Green councillors across Greater Manchester are calling for temporary changes to make our streets safer for key workers and to allow safe social distancing.
As people try to reduce contact, fewer people are using buses and trams. This means that large numbers of key workers are walking or cycling to work. Many others are walking or cycling for exercise. But the 57% rise in speeding across Greater Manchester in recent weeks is putting them at risk.
Green councillors claim that making our roads safer would reduce the pressure that road crashes put on the NHS.
There is also growing evidence that air pollution increases the risk of dying from Covid-19. Even small increases can cause large problems. This is important for those with breathing problems who are at high risk from Covid-19. Keeping our air clean must be a priority for our councils to protect those in most danger. Making it safe and pleasant for people to walk and cycle will really help.
Cities around the world, like Berlin and New York, have already made changes. Parts of London and other parts of the UK have done so too. Many people believe that Greater Manchester must do the same as soon as possible.
Altrincham councillor Michael Welton says:
“Increasingly people are choosing to walk and cycle. Many are key workers going to work, trying to avoid buses and trams. Urgent changes are needed so that they are safe on our streets. The government has just made it easier to make these changes and we need Greater Manchester to get moving immediately. This will also reduce the pressure on the NHS from the horrific impacts of road crashes.”
Greater Manchester’s Green councillors are calling for these changes:
· Wider pavements and, where necessary, road closures in our town centres. This would give people more space to socially distance. It would also reduce air pollution in towns.
· Protected bike lanes along busy roads
· 20mph limits where people live.
Lee Huntbach for Ashton Waterloo on Tameside Council says “Road injuries already place a huge amount of pressure on the NHS. People who are walking and cycling must be protected and supported. The benefits of walking and cycling to work are even greater now that air quality has improved.”