Cycling and walking boost as regional bosses consider £14.6m borough plan

A multi-million-pound scheme to transform public transport across a large swathe of the borough will be considered by regional chiefs.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 7:22 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 9:43 am
How the proposed scheme could look in Leigh

The £14.6m proposal to boost cycling and walking in Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley will be looked at by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as part of a massive investment in green, sustainable ways of getting about.

Greater Manchester cycling and walking commissioner and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman is in Leigh on Friday to launch the next stage of the Bee Network alongside Greater Manchester Mayor and ex-Leigh MP Andy Burnham, the town's MP Jo Platt and Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux.

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How the proposed scheme could look in Leigh

In total 18 schemes across the region are being considered in the largest investment ever put into getting around on foot or by bike.

It is hoped the Leigh scheme will improve the safety and accessibility of the town centres as well as creating better links to business, retail and public transport hubs.

It includes 24 new or upgraded crossings, 6.2 miles of segregated cycling lanes, 7.8 miles of shared road paths, 11.2 miles of shared use footway, 16 ‘parklets’ (small on-street mini-parks that typically have seating, planting and bike parking) as well as improvements to the streetscape.

The project is expected to cost in the region of £14.6m with £13.9m coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £700,000 from local contributions.

Mr Burnham, said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Greater Manchester – we’re just at the start of a process that will see us eventually compete with some of the world’s best and most liveable cities like Vancouver, Copenhagen and New York City.

"Greater Manchester’s people, along with the 10 districts, have made it pretty clear that enabling more local journeys to happen without cars as part of a wider public transport offer is what is required to support the city-region on so many fronts: congestion, air quality, creating healthier and more connected communities.

"I’m delighted to be able to launch these plans in Leigh where we’re going to have some really high-quality cycling and walking routes linking up local amenities.”

Mr Boardman added: "We’ll get a real bang for our buck here in terms of the positive knock-on benefits that will be made possible by this investment.

"More trips on foot or by bike just happen to be a by-product of creating better places to live."

Numerous improvements to cycling and walking in Wigan, including the re-designing of the Saddle roundabout and the creation of new lanes running alongside Robin Park Road, have already been created through the regional scheme.

The 18 bids for GMCA to look at also includes a region-wide bike hiring scheme which could benefit borough residents.