Manchester has bid for £29 million cash from the UK government’s Sustainable Travel City fund. The proposals include building five ‘flagship cycle centres’ as well as increased cycle parking and a cycle hire scheme.
If successful the cycle centres will be based on Dutch-style facilities comprising cycle parking, maintenance and information all in one staffed and secure location.
The bid is being led by Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA). It contains proposals for offering one in five households ‘Individualised Travel Marketing’ (which includes info on cycling, walking and public transport), advice and grants to businesses keen to offer employees cycle facilities and a cycle repair, maintenance and recycling scheme.
The bid does not contain a request to fund any cycle lane infrastructure. This is because it’s only for entirely revenue-funded projects. In other words, ongoing projects with annual expenses rather than infrastructure.
A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign told BikeRadar: “We have been extensively consulted. Many of our suggestions are in the package, although of course it does not go far enough. But the Individualised Travel Marketing, adult cycle training and cycle centres are particularly welcome additions. There are undoubtedly good things for cycling in the package. Some of our active members think there isn’t enough in there, but, overall, we decided to support the bid.”
Manchester will be going against a maximum of eight other competing major urban areas – West Midlands, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, West of England (Bristol), Nottingham and Leicester – before the result is announced in September 2009.
Manchester’s last bid for substantial cycling investment failed at the end of 2008 when residents voted against a package including a congestion charge.