Metrolink stepping forward on the Trans-Pennine Trail

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Manchester Friends of the Earth today welcomed the decision by the Transport for Greater Manchester committee (TfGMC) to keep the Trans-Pennine Trail within the Metrolink corridor in Didsbury and continue to enable access for all. [1]

In March 2011, Metrolink had announced plans to install a series of steps into the Trans-Pennine Trail [2]. Love Your Bike campaigned against the original proposal because we believed that this would have created a major barrier to local people and visitors enjoying the popular traffic-free walking and cycle route. [3]

In a unanimous decision, the TfGM committee agreed to accept the Metrolink report recommendations to lengthen the Sandhurst Road Bridge in Didsbury as “the preferred option for dealing with the ‘crossing’ of Sandhurst Road by the Trans Pennine Trail”.

The cost of the bridge construction work is estimated at £448,000 compared to Metrolink’s cost estimates of £840,000 for the steps. Love Your Bike would like to encourage Transport for Greater Manchester to consider how best to invest the £400,000 saved in additional measures to encourage more people to walk and cycle in Greater Manchester.

Graeme Sherriff from Manchester Friends of the Earth, Love Your Bike campaign said:

“We welcome this decision and would encourage the Transport for Greater
Manchester Committee to place the development of policies and implementation of practical measures to promote walking and cycling at the heart of its work.”

ENDS

CONTACTS FOR COMMENTS

Pete Abel, Love Your Bike campaign. Mobile: 07951 642858

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth Transport campaign. Mobile: 07956 577206

Notes to Editors:

[1] The TfGM committee voted to accept the following recommendations

* approve the retention of the Trans Pennine Trail within and alongside the Metrolink corridor between Olive Shapley Avenue and Parrs Wood Lane

* approve option (c) – Lengthening of Sandhurst Road Bridge – as the preferred option for dealing with the “crossing” of Sandhurst Road by the Trans Pennine Trail.

[2] The Trans-Pennine Trail is a 215 mile coast-to-coast walking and cycling route. Within Greater Manchester, the Trail winds its way through Trafford, Manchester and Stockport following a winding riverside path along the Mersey through the southern suburbs of Manchester, passing by Chorlton Water Park and heading via Didsbury to Stockport.  See www.transpenninetrail.org.uk/

[3] A point now recognised by Metrolink itself in the Committee report

“Lengthening of the Sandhurst Road bridge to allow the Trans Pennine Trail to pass beneath (instead of up and over)” would: “allow all users of the Trail, including wheelchair users and pushchairs, to remain in the Metrolink corridor and would not require cyclists to dismount at this point in the Trail.”

(2.3.2, page 4). East Didsbury Metrolink Extension – Update on Trans Pennine Trail Issues (report)

[4] Love Your Bike is an award-winning campaign co-ordinated by Manchester Friends of the Earth. Based in Manchester, we aim to promote cycling and to help make it an attractive, accessible and fun way to get around. www.loveyourbike.org