Manchester is set to receive a brand new cycling and walking network called Beelines with 75 miles of segregated Dutch-style paths, meaning seeking the elusive property with a parking space in the city could soon be a thing of the past.
Sustainable transport is about to get a £1.5bn boost in Manchester from government investment, and one of the first major proposals is the instalment of around 1,000 miles of dedicated cycling and walking routes across Greater Manchester, including 75 miles of lanes separated from traffic, expected to cost around £500m.
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The Beelines plan has been likened to Amsterdam, and could see the number of bike users and pedestrians soar as the network is aimed at getting people who do not already cycle or walk to leave their cars at home and set out on foot or bike. It is likely to vastly reduce the need to even own a car in the city, and hugely reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, which could be great news for those who have been struggling to find the right property in Manchester due to lack of parking.
Chris Boardman, Manchester’s first walking and cycling commissioner, said: “We can unlock the potential of our local roads and communities by providing easy crossing points, thereby unlocking opportunities to walk and cycle. These strategically-placed crossing points will feed local bike traffic into the more costly, fully-segregated routes, enabling even longer journeys to be made actively.”
How the city’s changing
The population of Manchester city centre has increased by 149% between 2002 and 2015, and the influx of young professionals – particularly renters – from London and elsewhere looking to take advantage of the city’s vibrant centre and jobs market is set to continue apace.
With this, new property developments have been springing up faster than many other UK cities, but one of the issues some investors and buyers face is the difficulty in finding a centrally located property with a parking space. The new cycle routes could provide a solution, and we could see new developments with more cycle storage popping up, particularly in the build-to-rent sector which caters directly for the needs of tenants.
Making Manchester more like Amsterdam
At the moment, an estimated 250 million car journeys a year are less than 1km. Many of these journeys are school runs and while only 2% of children in the UK cycle to school, 50% of them do in the Netherlands. Aside from the health benefits involved, encouraging people to get to school and work more actively than by driving, the new measures will cut congestion and make the air in Manchester cleaner – all of which will attract more young professionals and more investment to the city.
Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester has a long history of doing innovative things and our approach to Beelines is no different. This proposal is bold and I make no apology for that. If we are to cut congestion and clean up our air, decisive action is needed.
“I want to make Greater Manchester one of the top 10 places in the world to live and it is action of this sort which will help to deliver that promise.”