PDF DOWNLOAD Question & Answers V2 – July 2020 

We have created a question and answer section to help with any queries you may have about the Levenshulme Bee Network and ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ plans. 

We’ll update as the scheme develops and more questions come rolling in.

Questions and Answers

The Levenshulme Bee Network is the overarching name of the collective of people from the community, the council and expert support from partner organisations working towards making the ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ vision a  reality. Its focus is releasing an ambitious plan to develop Levenshulme and parts of Burnage into Greater Manchester’s first fully filtered, active neighbourhood. A flagship scheme for Manchester.

The ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ project is the bigger picture. It is the ambition of a neighbourhood that is easy and safe to get around for everyone and it recognises that getting around our community requires a lot more than modal filters, which is only one of the current project areas.  

 

To make our streets easy to move about we need to help deliver drop kerbs, introduce cycle parking, safe footpaths and crossings over busy roads even if we can also calm them. We are paying particular attention to specific journeys like the school trips that generate so many local trips that impact on air quality and quality of life and so have been working with schools to develop School Streets.   

 

Even after all of that, we need to increase opportunities for people to have a go on bikes, scooters and do more walking about locally with funding to support events; access to walking groups, bikes or activities to encourage people to get stuck in is also a key part of Our Active Neighbourhood. 

 

This is how we will encourage and activate more people to use our ‘now’ safer streets and keep on using them as we keep on helping to improve them.

 

In the early sessions the group talked about ‘starting with the crossings’ and Manchester City Council have already scoped out some possible new crossings that have been identified by local people on Commonplace and shown in the vision map. When these are combined with other improvement works on the busy streets this would form a project element of the Active Neighbourhood.  

 

Over the coming months, the other elements of the Active Neighbourhood will be fleshed out using co-design events in readiness for the business case. TfGM really liked our bid and have encouraged us to go for the full Active Neighbourhood, the full package, including all the above will form the full business case to access the funding to go some way to realising the vision of safer, greener and healthier streets for all. 

 

The the overall aims are:

  • The creation of an active neighbourhood based around a ten minute walk at its heart
  • Reduction of car use for shorter trips and a modal shift to more sustainable and active travel
  • Safer journeys to and from schools
  • An increase in active modes of transport like walking and cycling
  • a reduction in the impacts of significant severance of the A6 and railway

 

The project aims align with the recommendations of the Made To Move report published by Transport for Greater Manchester, particularly that the design standard should provide the following: 

 

Walking A double buggy should be able to pass. 

Walking routes must:

  • Link across difficult junctions
  • Connect to local schools, shops and amenities
  • Be well signposted with walking times (not distance)
  • Improve links to transport interchanges
  • Improve public spaces – pavements, side road crossings and places to rest
     

Cycling: Should be safe for a competent 12 year old (Bikeability Level 2)

Cycling routes should be a mixture of the following: 

  • Wide segregated cycle lanes on main roads 
  • Local cycling routes through communities
  • Green routes that encourage slow cycling through residential street

The Bee Network is a vision for Greater Manchester to become the very first city region in the UK to have a fully joined up cycling and walking network; the most comprehensive in Britain covering 1,800 miles. It is 

 

Read more about the Bee Network (previously called Beelines), Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Infrastructure proposal here.

 

Our local councillors from Levenshulme and Burnage (spearheaded by Councillor Dzidra Noor) held a public meeting with Martin Key from Transport For Greater Manchester (TfGM) at Arcadia Library in October 2018 looking at opportunities to engage with the Bee Network (then called Beelines) and develop the first version of a mapped network of routes using local knowledge. This was the original map prior to local people’s feedback. 

 

From that start it was agreed that a volunteer working group would meet regularly and that we would also work towards developing an active neighbourhood scheme to present to TfGM. 

 

Public meetings were held at Arcadia in November 2018, December 2018 and January 2019 (with over 100 people at those sessions). At those meetings the initial ideas were developed and the original Bee Network mapping for the area supplied by TfGM was revised using local knowledge. Ideas that helped inform the bid are available to view here

 

Using the skills around the table, the group put together a bid to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund. The proposal subsequently gained successful programme entry and kick started the development of community-led proposals across Greater Manchester.

 

A modal filter is a traffic management measure that stops vehicles passing but allows people travelling on foot and by bicycle through. 

 

Modal filters can be designed in many different ways from a simple row of bollards to more complex designs including seating, planting and play equipment.

Here is a good example:

 

 

 

A filtered neighbourhood describes an approach that creates low traffic, low speed neighbourhoods. On roads that aren’t the main roads, it creates barriers to cars whilst still allowing people walking or cycling to benefit from direct access. 

 

The aim is to remove traffic that is ‘rat-running’ through communities and to make short journeys attractive by other means rather than the car. People will still be able to get to their front doors, businesses or any key location in the area in the car but they may have to travel further than before. It aims to make a neighbourhood have increasingly low levels of motorised traffic as less people choose to travel through the area. 

 

These filters can often be attractive too, with tree planting and space to sit or play or they might just be a series of bollards. 

 

The trial of the Levenshulme Filtered Neighbourhood design will involve the installation of a network of temporary modal filters across the scheme area and will be in place for a minimum of 6 months while the impact of the trial is monitored and evaluated. This will allow us (for a relatively low cost) to ‘test’ the design to see how it works in ‘real life’ and it also allows us to make changes to’ the design if required as all the interventions during the trial phase will be relatively easy to move. 

 

The public can comment on the interventions during the 6 month trial, any comment received will be taken to be responses to the consultation of the scheme. Issues which become apparent during the trial can be quickly resolved, with filters being moved, amended, or removed if necessary. 

 

The trial will be undertaken using an experimental traffic regulation order which means that we can make changes following your feedback and monitor the impact for the first 6 months before Manchester City Council decides if the filters will be implemented on a permanent basis.

 

If significant changes are required during the 6 month period, a revised design would be submitted and have an additional 6 month ETRO period, which would be the legal consultation on the updated design. 

 

All feedback from residents and monitoring of traffic, pedestrian and cycling levels as well as air quality levels will be considered before any of the filters are installed permanently.

Yes, all properties will still be accessible by car.

It is like a normal modal filter but is also designed to let buses through. Other motor traffic isn’t allowed and can’t use the road to cut through the area. All addresses in the area are still accessible by car, you just can’t drive straight through the area as easily as you used to be able to. For an example of what it could look like, see below

 

The bus friendly filters proposed in Levenshulme are key design features. They will reduce local levels of motor traffic, improving road safety, air quality and bus journey times. 

 

The bus friendly modal filter would operate 24/7 as with the other modal filters.

 

There are a number of examples across the country of these filters being used in residential areas.  Here is a list of examples in other residential areas:

 

Nyland Road, Colchester

Stage 1

At the very first stage of the trial we will use temporary traffic management equipment to form the filters. This will allow us to make small changes to filters if needed before the main trial filters are installed. They are easier to move and amend to respond to issues that become apparent early on in the trial.

 

Stage 2

The trial modal filters will take the form of a number of large wooden planters with either trees or plants in them, these will be placed on the carriageway either side of a drop down bollard. This design is simple and adaptable allowing the filters to be used in many different locations and road widths. 

Stage 3

At the end of the trial period, depending on the evaluation of their location and performance, a permanent design for each modal filter will be produced. These will in the majority of cases have some form of tree pit to replace the planters and the bollard will remain. There may be specific locations where a more complex permanent filter is provided, which will be designed using feedback received from the local community.

Levenshulme Bee Network Mayford Road

An example of what a temporary modal filter would look like on Mayford Road

 

 

In Greater Manchester 30% of trips under 1km are done by car. This is because we make travel by car the easiest method, with the most direct routes and parking a priority.  We accept that people will take shortcuts in cars at speed through our streets.

 

In response to the postal survey and Commonplace online map survey, 70% of responses highlighted traffic speed or volume or rat running as issues. Some of the most vulnerable people in the community suffer the most from the negative impacts of the traffic and the design for the filtered neighbourhood trial aims to reduce those impacts.

 

The filtered neighbourhood approach in Waltham Forest  has been found to have removed 44% of traffic from these residential streets. The number of journeys as a total reduced as people chose alternate routes and switched from car use to walking and cycling. The evidence found that people were walking 30 mins more a week on average and 10 mins more a week cycling.  

 

Filtered neighbourhoods aren’t the whole story but they are an important step to making the streets where we live better, safer and more enjoyable to use on foot, bike, buggy or other wheels for everyday journeys.

Once implemented the majority of restrictions including modal filters and bus friendly modal filters (bus gates) will be 24hrs a day 7 days a week.

A key aim of the Levenshulme Filtered Neighbourhood scheme is to remove rat running traffic from an area to enable residents and businesses to enjoy low traffic environments. While areas may be most affected by through traffic during rush hour there is still a need to reduce traffic at other parts of the day.

 

There are also issues around the effectiveness of modal filters that only operate during certain times of the day. Firstly these filters would need to be designed in an ‘open state’ and would require drivers to obey signs in not passing through them. Evidence shows that compliance with these types of modal filters is low and having camera enforcement on each filter is not financially viable.

After the filtered neighbourhood trial we will collate all the responses received and produce a report detailing the results of the trial. If any changes to the trial are required these will be detailed in the report. 

The interventions will either be removed, changed or made permanent and there will be review periods to monitor the impact and the feedback received. During the trial, if there is a need for a significant change in design or placement of a filter, an additional ETRO will be applied and a further 6 month trial will take place. 

We want to work with residents to help develop the final design proposals so they fit into your neighbourhood. 

 

 

The emergency services are integral to the development of the proposed road changes. The ambulance service, police and fire service have the opportunity to feed into the design to ensure essential access can be maintained.

The filtered neighbourhood trial design allows access by motor vehicle to every residential and business property in the area. it may take a little bit longer to get there by car but you will still be able to access your home and business.

 

 

The initial design has been passed on to key stakeholders including refuse collection. We will continue to engage with refuse collection services as part of the trial to ensure that they are able to maintain bin collections.

During the trial you can contact the Levenshulme Bee Network team by emailing trial@levenshulmebeenetwork.co.uk or in the case of an emergency by phoning the council switch-board on 0161 234 5000

Residents will be able to feedback using any of the following methods:

  • Via Commonplace https://levenshulmebeenetwork.commonplace.is/overview
  • Via telephone – a phone line is being set up so people can leave their details and a member of the team can respond
  • Via email trial@levenshulmebeenetwork.co.uk
  • Webinars – sessions are scheduled for the 4th and 5th of July for residents to get more information and ask questions (these will be recorded and available online for anyone who is not available, plus additional sessions can be planned once the trial has started). 
  • Potentially undertaking drop in sessions (where permitted and social distancing can be maintained) we will undertake the more traditional sessions where people can come and discuss the trial and provide any feedback they have.

 

Traffic and air pollution will be monitored via counters that have been installed and additional ones that are being installed plus traffic counts will be carried out at key locations and compared to initial traffic counts that have been carried out. 

 

We have set up review milestones in the trial where we will review all of the feedback we have received, along with monitoring information from traffic count, pedestrian and bicycle counts and air quality monitors that will be installed in the area and produce an update report which will be published online. 

Currently the suggested milestones will be at 1 month, 3 months and 6 months from the start of the trial.

 

All feedback during the trails will be used to help inform how the scheme progresses and the final designs. Feedback from people who live and work locally will be prioritised. 

 

We know that the busier roads in the area also need some attention. It’s vital that people can walk and cycle along them and cross them safely. From the outset the wider Levenshulme Active Neighbourhood project has included a separate project to look at crossings and improvements along these key roads in our area. 

 

Throughout the engagement process we have also received comments about the conditions on the busier through roads. Whilst the busier roads are out of scope for the filtered neighbourhood the recommendations for new and improved crossings that have come out of the engagement and design process so far are now being reviewed by Manchester City Council Highways team as part of their feasibility work on initial locations. 

 

Once we understand the impact of the filtered neighbourhood measures, we will have an even better understanding of where the best places for crossings and other improvements are on the busier roads in the area and these can form the business case which will support the ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ aims.

This depends a little bit on where your business is and what your business does. If you are located near to some of the new features being introduced as part of the project, access to your business by motor vehicle may change. All addresses are still fully accessible by motor vehicle but access some areas of Levenshulme by motor vehicle from the main road network may slightly change. Whilst we are trying our best to advise people who make deliveries via official channels you may want to advise your suppliers of the best route to your premises.

If you make deliveries in the area by motor vehicle we would of course encourage you to consider how you could change to other sustainable modes but appreciate some deliveries must be made by car or van.

As with access to business premises all residential properties are still accessible by motor vehicle but some routes into residential areas will change. This will only really impact routes that are really residential streets so again shouldn’t impact business deliveries that use the main road network for the majority of trips. Some short cuts between parts of Levenshulme won’t be available any more but the reason is because they are used too much by traffic that should really be on the main road network in the first place.   

There aren’t any major changes planned to parking or loading restrictions in the area as part of the Active Neighbourhood project. However some local minor changes like yellow lines might be needed near new temporary filters. This is to ensure access for people walking and cycling and the emergency services can gain access and to allow vehicles to safely manoeuvre.  

if you want some advice or want to raise an issue specific to your business or location please contact us at business@levenshulmebeenetwork.co.uk 

Good for Business?

Making changes that are good for walking and cycling is also good for local businesses. 

In fact, you get the amount you invest back many times over in a number of different ways. Quite simply local people who walk and cycle spend more in local shops than those who drive. It may be that they don’t spend as much money on each trip.

However, people who walk and cycle visit more often and cumulatively spend more. 

The benefits from such schemes aren’t just about the fact that people who walk and cycle support local businesses. The improvements themselves then also help local business thrive. Research has suggested that the positive impacts from environmental improvements might be of the same order of magnitude as those expected from public transport improvements. Litman estimates that walking and other non-motorised transport projects typically increase retail sales by 30% (Litman, 2002; Burden and Litman, 2011).

Whilst there’s lots of evidence from places like London and New York that prioritising local people walking and cycling is good for business there’s also evidence from closer to home. Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking has completed regular research into the subject and released a report called the Pedestrian Pound.

The report cites lots of examples where schemes to prioritise people walking and cycling have had a positive impact on local business. A study involving modelling of improvements to streets and public space in Manchester City Centre by Whitehead et al. (2006) found investing in how streets look and feel, particularly to support more walking can provide a competitive return compared to other transport-related measures and small, but significant, positive effects for businesses and workers (ibid.).

In nearby Altrincham changes have been made to the area around the market providing more space for people. The public realm improvements and traffic reduction measures have increased footfall by 25% and reduced retail vacancy by 22.15 (Trafford Council 2017)

In Kelso in Scotland the Council has invested £1.8 million in a programme of town centre improvement works, including a new traffic management system and improved provision for people walking including wider and improved footways and new crossing points. Since the improvements, Kelso is considered to have consistently performed well in footfall measures and in terms of town centre floorspace and retail unit occupancy. Footfall remains 28% above the levels recorded in 2011.

Some of the other interventions included in the Active Neighbourhood programme are also aimed at increasing footfall and supporting local businesses. We propose to introduce temporary mini parks known as parklets at locations on the A6. Parklets have been shown to have positive impacts on local businesses wherever they are introduced.

They are a relatively new thing in the UK but in San Francisco, one of the places where the concept originated, hundreds are now in place on city streets. A survey of some of the first parklets introduced in 2010 showed an increase in footfall of 37% in normally quiet evenings. Businesses around the world are working with local authorities to remove car parking and introduce parklets to enable outdoor eating and drinking and provide vitally needed space for people to socially distance while shopping.

Cited in Living Streets pedestrian pound 2018

Burden, Dan, and Todd Litman. 2011. “America Needs Complete Streets.” ITE Journal 81 (4): 36–43.

Litman. 2002. “Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis.” Techniques, Estimates and Implications, Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Trafford Council. 2017. Altrincham Town Centre Neighbourhood Business Plan. Adopted November 2017.

Whitehead, Tim, David Simmonds, and John Preston. 2006. “The Effect of Urban Quality Improvements on Economic Activity.” Journal of Environmental Management 80 (1) (July): 1–12. doi:10.1016/j. jenvman.2005.01.029.

 

Traffic data was collected before the c-19 pandemic, measuring the percentage of local and through traffic on the roads in the area, which will be published in a report shortly. 

Covid-19 has transformed our mobility patterns, with many fewer trips, schools closed etc. The impact will continue for the rest of the year and potentially beyond, with many people working from home more often, school start times potentially staggered and reduced public transport capacity. As such, any traffic modelling exercise would be unable to accurately predict how people will travel, when and by what mode. We collected traffic before the pandemic and will be monitoring traffic volumes after the trial has gone in, checking whether it meets its stated objectives of reducing traffic volumes and speeds on residential streets.

On the streets within the filtered neighbourhood cells, we expect traffic volumes to drop, as they will only be used for trips which start or end on those streets. In practice, the levels may be even lower, as some residents may choose to walk instead of drive their local trips. The filtered neighbourhood is also expected to result in lower vehicle speeds on these streets.

In the short term, the boundary roads are likely to experience a slight increase in traffic compared to current levels. Evidence from similar schemes suggests the increase may be in the region of 3-30% for 3-6 months, before returning to pre-Active Neighbourhood levels. However, the c-19 pandemic makes comparisons to any other schemes or to pre-covid traffic volumes extremely challenging. 

We will be monitoring the changes and making adjustments to the scheme to minimise traffic changes which are counter to the stated aims of the project. 

Manchester City Council are working with neighbouring council Stockport to find a permanent solution to the flooding issues on Crossley road. As an interim solution, it is proposed the Bus Friendly Modal Filter (Bus Gate) restriction would be lifted to allow free access through the routes in times of flooding. Additionally, the filter on Clare road will be designed so that access can be made available should Crossley Road not be available.

 

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