Whilst the concerns raised by cycle groups are fully understood….
The last few days have seen a spate of news articles and comments on social media regarding the new “cycling improvements” on Portland Street. See for example, “New bike lanes on Portland Street have made roads ‘more dangerous as cyclists are sandwiched between buses” and “Bike lanes make roads “more dangerous” say campaigners.”
Love Your Bike, GMCC and others first raised concerns with the cycle designs on Portland Street back in 2013 during the Cross City Bus consultation. Unfortunately, our comments and concerns were not taken on board at that time.
There was another opportunity for Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester City Council to reconsider the designs when a short ‘moratorium’ on City Centre road works was announced in the run up to the 2015 Xmas festive period. Concerns with the partially completed ‘in bound’ route (towards Piccadilly gardens) had been highlighted in November on the Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester blog “Portland Street – is this Manchester’s most dangerous cycle lane?”
The advice from the campaign groups was basically ‘please don’t do this…. doing nothing would be the better option!”. But once again, our concerns were not taken on board.
In response to a request for an update on Portland Street at the Manchester Cycle Forum (8th March), Manchester City Council replied thus:
“The Portland Street scheme was completed and became operational on March 7th. Whilst the concerns raised by cycle groups are fully understood , MCC Highways are satisfied the requisite design processes have been followed to achieve a design that is suitable for implementation and therefore no changes will be made at this stage.“
Well, the ‘requisite design processes’ may well have been followed – but as the multitude of comments from people who have actually tried to cycle along this route testify, Love Your Bike believes that this is a long way from being a ‘design suitable for implemention‘.
The photograph (above) highlights a section of the new “cycle route” where people are expected to cross the bus lane (when there is a gap in the wall of buses) and merge with other motorized traffic coming from behind and turning right…. oh , and you may have a taxi trying to filter in from your left (see photo below). The video accompanying the Manchester Evening News article doesn’t really capture this section but does give a flavour ….you have to cycle it to get the full experience!
“We are however, agreed a review process should commence following completion of construction that will include an analysis of the surveys borne out of the review and by the views expressed by all road user groups. The outcome will determine whether changes are necessary, and are satisfactory for all road users.“
The chair of Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, Councillor Andrew Fender stated on the TfGM website that “We are transforming the city centre and what we’ve done at Portland Street will help deliver faster bus journeys across the city as well as providing cyclists and pedestrians with a much more pleasant environment for getting about.”
So…. here we go (again).
Please send us details of your experiences of cycling this delightful route. Did you feel safe, would you use this route again…..
Please send (printable) comments, photographs etc via:
Email : email@example.com
Please indicate whether you want your comments to be anonymised.
We will compile the results and submit to the Manchester City Council ‘review’ process.