Peter is one of the project delivery team and a key 'Levenshulme Bee Advocate'. He's helped to construct the bid right from the start and supported the work of the active neighbourhood both with technical expertise and creatively as a volunteer with his local knowledge.
Q 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself ( Do you live, work, hang out here? What do you do?etc..)
My name is Peter, I live in Levenshulme/Burnage (dependant on your boundary) with my wife Natasha. I have worked at Salford City Council as an Urban Designer; looking at designs for the streets and spaces there for the past 14 years, although my job is now more Project Management in Salford’s Regeneration Team. I learnt to ride a bike when I was young, but only started riding my bike again, after 20 years of no exercise, a couple of years ago – I was addicted to my car, but sick of sitting in traffic jams. I now cycle over 100 miles a week, don’t get stuck in traffic and love it. Although those early miles when I first started were the hardest. When I am not doing that I can be found hanging out with Natasha.
Q2. What interests you about the Levenshulme Bee Network? (and how are you involved, if you are yet?)
Levenshulme is known for its DIY culture and people just get on and do stuff. People in Levenshulme are so passionate about their area, where they live, and the Bee Network gives us an opportunity to influence the way our streets work. I am interested to see where it goes, how we can help to make the simple things – like walking to the shops or the bus, better. I helped to start the Levenshulme Bee Network and contributed to writing the original bid, but the thing I like best is that I don’t always know all the detail about what is happening in different project areas like some of the road closures that happened in the summer, there is a genuine team growing with different people taking responsibility for the areas that interest them.
Q3. What do you see as the top issues in our neighbourhood?
There are a lot of things that annoy me about the way people use our streets in Levenshulme. Pavement Parking is number one; for people to knowingly park on the whole pavement and watch families have to go into the street really gets me ranting. Some of the other stuff is just bad design – no drop kerbs, no crossings at busy places, poor drainage, poor lighting and bumpy pavements; all things that restrict who can use the street – I know that there are people too scared to go out in case they fall (again) or just can’t because of barriers. The other issues are bad driving, speeding cars and I once saw a skip wagon driver on his phone thundering past Alma Park school cutting corners taking ‘the racing line’.
Q4. What ideas would you bring forward to make positive change the place?
I think that the project areas are the start of a lengthy process that will lead to systemic positive change. We will need to shift how people make decisions around the way they get to places and what people think streets are for. A lot of this is about habit and addiction. The Filtered Neighbourhood: Stopping rat running by using filters is the first but maybe most important stage but we will need bigger projects like better public transport (bus & rail) and more segregated cycleways on main roads to make the big leaps. But we can start small; so many journeys in our neighbourhood are short A to B journeys that don’t go anywhere near the A6. Deciding to do these journeys walking or maybe on a bike is something we can do from day 1 – and so anything that makes walking/cycling convenient, safe and enjoyable (no matter what it is) is a great way to spend money.
Q5 Finally, tell us what you love most about Levenshulme?
I have only lived in the area for four years but I’ve been coming here to visit my Grandparents for the whole of my life, my mum grew up here – I have lots of memories here too. I like so much about our neighbourhood; its great connections, the growing bar scene and the DIY culture but the thing I love the most are the trees (I know they aren’t everywhere). I grew up in Blackpool and it seemed like there were no trees on the seaside and I remember coming to visit and being amazed by the scale and numbers of trees. The trees are gone from my Nana’s street and I do worry for those remaining, but I still think they are great.