Deansgate Closed to Cars: The Future for Manchester?

18th September 2002
news
release

Manchester Friends of the Earth (MFoE) [1] today welcomed Manchester City Council
plans for the closure to cars of a section of Deansgate on Sunday 22nd September as part
of a collection of road closures and street festivals across Greater Manchester as part of
the Europe-wide In Town Without My Car Day [2].

The environmental group will be inviting shoppers and passers by to enter a short quiz to determine their “carbon dioxide
contribution” [3]. Those whose travel plans result in low emissions of this greenhouse gas
will be invited to place a green sticker on the groups “climate traffic lights”. Those with
higher emissions will get a red sticker and information on how they can easily and
painlessly reduce their toll on the planet by using public transport instead of their cars.

The weekend 21st and 22nd September, will see In Town Without My Car Day celebrated in style in many local authorities, with Manchester planning an art and crafts market on one of the City Centre’s busiest roads, and Stockport holding a mini-festival [4]. Bury and
Rochdale are also planning activities. The group hope this year’s plans are indicative of a
growing and serious commitment to sustainable transport in Greater Manchester.

Last year, Manchester Friends of the Earth organised a mini-festival in St. Ann’s Square
[5], which involved live music, organic food, information stalls and children’s activities. The
group have been lobbying continuously since then for local authorities to take on this
year’s celebration, and are looking forward to a weekend highlighting the environmental
and health benefits of walking, cycling and public transport.

Commenting on this year’s events, Manchester FoE’s campaigner Dr. Michael Bane said,
“Manchester Friends of the Earth welcomes the ambitious plans of local councils for In
Town Without My Car Day. We’re eager to see their fine words put into action, both for this event but also for longer term measures to reduce traffic on our roads. Public transport was a success during the Commonwealth Games and we’re hopeful the authorities will continue to promote this as the clean alternative to driving into city centres.”

Manchester City Council will close Deansgate, for an arts and craft market and a variety of
activities will bring a social and fun car-free atmosphere, and open formally the Urban
Cycle Way, combining the Fallowfield Loop with a route from Debdale Park to Openshaw.
Cllr Neil Swannick, Deputy Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Environment,
shares the aims of the European-wide In Town Without My Car campaign:

“… towns and cities throughout Europe and the UK, will be demonstrating the benefits of
leaving the car at home,” he said. “By participating in this one day event, we hope that
people will see how much more pleasant it is to be in the City Centre without traffic
congestion and exhaust fumes, and, as a result, will choose other forms of transport when
they visit the City Centre for work or play in the future.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:
Michael Bane, Campaigns Co-ordinator, Manchester Friends of the Earth:
0161 275 6134 (w) / 07 947 606 950 (m) / 0161 226 9321 (h)
michael@manchesterfoe.org.uk

Notes to Editors
[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-todate information is available on their website: http://www.mcrfoe.dabsol.co.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation
(further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

[2] The In Town Without My Car Day campaign (http://www.22september.org) aims to encourage public awareness of the need to act against pollution caused by the increase in motorised traffic in the urban environment. All across Europe, towns and cities will be demonstrating the potential benefits of a modal shift away from car use and towards walking, cycling and public transport.

[3] Manchester Friends of the Earth (MFoE) have produced a short quiz whereby contestants state how far they travel by car, bus, rail and plane. A short calculation converts this to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted over the year. Carbon dioxide is one of the main gases which contribute to global climatic change. Governments have agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and MFoE are leading the way by showing individuals how they can be part of the solution.

[4] Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council is holding a mini-festival on Great Underbank in the town centre on the Saturday, including the ‘Imagine FM Street Stormer Crewe’, and are launching a positive permanent initiative on that day: a walking route through the borough. Bury Council are organising an ambitious event on the Saturday, involving a road closure, entertainment and information. Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council will be marking the weekend by running a led cycle ride in and around Heywood & Middleton townships.

[5] More information about last year’s events in Manchester is available at
www.mcrfoe.dabsol.co.uk/transport/ecfd2002.htm – photographs available upon request.