First DIY Street takes shape in Manchester

Redesigns help return priority to cyclists and pedestrians

Penn Street, in Harpurhey, Manchester is one of eleven streets in England and Wales selected as DIY Streets, a Sustrans project to help residents re-design their own streets making them safer and more attractive places to live by reducing traffic speeds and returning priority to pedestrians and cyclists.


The residents there have erected totem poles at their street’s entrance to narrow it and installed plants further along the road to act as chicanes.

This follows a period of street meetings and consultations with relevant authorities to decide on measures to take and to organise them.

Resident Tracy Ward said “There’s a sense of optimism that we can sort out the traffic.”

Penn Street

, which consists of two red-brick terraces either side of a narrow street, has been used for a long time as a rat run to avoid busy

Moston Lane


Tracy added: “We counted an average of 10,000 vehicles per week which is ridiculous on a street this size.” Things are not helped by shoppers using the street for parking.

Other streets in the project are in London (3), Cardiff, Sheffield, Torquay, Port Talbot, Bridgend, Coventry and Oxford. Most of the streets are in areas of deprivation, the emphasis being on remedying such problems as lack of safe cycle and pedestrian routes, accessibility, inappropriate traffic speeds and levels, rat-running vehicles, nuisance parking and high levels of perceived/actual crime or fear of crime.

Measures open to residents designing schemes range from the traditional such as speed bumps to the innovative such as child-shaped bollards (some were recently installed outside a school in Leicester).


For more information on similar schemes go to the Sustrans website.