TRANSPORT bosses and city council leaders are calling on the public to help shape the future of transport in the city centre.
Manchester City Council and Salford City Council, supported by Transport for Greater Manchester, have launched a 10-week conversation to find out what people who live and work in the city centre think of the current transport offering and what improvements they’d like to see.
Ideas range from major infrastructure such as a transformed Piccadilly Station and a possible Metrolink tunnel under the city through to high quality streets and public spaces with better air quality for cyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities.
Feedback will shape the next City Centre Transport Strategy to support further growth in city centre living, employment and visitor activity expected in the 2020s.
Cllr Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, planning and transport for Manchester City Council, said: “We want people’s experience of the city centre to be as god as possible.
“That’s why we are planning ahead to ensure we have a city centre transport network that supports a thriving, welcoming and sustainable Manchester.
“The phenomenal growth of the city centre in recent years has been a real success story. It’s a vibrant place where people want to be but this popularity comes with its own challenges.
“We want to keep improving our transport system but this means balancing ease of access to the city centre while ensuring it is a healthy and attractive place.
“We also need to make sure that solutions don’t have a negative impact in areas neighbouring the city centre.
“Our message to anyone who uses the city centre is to get involved in the conversation and help us ensure we get this balance right for the future.”
Over the next 20 years, city centre employment levels are expected to rise to around 270,000 people, with up to 100,000 city centre residents.
And with over seven million people living within a one-hour commute, the need to develop new and innovative transport solutions is essential to supporting the long-term growth.
Simon Warburton, TfGM’s transport strategy director, said: “In recent years we’ve made big strides to help more people to travel by public transport and to take up cycling and walking, allowing the city centre to grow in a more sustainable and inclusive way.
“A new transport strategy will allow us to be clear on our transport priorities as we prepare for the arrival of HS2 and the realisation of the Northern Powerhouse.
“We can’t rest on our laurels and I hope local residents, businesses and city centre workers will join us in developing a vision for even better city centre transport.”
Findings will be fed into the development of the draft City Centre Transport Strategy and then it is expected that a formal consultation on its proposals will take place next year.