Two residential areas in Tameside have become Active Neighbourhoods, with the aim of making them nicer, healthier and safer places for people to live, travel and play in.
Currier Lane in Ashton and Stamford Drive in Stalybridge have had modal filters installed to prioritise people over cars – preventing speeding traffic and opening the roads up to people, bicycles and wheelchairs.
Residents have previously voiced concerns over speeding and rat-running, with vehicles using the residential roads as a cut-through instead of Stamford Street (A635), which runs parallel.
A modal filter is a traffic management measure that prevents the majority of motor vehicles passing but allows pedestrians and cyclists through. The two schemes have had attractive wooden planters installed to enhance the neighbourhood.
The area also connects to Bank Top Field, which is verified as a UK Woodland Assurance scheme and features wildflowers, a hay meadow, a circular walk and a route through to Ashton alongside the canal - creating an attractive residential area.
Currier Lane is closed at its junction with Sunnyside Grove and Stamford Drive near to its junction with Thompson Drive on an experimental basis of up to 18 months. The roads are accessible from other points, meaning residents, delivery vehicles and emergency services can still access all homes.
Cllrs Bill Fairfoull and Yvonne Cartey are helped with the planting by Dave Dawson.
Tameside Council says data collection and consultation with residents after six months will be used to evaluate the scheme’s effectiveness and whether changes are needed, it’s made permanent or removed altogether.
Residents and businesses within the immediate vicinity have been notified by letter with contact details given to report any issues.
Members of Currier Lane Area Residents Association (CLARA) are supporting the initiative.
CLARA assistant secretary Dave Dawson said: “I think it’s an absolutely superb idea. It had started to become a rat run and it’s been quite dangerous. A couple of older ladies wouldn’t walk across the bridge but now they are walking through to the shops. They are all delighted with it. It’s quieter and well worth it for the peace and tranquillity.”
Tameside Council Executive Member for Transport and Connectivity, Cllr Warren Bray, said: “Active Neighbourhoods will help change roads that have become rat runs into quieter, safer, less polluted streets that will encourage residents to walk or cycle more and allow children to feel safe playing outside.
“We want to harness and build on the positive shift towards more sustainable travel while working together to consider more permanent solutions that will create a safer, more walking and cycling friendly borough for everyone.”
Cllrs Sam Gosling, Adrian Pearce and Jan Jackson at Stamford Drive.
Active Neighbourhoods are one of the council's Safe Streets Save Lives initiatives to help residents maintain social distancing while travelling and taking part in activities. They align with a government directive to reallocate road space in response to the coronavirus pandemic to encourage cycling and walking while enabling social distancing.
Lower traffic levels during lockdown saw more people with the confidence to walk and cycle around the borough. But with restrictions easing, traffic volumes are increasing, leading to innovative measures needed to protect residents by maintaining quieter and safer spaces for walking and cycling.
Active Neighbourhoods are designed to encourage more sustainable journeys – reducing car trips and tackling congestion and poor air quality to protect the environment and help keep people fit and healthy.
Studies show that such road filtering results in drivers changing their behaviour by no longer making particular trips, combining multiple trips into one, travelling at a less congested time or switching to walking, cycling or public transport.
The plans can be found at www.tameside.gov.uk/safestreets/activeneighbourhoods. Feedback can be given via a survey on Active Neighbourhoods at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/quieterandsaferstreetsinTameside.
Cllr Bill Fairfoull, Dave Dawson, Cllr Warren Bray and Cllr Yvonne Cartey at Currier Lane.