Some members of the public are calling for vehicles to be completely banned from travelling through Manchester city centre.
Manchester City Council has already been vocal in stating that it wants 90% of all trips to the city centre to be made on foot, by bike or using public transport by 2040, with several proposals – including reducing the number of buses idling in Piccadilly Gardens, permanently pedestrianising areas like Deansgate, and creating a cycling ‘triangle’ – put forward as ways to meet these ambitions.
The council has also indicated that the building of a Metrolink tunnel beneath the city centre is an idea that could be revisited.
And it’s also been confirmed that an Ultra Low Emission Zone – where polluting vehicles will need to pay a daily charge to travel through specific areas – alongside 20mph limits, are also being considered.
But this suggestion to forbid cars entirely was just one of several put forward by the public as part of a consultation on the new transport strategy.
Others also suggested that all car parks should be removed from the city centre too.
The strategy – which is being developed by Manchester City Council, alongside Salford City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) – went out to consultation at the end of last year, with nearly 2,500 people, groups, political parties and transport operators taking part.
The majority of those who took part in the public consultation last year expressed support for the strategy, but almost a quarter of respondents were not supportive of how the council wanted to manage traffic in the city centre, arguing that the plans did not go far enough and that all cars should be banned, alongside the removal of all car parks.
This is said to be one of the highest negative responses received in a public consultation of this kind.
And some local councillors are also joining many respondents in asking Manchester City Council to make more parts of the city centre car-free.
Councillor Angeliki Stogia – Executive Member for Transport at Manchester City Council – has described the challenge of satisfying both sides in the matter as a “difficult” one, saying: “We acknowledge the strength of feeling on both sides, I don’t want to be gaslighting either side and dismiss what people feel.
“What I want is to work with everyone to bring forward projects that bridge the gap and will get us to a place where we give people viable options to get in and out and move around the city.
“[All] while we continue to reduce private vehicle journeys and car parks to manage traffic in the city centre”.
A final version of the transport strategy will go before Manchester City Council’s executive on 17th March 2020, before being submitted to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) for approval on 26th March 2020.
You can find more information via the Manchester City Council website here.