Published: 30th JANUARY 2020

Manchester children design their own School Streets

Dinosaur footprint trails, unicorn-shaped bollards, reading benches and pavement playgrounds are amongst design ideas that children have suggested to our team to help create safer, less polluted and more attractive streets around six schools in Levenshulme, Manchester.

A Sustrans member of staff talks with children at a street design workshop at Acasias Primary School

We are working to create Greater Manchester’s first ‘active neighbourhood’, together with the community-led Levenshulme Bee Network scheme, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Our 'Active Neighbourhood' project prioritises people over cars. It aims to create safer, healthier and more sociable streets, where children and residents can walk or cycle within a 10-minute radius of the suburb’s centre.

We have been working with children to help them survey their school streets and highlight problems such as heavy traffic, air pollution and busy junctions which they face on their daily commute. Children attended design workshops with our urban designers to come up with creative ideas to tackle the problems.

Our design team is also working with the wider community around the schools to identify problems on their streets and find out what stops them from travelling by foot, bicycle or public transport. They are gathering views and ideas through a series of community events and activities and will work on designs together with the community.

The design workshops will support ongoing work to collect local people’s views and issues, as well as data findings on traffic and air quality in the area. Over 3400 local people have contributed to the project since October 2019

Our Engineer on the project, Jo Phillips said: “The children have come up with some great ideas to help tackle traffic congestion and air pollution on their streets. Our team will develop these further over the next few weeks. It’s important that we hear from a range of people across Levenshulme and help create designs which meet peoples’ needs.

“We’re developing these further at the Levenshulme Bee Network co-design workshop on 8th of February. Everyone is welcome to join. Our team will then work these ideas into draft designs which we’ll be seeking feedback on before we start area-wide trials in Summer.”

The community-led ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ project links to cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman’s £1.5 billion Bee Network proposal of 1800 miles of walking and cycling routes for the city region, intersected by quieter, ‘filtered neighbourhoods’, where people have priority over vehicles.

Key project aims set by the Levenshulme Bee Network are:

  • Create an active neighbourhood based around a 10-minute walk at its heart
  • Reduce car use for short trips and encourage more sustainable and active travel
  • Safer active journeys to and from school
  • Increase active travel like walking and cycling
  • Reduce the impacts of the A6 and railway, which run through the heart of Levenshulme

We are working with Levenshulme Bee Network advocates, Manchester City Council and BeSpoke Transport Consulting to develop the Levenshulme ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’.

The project is funded by the Mayor’s Challenge Fund. It is the first active neighbourhood in Greater Manchester, which will be designed to encourage more active short journeys, by foot or bicycle.

Contribute your views to Levenshulme’s ‘Our Active Neighbourhood’ and find out about upcoming events and activities.

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