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Me, My Car And The Crisis In MCR Car Policy

Phil Griffin and a hymn to pootling about in his motor

Written by . Published on July 8th 2014.


Me, My Car And The Crisis In MCR Car Policy
 

Chapter One: Motorways In The Sky And Car-haters In The Council

UPPER BROOK STREET, Manchester, is notorious in the ranks of the Society Of All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts. 

Some of the city’s top decision makers have been out of control Clarksonian petrol abusers in their time. Having overcome the addiction they’ve turned zealot

It is the earliest example of an S5 Tidal Traffic Flow system any SABRE member can recall. On a perilous morning in 1966 illuminated green arrows and red crosses slung from gantries, first signed the way into town for commuters from the south suburbs. Three lanes heading in, two lanes out in the morning rush hour, opposite flow in the evening. Which meant that the middle lane of the busy A34, between Brunswick Street and Grosvenor Street, changed direction around four in the afternoon and changed back again around six in the morning.

A sort of Hedonists Happy Hour, Russian Roulette U-turn scenario that, not surprisingly, caused accidents. The scheme was abandoned in 1989. 

Upper Brook Street - an idea that never worked

 

Upper Brook Street and a 1966 idea that never worked. Thanks to Flickr User kh1234567890.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson officially opened the Mancunian Way in May 1967. It all came together in three stages, and was christened a motorway sometime in the 1970s. The elevated sections should properly be seen as scenic routes, giving panoramas of the city, almost as a tour of the city walls.

As a commuting motorway the A57(M) should barely be legal. It is so preposterously dangerous, I find it oddly reassuring. Rather like Beachy Head. Knowing that so dangerous a place invites unstable people, you’d think someone would fence it off. The fact it remains open is an audit of our personal liabilities. Joining and leaving the Mancunian Way is grace under fire. It happens in slow motion at high revs and ends in tiny prayers.  

Fresh from the blocks, more sixties dreams this time with potency

 

Mancunian Way and a 1967 idea that worked. Thanks to Motorway Archive.

Every city’s relationship with cars is bumpy. 

Manchester’s is in Relate. For how long is anybody’s guess. The Keep Out signs haven’t gone up yet, but I don’t doubt graphic artists have been briefed. Obviously we all love the tram, but I'm not ready to put aside my faithful car for a newer, younger partner just yet. Car-related restrictions and regulations that come out of Manchester Town Hall persuade me that some of the city’s top decision makers have been out of control Clarksonian petrol abusers in their time. Having overcome the addiction they’ve turned zealot.   

These streets are made for driving

 

These streets are made for driving

I’m into the fifth year of my relationship with a very cool Fiat Panda. I’ve loved every mile of it, every minute even (apart from a long wait parked behind a burning vehicle on a scorching M5). 

My point of view is from behind the wheel of a small car I bought second hand at Christmas 2008, and that I can just about afford to feed, keep shod, legal and relatively trouble free. Most of the time I share my car with my dog. She covers it in hair, and that’s the way we like it. We like it most just before 6am on a cloudless morning in May or June, heading south on the M6, before bearing left on to the M5 (hooray!) to Exeter for refuelling, and on to the A30 over Bodmin Moor, thence to Wadebridge and on to the Camel, opposite Padstow. We stay in a caravan, and I travel with my dog, my telly and my coffee machine. Thank you car. Our sins are venial.  

Padstow Harbour over the Camel River

 

Padstow Harbour over the Camel River

I should say that my partner usually does the journey to Bodmin by rail. I bring her luggage. She’s a self-confessed bad passenger, who likes to work on the train and is very clever at trawling for cheap tickets. This means that I can listen to the Today programme and Scott Walker CD’s as loud as I like, and not have an unwilling passenger getting jumpy about switching lanes and advancing break lights. This is an integrated transport solution that suits all parties. 

Chapter Two: Future Cars And Current Parking Restrictions And Charges 

Have I given the impression that I’m feckless with my carbon boots? Allow me to conjure a not very distant future in which my carbon mess will be hardly worth trading. The eventual successor to my beloved Panda is on a line to zero emissions. It’s body parts will be 100% vegan and entirely recyclable. It will have been 3D printed in locally sourced materials under fair trade agreements. The globalised automotive industry will have made a sharp handbrake turn onto the local trading estate. 

A private dream I will share with you, if you promise not to shop me to the goons; I long to see traffic back on Market Street.

Once the motorcar is ecologically unimpeachable, nothing will curb its global appeal. There will be many more motorcars in future than there are today, and many more people will benefit from them. Why, when we demonise the car, do we overlook the millions of people who will never drive one, and the likely benefits that cars might yet bring? 

The driverless Google car doesn’t have much appeal, but it does have a point. Driverless shuttle vehicles most definitely have a place in towns and cities not long off. My life is an extension of my phone, so too will be my car. They will talk to each other. Energy source is the key sustainable issue. But, just as we happily ping emails, Google, text, chat, download, upload, locate and transact on our armoury of devices, without giving too much thought to power implications, so we might roll along on emissions free wheels without regard to the source of the power-source, so to speak.  

Google It might mean scooting to the shops

 

"Google It!" might mean scooting to the shops driverless.

Bigger, more efficient batteries or hydrogen cells not withstanding, future vehicles will be on continuous inductive charge, by one means or another; plates in the road that invisibly and wirelessly trickle-charge moving vehicles. Neither you nor I need get too geeky about this. There are 200,000 Toyota Prius in the world, and growing numbers of alternative hybrid and electric cars. Scandinavian countries are the test bed. Norway and Finland virtually pay you to drive electric, and they park the problem of falling revenues from road and fuel taxes, this to make a greener economy their priority. 

This still does not place the car in the city. I’m sure the matrix of foot, bike, tram and bus still squeezes out cars in the plans of zealots and moderates alike. I’ve ridden Bromptons for years, I love them and promote them. Sadly, locked-up knees don’t allow me to ride them anymore. My car lugs me, my computer, pictures, books and paraphernalia from one side of town to the other relatively efficiently, despite obstacles, physical and economic. 

I am not going to wander onto the verges of parking restrictions and charges because I begin to hyper-ventilate, save for this one excursion, and with a deep breath: it should not be legal for any authority to remove from the street (a Loading Bay on Great Bridgewater Street, as it happens) a car belonging to a retired couple from Hayfield who had “got themselves ready” to come in to Manchester to watch the Chinese New Year Parade. A lifetime’s presumption that parking on Sundays was okay persuaded them that their car had been stolen, not impounded. They cried when the penalty and circumstances were revealed to them. “Never again”.  

 

"Keep your city centre if this is what happens."

Some of the most exciting cities I’ve been lucky enough to visit are gridlocked most days. Cairo boils and Delhi bubbles way beyond daylight. You might think New York a city of tall buildings and straight streets, it is. And it is also jammed carriageways and rammed pavements. New York empty of traffic is Armageddon. 

Artificial gridlock on Quay Street

 

Artificial gridlock on Quay Street. This is not a Delhi gridlock but one created by closing off access routes, roads and city entry points in pursuit of a 'policy'.

A private dream I will share with you, if you promise not to shop me to the goons; I long to see traffic back on Market Street. Restricted to 4mph, of course. And on Cross Street, and Corporation Street, and two way on Princess Street again, at last. Shared spaces all. People, pushchairs, bikes and cars, moving in a safe, considerate hierarchy. 

The car has always helped me understand the world. My dad’s firm’s Ford Pop or Anglia, thirteen hours to Cornwall, impatience fed by salmon sandwiches, through Bridgwater, Taunton and Cullompton. Up and over the Snake, or Cat and Fiddle. Through the Trough of Bowland, shock of Morecambe Bay. North, north through the Highlands to the west coast. How can King’s Lynn take this long?  I love the thrum of Motorways, early morning into a Humber sunrise heading east on the M62. I love coming into London on the Westway in the middle of the night.

First time crossing Barton Viaduct in uncle Bill’s Hillman Minx, “This is the closest you boys will ever get to heaven.”

Thanks uncle Bill.  

Barton High Level Viaduct halfway way to heaven

 

Barton High Level Viaduct - halfway way to heaven

Chapter Three: A Mighty Confession And Reversing HS2 

A dream, a nightmare and an admission. I voted Yes in the Congestion Charge referendum. What came over me? I now know that I was being smug. I thought my flexible life could jig around the charge times with ease, and that we could all rush out and get ourselves low-emissions cars. And that there is something modern about road charging that needs to be taken on, like a new App. And that an Oyster Card somehow makes you a member of London, and that such clubbable behaviour, adopted for Manchester, serves the greater good. Utter bollocks.

How did I forget I’m Mancunian? Anti Corn Law, Free Trade by nature. Charge anyone, least of all myself to be in my own city by any chosen means? Impossible. Congestion? Get over it. 

The Chicago Convention of 1944 exempts the taxation of commercial aviation fuel. Plenty of sustainability issues to be deep-mined there. Who will be the last to resist the lure of cheap flights

A business proposition: two trains per day between London and Manchester, departing 6am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, in both directions. Each guaranteed to take not less than three hours, all seats to have table service, a full and varied menu, and free wi-fi. My hunch is that this service would do brisk business, even before HS2. Of all the good fortune in my life, I account this amongst the highest; I worked for Granada Television in the 1980’s. Often train trips to London twice a week, first class (my Trade Union insisted). Usually the Pullman. Bliss. 

Now that Evan Davis has approved it, we can openly discuss The Gap. London is on some Russo-Chinese fuelled trajectory out of here, abandoning the planet to a wasted, dispirited rump of poor people from the north that missed the last train. Unsurprisingly, leaders in Manchester, political and otherwise, are behind HS2.

I might be more inclined to their position, were construction to begin here, in the North, as happened with low speed railway following 1830. As it is, I suspect that HS2 is an extension of Crossrail and the Jubilee Line, and that by far the largest beneficiary, both in terms of construction and utility, will be the Greater London economy. Should HS2 Happen? Not on the timetable proposed. Deal with this end of the line, and see how we roll. 

The Chicago Convention of 1944 exempts the taxation of commercial aviation fuel worldwide. This is only just beginning to be questioned by tiny, coughing, sparrow-like voices. Plenty of sustainability issues to be deep-mined there. Who will be the last to resist the lure of cheap flights, and anyhow, don’t Greek and Turkish fishing villages need the trade? 

Standing on the Vicksberg bridge over the Mississippi a few years back, I saw the gap between my small-island mentality, and the pounding, foaming reality of 460 million tons of American freight annually, passing beneath me as rolling and perpetual as the old river himself. And by a train line in Alberta, waiting fully fourteen minutes for a single freight train, double stacked, to pass me by. Malcolm McLean’s container revolution, from 1955 on, is perhaps the greatest revolution in transport of the twentieth century. Greater, that is, than the automobile or aircraft.  

Vicksburg Bridge

 

Vicksburg Bridge

The piece of writing that stopped me most abruptly this week is by Rose George in her book Ninety Percent of Everything. Today “shipping is so cheap” she writes, “that it makes more financial sense for Scottish cod to be sent ten thousand miles to China to be filleted, then sent back to Scottish shops and restaurants, than to pay Scottish filleters”.  

Airports are out of the question for me these days, which is a shame, because I used to quite like them. I won’t use sat nav and I’m not good with maps, so repeatedly swinging up and down vaguely familiar, barely distinguishable bits of B roads has to be part of the pleasure of my car.

Nikolaus Pevsner borrowed drivers to hike him round churches, market halls, country houses and civic buildings. Ian Nairn, architectural commentator, got angry and sad in a Morris Minor convertible. With the right funds, and time to do it, I know that I will spend days getting lost around the nineteen twentieths of Britain I’ve never seen; by car, with my dog, salmon sandwiches and a box of books.

Occasionally, I might take a slow train.  

You can follow Phil Griffin on Twitter here.

This article was originally written for Creative Concern's Platform magazine.

Moor-Sign

"Turn left Phil, not straight on, you'll go miles out of your way - oh, well, it's lovely that way too."

These streets were made for drivingThese streets are made for driving

 

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82 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 8th 2014.

I don't see any of this so-called anti-car attitude in Manchester City Council. It's an unregulated mad-house of speeding, pavement parking, ignoring one-way streets and revving, screaming engines. So, ignore the hidden killers of stress from noise pollution and obesity, should we encourage more people to commute into the Centre by car?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

When people are herded and corralled down certain streets so that they have to be locked in traffic jams then aware that this is an artificial situation they start to get ratty.

Steven AshleyJuly 9th 2014.

Manchester Council like all other lunatic councils in the country are greedy. They spend millions on anti parking kit, yellow lines and street furniture. where they do allow you to park they charges a criminal amount. The dopes at the council can't see the writing on the wall for city centre shops, even though it they who are writing it! There would be zero traffic problems in Manchester or any other city if the dopey councils got shot of all the preventative parking measures, yellow lines et al. Then we wouldnt be driving around the same areas repeatedly looking for somewhere to park that might not bankrupt us.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

'The dopes at the council can't see the writing on the wall for city centre shops.' I'm surprised the Trafford Centre was ever built.

GimboidJuly 8th 2014.

I read the whole article (well done me) and I'm wondering what the point was... was there one, Phil?

AnonymousJuly 8th 2014.

It's called a hymn Gimboid, it's called pure writing. It's wonderful.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 8th 2014.

Then why does the title of the article make it sound like a loony Clarkson-esque rant? Something more poetic in order perhaps?

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

While there's that in it too?

Mark GarnerJuly 9th 2014.

This is a brilliant piece of writing and is a pleasant change to the anti car brigade nutters

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Peter CoppingJuly 9th 2014.

Man Con aspires to become a literary a journal. (fiction maybe) I didn't know this was one of Gordo's hidden enthusiasms. What next? 'Poem of the Day'. in the beauty section? Or maybe a painting competition in the travel section of Gordo on holiday?

Jonathan Schofield - EditorJuly 9th 2014.

Next week we're doing a poem of the week funnily enough.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Gordo took up painting whilst in jail.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Why do people in Manchester seem to expect the right to park outside their place of work. This doesn't happen in other cities.

17 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Have you ever been to Madrid? Or are you comparing with Scandinavian cities with concentrated cores and no ring of towns around them at the fifteen to twenty km mark? Think about the city, how it is and how it works and its geographical make-up in the travel to work area. Think about how historically it came into being.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

I'm comparing it to London; or even Frankfurt or even Rotterdam where citizens don't rubbish the public transport and are prepared to use it

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

London is much much bigger and anywhere forget the parking outside the place, the point is having the streets open so people can drive down them, animating them, populating them on quiet evenings. London still is a largely drivable city. Open all the roads especially Market Street and slam a 20mph speed limit on them. Cities are about access not about restriction.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Open Market Street to traffic. What planet do you live on?

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Manchester Confidential does not speak for Manchester on this one - most people want good public transport and safer, less polluted streets. Very few people have any need to drive into the city centre on a daily basis, it's self-entitlement and laziness.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 9th 2014.

So Anonymous you can speak for Manchester from your cowardly anonymity? We want better public transport of course. I never come into town to work on anything else. As for safer city centre streets, are you saying they are unsafe because of cars? Weird? Phil is right about Market Street in the article above. As a tour guide I know how useless that street is in the evening, how dead and lifeless it is, a street never to take guests to the city down. It feels unsafe. Open them all and put a 20mph limit on them. That would make them much safer from a security point of view. I'll also give you the artificially clogged Quay Street outside our office which has been like that for weeks, not because of congestion but because of policy decisions, the result of which is lots and lots of pollution. Manchester Confidential doesn't speak for anybody it offers opinions and has an angle on this. Take it or leave it and give us your real name.

SquirrelitoJuly 9th 2014.

ManCon slagging off its readers for having a different opinion to them again, an increasingly common theme. It's childish behaviour. Calling a commentator a coward for posting anonymously is especially childish, when its your own policy that allows it. Change your policy or leave it alone. (and I say this as a fan of ManCon)

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 9th 2014.

When the new site launches the Anonymous posting thing will be changed. I was challenging an Anonymous person's decision to claim we were attempting to speak for the city. I think if you attack somebody or something you should put your name. I can't disagree with the notion we can be childish however.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

@1st Anon 'Why do people in Manchester seem to expect the right to park outside their place of work.' Exactly. San Carlo should do a survey on how many of its customers arrived there by public transport and how many of those that drove in have disabled stickers on the dashboards.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

@6th Anon 'Very few people have any need to drive into the city centre on a daily basis, it's self-entitlement and laziness.' All of my colleagues live closer to work than I do, yet tey all drive in to work. They don't like the inconvenience and don't like sitting next to strangers. What kind of mindset is that?

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

@JS 'So Anonymous you can speak for Manchester from your cowardly anonymity?' Perhaps you can get the website fixed because I've been trying to login for months.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Anything said against San Carlo will be immediately removed.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Market Street is 'dead and lifeless' in the evening because there is nothing on it except shops. How is allowing cars to drive down there going to change that?

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

"As for safer city centre streets, are you saying they are unsafe because of cars? Weird?" Um, yeah: www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/…/safety-alert-tram-blackspot-manchester-5430515…

Steven AshleyJuly 9th 2014.

Why shouldnt people ahve the right to park outside of their workplace. They pay road tax and they pay exhorbitant taxation on the fuel used to propel the wrteched vehicle. Drivers pay enough already without having to suffer parking charges that are nowt short of scandalous.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

There's no such thing as 'road tax' and nothing in what you do pay to operate a car gives the right to park wherever you want.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

@S AshleyWhy shouldnt people ahve the right to park outside of their workplace. I'd like to see the employees of the call centres try that or thos in the town hall. Perhaps the staff of the Britannia Hotel?

espoirJuly 9th 2014.

really interesting, the real problem with allowing traffic again is filthy diesel buses filling the street with killer diesel particles and blotting out the daylight. If they can be kept away from the centre by moving Piccadilly bus station closer to the ring road i.e. next to the train station and the centre is just cars, cycles, delivery vans then all streets should be opened. Cycle lanes should be on all the main roads like Denmark, Holland etc. Oxford Rd needs electric transport and big wide cycle lanes for students. It is full of diesel belch and squealing brakes of horrible buses when it should be a green quiet corridor connecting the city centre to the University and beyond.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 9th 2014.

Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road is one of the most interesting roads in the UK. It's actually the classic British city road. It starts with civic and commercial grandeur, includes academic and health Service grandeur includes working class terraces, parkland, middle class housing, streets of former cotton barons homes, strips of restaurants and colourful grocers and finishes in more parkland. City to suburb in one go. To close off the top part rather than simply widen the pavements, rationalise the street-furniture and let two way traffic flow is simply breathtakingly short-sighted. As a guide showing off the city, a trip down Oxford Road in a coach with all its excellent urban variation and its tremendous historical associations is a magnificent way of promoting Manchester.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

The worst buses on the roads at the moment are the blue double decker Magic Buses. There's tons of black smoke spewing out of the back of them.

Another TimJuly 10th 2014.

"a trip down Oxford Road" @Jonathan - so do it on a bus, as you'll still be able to. Oxford Road's problem is that it tries to be too many things to too many people, and as someone who lives and works on the "corridor" I'm very much looking forward to the changes and seeing how it pans out. Obviously our opinions differ on this, but perhaps we can review it in a couple of years. What is it with ManCon and its freakish insistence that frustrated lone drivers in slow moving (or stationary) motor vehicles are what give a city character and atmosphere. I think you'll find they're what pollute the atmosphere, drown out the conversation and remove the sense of safety. Market Street's dining/drinking venues are limited to the grim Arndale Food Court. That's why it's dead in the evenings, not the lack of cars; there's no reason to be there. Give me cafes, bars, people, conversations, closed roads, street parties, that sort of thing...

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Manchester Traffic policy needs a pragmatic rethink to join it all up and encourage business. The policies from the 60s and 70s need to go. Let's start with the ridiculous extensions to the pavement along Deansgate (granted not from the 60s of 70s). They don't work, get rid. Market Street in the first instance should at least open to taxis in the evening, 1 way from Cross to High street. If it works revisit. Thomas, Edge and Tib street should be closed all day Saturday and Sunday. Move the market stalls from Piccadilly to these streets and let the bars use the space outside. Like around Parmentier in Paris. The Manc way gives great views. In fact, we routed our wedding bus along the Manc way from the town hall to Castlefield for the view of the city. Phil is right though. It's very dangerous and a barrier to the expansion of the city. It needs to go underground. Seeing how the Manc way isn't going anywhere soon how about closing the whole ring road for a long weekend in May and set it up as a race track like the North West 200?...a warm up for the Isle of Man TT.

Charles CohenJuly 9th 2014.

Excellent article, thank you.

SmittyJuly 9th 2014.

Ah, Manchester Confidential back to its obsession - it's one of those comforting things, like a white Christmas, whiskers on kittens or an endearing nervous tick on an otherwise charming friend. Can I ask you just a small question - what happened to the apocalypse you promised when the council put the cost of on-street parking up by 10p (or whatever it was)? Also, please allow me to take issue with the caption on your pic of Quay Street. You say: "Artificial gridlock on Quay Street. This is not a Delhi gridlock but one created by closing off access routes, roads and city entry points in pursuit of a 'policy'." The truth, as anyone who's had the misfortune to "drive" (using the word loosely) down there recently, is that they're doing roadworks to service the new, ahem, CAR PARK at the bottom of Trinity Way and the new hotel on the other side. It is absolutely MENTAL that Salford Council have closed this down to one lane in either direction at the same time, but it's not some grand conspiracy - just municipal ineptitude. The reality is none of us likes being in a traffic jam, none of us likes to pay for parking, the ManCon hoi polloi don't like getting on the bus with the rest of us riff raff and a busy city centre will never have perfect traffic flow. May I suggest a brisk stroll (can you stroll briskly?) in the countryside, a Cadbury's Caramel and a gentle shag. That will chill you guys out. One the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Phil's article, even though I disagree with some of his points - especially on HS2. Peace and love people, peace and love.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Peter CoppingJuly 9th 2014.

The obsessional return to to favorite rants by papers is called click bait. It generates traffic. People stay around longer and perhaps read the ads even click of the offers. I expect a many more 'car stories' soon.

SmittyJuly 9th 2014.

Spence, how cynical!

EditorialJuly 9th 2014.

Bless you Spence but an article of 2,000 words can hardly be click bait - maybe think bait. And magazines returning to themes because they're interested about them is just normal.

SmittyJuly 9th 2014.

You've ignored my question about predictions of devastation across the city because of the parking charges, editorial (this is click-baiting!)

AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

They're protecting their advertisers who think they will lose business if people can't drive up and park directly outside.

TimJuly 9th 2014.

I remember when Market Street was open to traffic- it was dangerous and utterly unpleasant. It's a very narrow street and to suggest it should be open to traffic again is absolute madness. What it needs is bars and restaurants that open in the evening to inject life when the shops shut, not cars. As regards the general subject of motoring, I have to disagree with the writer- cars already absorb half of all the world's resources to build them and keep them on the roads, and that is with a only small fraction of the world's population currently owning them. It would be completely impossible for the planet to sustain car ownership on a much greater scale, it simply doesn't have the resources, either in raw materials or energy. We have to design cities to make use of public transport easier, and certainly to make cycling easier- cycling being a form of transport that is virtually entirely ignored in terms of resource provision, but from which we could all benefit.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistJuly 9th 2014.

Yeah I agree. It's mad how busy and full of life Market St is during the day and how utterly dead it is in the evening. This I'm told, is the second busiest street in the country, shopping wise after Oxford Street in London. Why is our main street in the centre of the city totally devoid of people and life after 7/8pm? Get some independent bars and restaurants on Market St, no more boring chains. If anything we will look a little different than anyother British city if we go down that route.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

1974. Market Street, Piccadilly, Parker Street. Is this how you want it to be again? www.youtube.com/watch…

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 9th 2014.

Yes it would be better like that but with cleaner cars, wider pavements, 20mph speed limits and far fewer dead sparrows and absolutely no flares. Although some of the industry we had back them employing people in East Manchester, Trafford Park and elsewhere would be handy too.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

East Manchester? Aaaah yes...Gorton. The workshop of the world. I can see the Asian male poseurs driving down Market Street just like they do on Oxford Road. Still, we all need a hobby I suppose.

John RuddJuly 9th 2014.

Could we get a honourable mention here for Salford Crescent/A6 - widened in the 60s to accommodate increasing traffic volumes but now reduced to a slow moving car park at peak times by insane planning decisions from Salford Council. I can see that conversation now "Right chaps, shall we waste millions and cause MORE pollution by forcing those pesky people with vehicles to just sit with their engines idling for 45mins each morning?"

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Take a different route then. There are loads of roads in and out of Salford. Making Chapel Street more conducive to pedestrians rather than cars was a terrific idea and is already paying dividends for the local economy judging by the amount of new buildings and small businesses springing up.

GimboidJuly 9th 2014.

Take the hint and get out of your frigging car.

John RuddJuly 10th 2014.

Nice to see i get abuse for having the temerity to share the commute from Wigan to Manchester with my partner in the only car in our household, my god I'm an eco-criminal! I've worked in this City for 26 years unbroken and think I've done my time on the mostly atrocious public transport thank you very much you pair of hippy dicks!

AnonymousJuly 11th 2014.

Abuse? The only one throwing abuse around is you. What's being highlighted is the selfish attitude that says people who live in inner city salford have to suffer a blighted and unsafe environment just so you can bugger off to Wigan a bit quicker of an evening. Salford should aspire to be more than just a convenient through route for commuters from Bolton or Wigan. And in that respect the much improved environment on Chapel Street is already proving to be a success with new buildings, businesses and people starting to re-populate the area, just as it should be.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2014.

It's also worth pointing out that planned works to the inner ring road and regent road will make commutes from the west of the city quicker and more reliable, hopefully taking more pressure of the East Lancs and Chapel St. www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Main-Greater-MCR-Transport-Projects-Revealed-Plus-50m-Too…

AnonymousJuly 14th 2014.

There's about 4 trains to Wigan an hour for gawd's sake - what more do you want?!

John RuddJuly 18th 2014.

Not sure I abused anyone Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous - why don't you put your name to comments - until someone decided to use the word 'frigging' in an intelligent statement underneath my opening comment? Anyway, trains = expensive, dirty, overcrowded (to the point of dangerous), stations nowhere near where I live and parking at said stations insufficient. Both myself and my partner have contributed to the economy of this city for over 2 decades and should be allowed to travel here with out having to endure the forced inconvenience of bad road planning. Manchester can't have it's cake and eat it - they encourage more and more companies to setup in Manchester (see Spinningfields) yet they still want to restrict people's options for coming into town - they should embrace ALL transport options

Kevin PeelJuly 9th 2014.

Cars back on Market Street? I can only thank the gods I don't believe in that Phil doesn't make local or national policy. I am an unashamed 'zealot' for clean air, traffic-free streets and actually having a world to pass on to future generations. Vive la revolution. It can't come quickly enough. Sadly I think it is a long way off.

12 Responses: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthJuly 9th 2014.

Kevin sometimes you can be so provincial. Manchester is not Leamington Spa

Kevin PeelJuly 9th 2014.

Because we live in a city we should just put up with congested streets and dirty air? What a depressing attitude and one I don't think (thankfully) is shared by the majority.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

We need to look at the crazy decisions the council have made with certain roads and how they have made the traffic jams worse. We have thousands of buses riding round practically empty too, which clog up the roads. And we don't invest anywhere near enough in cycling. We should have traffic free routes and paths all over Greater Manchester all connected. If this was to happen I know lots of people, myself included would ditch the car 9 times out of 10, but as it stands we are dicing with death if we cycle around the region.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

I think we should all be able to buy guns and take to the streets.

Mark FullerJuly 9th 2014.

Fear not Kevin, the Gods/Goddess' or human ingenuity, innovation and the free market will ensure that there will be a world to pass on to future generations. I don't believe that humans are a "cancer " on the planet ,as some Greens do, and we're not going to run out of resources.And whilst I'm a firm believer in a pedestrian friendly city with an emphasis on clean public transport, I abhor the anti-car zealotry of many councils and red/green watermelon types. The car has been a great liberating force in the lives of ordinary people.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Diesel fumes are known carcinogens. More please!

GimboidJuly 9th 2014.

Anon @ 3.01pm. Most cars are mostly empty as well. This is the real cause of most congestion.

YeltJuly 9th 2014.

Liberated to pollute, get obese and selfishly consume the world's limited resources, Mark? Great.

Mark FullerJuly 9th 2014.

One of the most exiting things happening in Manchester at present is the huge improvement underway to public transport, and despite being a driver, I use buses and trains all the time. But if anyone believes that the public en-mass are going to be shamed out of using their cars as they deem fit, they are deluding themselves. As the world continues to be an increasingly prosperous place(thanks in the main to the spread of capitalism), more and more people are going to be owning cars,(and quite possibly becoming obese as well). The answer, is not to punish "selfish" (fat) people in some authoritarian way, but to develop cleaner, more efficient cars and convenient public transport systems. In my view,resources are not limited, because human imagination , creativity and innovation is not limited.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

Like this Mark? an interesting idea for sure. www.theguardian.com/…/electric-boris-car-source-london-how-work-paris-autolib…

Another TimJuly 10th 2014.

"shamed out of using their cars" @Mark, it's not about "shaming" anyone. Once it becomes more convenient to use a different mode of transport - be it walking, cycling or public transport - than it is to drive, then people will start to choose more sustainable safer healthier less congesting options. At present the drivers all whinge about the traffic jams, but you notice they're still driving, so either it isn't that bad or the other options need improving, both of which need addressing.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2014.

All of my colleages that drive and park in the city do not use public transport at all. They, like most car owners I know, do not consider walking anywhere or using public transport for any journey. In my experience it is clear that there is no other option to travel, than in the car they own, or by car. It's just not in their mindset. It is the car culture they know. Unless a flight is in the early hours of the morning, and you live in Greater Manchester, I just don't understand why anyone would travel to the airport in a car or taxi, when buses can get you there and there are around ten or twelve trains an hour that go to the airport from Piccadilly. What next?...wheels on little suitcases?

Weby72July 9th 2014.

The second post (about artificially-created congestion) is still the most pertinent of the whole debate. I still seethe that Salford Council effectively halved the traffice flow on one of only two main arterial routes into Manchester from the west (the A6 continuation of the East Lancs), thus forcing up the traffic volume on Regent Road (and nearby side roads), creating an artificial congestion that, in a morning, impacts onto the M602 back to the Gilderbrook Roundabout. Ill thought out phasing of the traffic lights at both the Oldfield Rd and Ordsall Ln junctions amplifies the congestion. Oh, and I think the Mancunian Way is great in principle - the only real jams are caused by the traffic lights, principally at the Regent Bridge end. I understand the Mancunian Way was originally intended to run right through to the M602, and this would be the ideal solution to avoid the need for four traffic-halting traffic lights.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Yes but the idea worked because Chapel Street is now starting to come alive with a slew of new development and becoming a place for people again, rather than just motor vehicles. You basically want to dump the negative side effects of a thundering dual carriageway on inner city Salford. How utterly selfish.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2014.

Hmmm...sounds awful. If it was me, I'd be looking for a job closer to home or one I can conveniently get to. It's the suburban life for me. Get on a bus, train or tram and you're in work in 45 minutes. Marvelous ;)

YeltJuly 9th 2014.

The lifestyle some people feel entitled to, of living miles from your place of employment and driving to work, is illogical, wasteful and cannot be sustained. It's an anomaly of social history.

Weby72July 14th 2014.

The white-collar industry I work in has, like many others, consolidated into regional hubs, Manchester being the de facto one for the NW. The choice is either to work in Manchester or totally retrain in a different industry. Manchester Council has ceaselessly promoted the city to be the regional (or even wider) hub. It has been very succesful in attracting white collar jobs into the city, which makes the city the vibrant place it is. My point about the A6 through Salford was the failure to even consider the traffic flow impact on the few alternative roads into Manchester from the west, let alone create a replacement throughfare. It wasn't a case of 'dumping a dual carriageway' on Salford. It already existed & had been a highly-used trunk road route into Manchester for decades. To remove this from the commute options was always going to overload alternatives. No doubt Manchester Council will try to use the artificially-created congestion to try to justify a congestion charge. Again.

AnonymousJuly 14th 2014.

But the impact of the change is economic growth evidenced by the new development in and around Chapel Street. Unfortunately the way that public funding is administered in this country (heavily centralised) means that few major schemes can progress in a nicely planned, sequential, efficient manner. So it's only now that you see proposals to improve capacity and traffic flow around the major bottleneck at the end of Regent Road which will help improve commutes in from the west. Same for major public transport capital schemes. But the chapel street scheme had to happen at some point else we would be looking at blight and decay for ever more - the trunk road was an ill conceived anachronism from a by gone age.

CKRISGJuly 9th 2014.

We all love the Tram, obviously don't use it then

John HarrisJuly 9th 2014.

It is blindingly obvious - beyond any possible argument to the contrary - that Manchester Council has a deliberate policy of making the city centre unviable for motorists. The inevitable consequence of that policy is the death of the city centre's commercial and social life, as people switch their attentions ( and their spending ) to other places. Far better if the council tried to make driving in the city work, rather than just trying to stop it happening.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GimboidJuly 9th 2014.

And yet we are seeing more visitors than ever to the city centre, an astounding boom in the restaurant and bar trades, a recovering retail sector... perhaps the average motorist isn't as much of a delicate flower as you think?

AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

A tip for the author. To avoid parking fines I've always used those little road signs and road markings to inform me where and when I can park my car, not presumptions. That's why I've never had a parking ticket in 38 years of motoring. Why not give it a try?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

The author: It puzzles me that people who post seem not to have read the articles they are responding to. It was not me, but an elderly couple who made the error of not reading the parking notices clearly. It is they who had their car impounded and had to pay the fine. They were making a rare visit to Manchester to enjoy a parade. They were confused and, eventually very upset. You are not a Magistrate, by any chance? You certainly sound patronising enough to qualify.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2014.

If elderly people, or anyone else for that matter, have trouble reading and understanding road signs they should quit driving and surrender their licence.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

It's hilarious how 'us' and 'them' the anti-car lobby are. There is a best of both worlds way. Gimboid points out how the city centre is doing well. With better car access it could be doing better without compromising the public transport improvements at all.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2014.

Evidence for this? ... Think you'll find it's the loony petrol heads that are the most tribal and closed minded of all. The sort of person that wouldn't dream of taking public transport. Most reasonable prople use cars AND public transport and recognise that getting all the people that want to get into a city at peak times in the most efficient way inevitably means compromise.

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