedestrians have to cross and reduce the Red Standing Figure (wait) time. As per the DfT Local transport Note 2/95, this gives a 60 second wait time for pedestrians and only a maximum of 9 seconds for pedestrians to cross the road. The Transport Research Laboratory has concluded in their research on timings of pedestrian crossing that the recommended 1.2m/s cannot be achieved by all of the population and pelican crossings should be upgraded to Puffin crossings, where pedestrian and traffic movement and the timings of the green man crossing period is controlled by on crossing detection to determine crossing times.

Temporary road narrowing should be considered as outlined above to reduce driver speed, pavement space and crossing distance. This could lead to permanent road narrowing after the trial if sucessful.

Suggestions for the “side streets”

A suggested movement of filters to Broom Lane side and additional of two on Bristol Av. and Elmsworth Av. would create pedestrian space on Broom Lane and also prevent traffic from exiting onto Broom Lane.

Whilst the council’s concern was that traffic would exit the network onto Broom Lane and cannot currently perform a right turn, this can easily be avoided by the shifting of the positively received filters on Marley and Crayfield (in blue) and the addition of two more filters on Elmsworth Avenue and Bristol Avenue (in green). This means traffic will join at the A6 and not require a right turn to be installed on Broom Lane. (The alternative would be to stop HGV traffic down Broom Lane, in which a permanent right turn would be more feasible). This has the added bonus of giving Broom Lane residents easier access to the network with minimal walking/cycling down the street itself. Also, as we’ve learned from Manor Road, placing filters at a junction as opposed to half way down a street decreases the likelihood of U-turns.

Singage indicating no right turn on Broom Lane before traffic enters onto the network here would also be useful.

This change returns the easy access to the Fallowfield Loop, a key traffic-free way to avoid crossing Stockport Road and travel on to further locations in Levenshulme and beyond.

We advise the council to keep an eye out for potential rat-running on Cumbrae Road to avoid queues on Barlow Road, as additional filtering may then be required.

The filter on henderson street is necessary to stop people circumventing the “no right turn” at Broom Lane by coming back up Henderson street.

To create a complete “no through traffic” zone it would need a filter in Burnage to complete cell as currently Clare Road is a through road. It is unkown whether Burnage councillors are considering continuing with this.

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Zone 4: Albert road to Slade Lane

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Suggestions for the “main roads”

Albert road

If the potential filtering of Marshall Road and the rerouting of the bus route goes ahead, Albert Road could benefit from a crossing at the crossroads of Buckhurst Road and Marshall Road. This is currently a very popular route on walking and cycling school trips, and people often cross here as the current lights are too far away. A crossing at the blue star would create a safe route from the edge of the current filtered network to schools in the upcoming sections of the Burnage scheme (depending on action taken in Burnage).

The lights at the junction of Albert Road/Slade Lane are just lights with pedestrian islands, and would benefit from being made into a puffin/pelican crossing (with a button to press for crossers).

Kingsway / Slade Lane

Kingsway/Slade lane runs along the western edge of the scheme, and has many key points that could benefit from easier crossing for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Park grove, which is accessed by the now quieter cycleway up Central Avenue, is directly opposite Old Hall Lane, which is a one way road with a contraflow cycle lane that runs all the way to the cycle lane on the A34 and the segregated cycle lane on Oxford Road. A crossing here would create a safe and key commuter route into the city centre that avoids the currently unwelcoming A6. This would need to be accompanied by an improvement of the pavement on park grove, which is often flooded and extremely uneven.

Hamilton road, just beyond old hall road, offers a lower-traffic route up to Longsight market and close to both Asda and Lidl, another key route the council should consider linking more to Levenshulme.

Suggestions for the “side streets”

This network is currently doing a good job as it has no “leaks” for through traffic to get through. The railway to the east creates a natural “filter” on this side meaning less filters were needed than places on the west of the A6.

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Beyond Levenshulme

Below are listed some larger, more national legal actions that could be taken to help the active travel situation in Levenshulme

  • Pavement parking ban: This would reduce damage to pavements and mean pathways were easier to use. Cars parking in the roadway can also help control traffic speeds even on larger roads. For more information see our blog on pavement parking here.
  • Greater Manchester Clean air zone: Make highly polluting vehicles pay to enter into Greater manchester, including Levenshulme. It also offers incentives for taxis, vans and HGVs to transition to greener vehicles. The current version of this law ignores private vehicles, which are contributing most to the pollution.
  • Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) law: This allows local councils to enforce “moving traffic offences” this would allow for wider filters that means emergency services and blue badge holders could pass through whilst using CCTV to stop any other drivers and handing out fines to those who drive through them illegally. This currently is only possible in london and would require a change in legislation.
  • Better public transport: With government cuts Manchester’s public transport has been hit hard, with bus services being shortened or shut. The tram does not reach us in levenshulme and the train station is STILL not accessible (join “Friends of Levenshulme Station” to keep up with the push for accessibility). This is a large and complex problem, but hopefully buses being brought back under public control will be a big help to designing sensible transport networks.