Better Buses and Safer Streets for Longsight

10th June 2003
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News Release

Embargo 00:01 Tuesday 10th June 2003.

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High resolution photos for press use

Longsight residents are demanding better bus services and greater safety measures Manchester Friends of the Earth has discovered, following a three-day interactive exhibition held at the local library between 28th and 31st May.

The event was the final stage of a consultation and research project led by Manchester Friends of the Earth to gauge public opinion about traffic and transport in the area and serve as a starting point for work with the community. Based on the results of the research, residents were presented with a list of options for improving public transport and safety in their area.

On buses, the following options came out top:
· cleaner buses
· 53 route needs more buses, and for them to be a lot more reliable
· more 192 buses at night and weekends
· cheaper megarider passes.

On safety, the following suggestions were favoured:
· more police in the area.
· stricter speed restrictions to slow down the traffic on the A6 in particular.
· more CCTV cameras in prominent positions to deter violence or criminal damage.
· more lights.
· safer routes to schools.

These results will now form the basis of Manchester Friends of the Earth’s final report and will be used as a starting point for the campaign to deliver the safe, secure community that Longsight residents deserve. The full results are available at www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/longsight

“We want the Council to ask us about how they spend money, rather than deciding for us,” said a woman at Northmoor Community Centre.

Graeme Sherriff, co-ordinator of the project was impressed with the public reaction: “The authorities need to involve local people in working out what’s needed in Local Transport Plans. The idea that people don’t care about their local area is a clearly a myth. One person even suggested that they should be given the opportunity to vote every week.”

More information at www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/longsight

ENDS

Notes for 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-to-date information is available on their website: www.manchesterfoe.org.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 www.foe.co.uk).

2. Research into the Longsight community began in September 2002 by Manchester friends of the Earth, FoE UK and the Hamilton Road Area Community Association and a final report on the findings is due to be published in August 2003. Also involved in the study were Reference Groups, who were consulted between the first and second phases, and comprised representatives from Greater Manchester policy teams, Longsight community groups and local councillors. More info at www.manchesterfoe.co.uk/longsight

3. Over 50% of Longsight resident own neither a car nor a bicycle and are totally reliant on public transport.

4. The Participatory Appraisal research technique used in this study was introduced to the UK by the Brighton-based consultancy Development Focus UK. It is widely adopted in developing countries as its accessible and visual methods make it ideal for research in areas of low literacy. Central to the process is that the community are visited on their own turf, not expected to come to bureaucratic public meetings, and that they are involved throughout. Meetings typically involve colourful and creative use of stickers, flip-charts and post-it notes with an emphasis on combining words with pictures.