Sunday 16 June 2013

Oxford Road Consultation - Respond Now!

This is the most important consultation for cycling in many years in Manchester. This consultation is for the bus priority package along Oxford Road, but it is also the busiest cycle route in Manchester so if TfGM get this route right it sets the standard for the rest of the city.

The closing date is Friday 5 July 2013.

The current plan is to remove all lorries, vans, private cars, motorbikes and private hire vehicles from the section covering the university and hospital and impose a 20mph speed limit. As a result there will be many motoring groups, shop owners and others lobbying against this scheme.

Cycling could lose out if we don't all respond to support the main principles of the scheme. However the details of the cycle route are not all as good as they should be, so we need to respond to agree with the removal of the traffic and the principle of protecting people cycling from the buses and then press for a much higher quality of cycle route design than is currently proposed.

Here is a video showing how this kind of cycle route is designed in the Netherlands with continuous cycle tracks that give priority across junctions and pass round the back of bus stops without conflict.


How to Respond.

Take a look at this video to see what is proposed, and notice how the cycle tracks could be improved.

If you need more information you can download the leaflet but it doesn't show the same cycle track details.

Then compose your response in a text editor of some sort because there isn't space in the web form to see everything you have written.

Write as little or as much as you feel appropriate, but please remember to:-

1) Support the removal of the traffic from this route.

2) Support the 20mph speed limit.

3) Support the idea of a high quality cycle route, protected from the bus traffic.

4) Call for the cycle route design to be improved - if necessary by employing experienced engineers from the Netherlands to finalise the design.

5) And if you regularly cycle along Oxford Road then include this information in your response and write about your current experience and how you want it to improve.

Once you have written your response, then visit the online form, fill in your name, full address, postcode and email address. It is important that our responses are seen to come from individuals who live in the area.

Then copy and paste your text into the box marked "Your views*", scroll through to check it's all there and hit the submit button.

Then tell every cyclist you know to do the same...

You can also send your response by email to or post it to

Transport for Greater Manchester bus priority,
M1 3BG



I've now sent my response in.

I've also called for the cycle tracks to be suitable for all types of cycles including hand-cycles, rickshaws and cargo cycles.

I've also called for physical barriers between the cycle track and the Bus/Taxi lane to stop taxi drivers pulling off onto the cycle track to drop off passengers.


Further update

I have just received an email admitting that the cycle tracks along Oxford Road will be inconvenient for many cyclists and the writer will be using the road.

We must call for high quality Dutch provision. In the Netherlands you do not see lots of people refusing to use the cycle tracks because they are crap!


  1. I posted that the cycle lanes should have a physical barrier at all times, since paint offers no protection from vehicles. Also, pavements should continue across side junctions - it should be pedestrians who have priority at such junctions.

  2. Hi Mike.

    Great post. Maybe it would be great if we could have a template of the response focusing on the detail of where there is still conflict between the different road user categories in the Corridor or particular bus stops lacking a cycle path behind them.

    I'm afraid that if not enough people request these to be amended...

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Zym, there is not enough detail in the consultation documents to prove just how poor quality the proposals are.

      I am sure there are lots of people replying and putting foward good ideas, just like the comment above.

  3. There are private cars at the junctions looking confused?!!!
    Something like the soft barriers proposed for San Franscisco would be helpful between the bus lane and the cycle lane so that taxis cant just swing in anywhere and cut up cyclist.

  4. Great work anyhow Mike.

    I'll be posting links to your blog post on FB and Twitter.

    Let's get this show on the road ;)

  5. A note for University of Manchester staff from Andrew Hough, Sustainable Travel Planner,The University of Manchester:

    Please remember to copy into email feedback to contribute to the University’s response, as per this article (

  6. Here's What I sent:

    Although I support the removal of general traffic and the imposition of a 20mph speed limit along Oxford road and am pleased to see that cycling is being given the weighting it deserves in this renewal scheme, I still have a number of comments in relation to the design of the cycle ways. First of all I should note that I cycle into the city centre everyday and have done so for over 5 years now. I'm a regular user of all roads around this side of the city including Oxford Road.

    1.Bus Stops. The cycle lanes circumventing the bus stops are an excellent idea, although from watching the video - there appears to be a couple of situations where this does not occur. This is unacceptable. ALL the cycle lanes should circumvent the bus stops in the same manner - not just some. I believe the council should not be relating anything from this scheme to "Dutch-style infrastructure" until cycles being forced by design to literally "cross paths" with buses has been totally eliminated.

    2. Physical Separation. I can appreciate that the majority of the new cyclelane is just painted markings on the existing tarmac and that this is a cost effective way to doing it. However I believe some form of continuous physical separation is essential if this scheme is to be a success. As the design stands at the moment, there is no real protection for cyclists from buses/taxis venturing into the cyclelane when they wish to get around the back of a right turning vehicle or drop off passengers - WHICH WILL HAPPEN. Continuous bollards or thin intermittent kerbing would prevent this whilst still allowing access for joining cyclists and debris/leaves to clear.

    3. Width. It is hard to tell from the video or the leaflet exactly what range of widths there are. So I can only say that I believe on what is already such a busy cycle route there should be at least a consistent 2.5 metres on both sides of the road and wider whenever possible. Crucially at these widths the path will be accessible by the councils compact road sweepers - meaning they should in theory not suffer from the debris & stigma that the thin cycle lanes of Alan Turing Way do for example. As much of the scheme is essentially the reduction of 4 lanes into 2 for motorised traffic, this should in fact provide at least a lanes width/current bus lane (2.8-3.2 metres min) on each side for the introduction of cyclelanes and separation infrastructure.

  7. And here's the response I received (minus some standard copy paste bunff that nobody's interested in):

    Thank you for your response to the bus priority consultation.

    In response to your enquiry about the "Dutch-style" cycle lanes, we will endeavour to introduce the new proposed “Dutch-style” cycle lanes on Oxford Road behind all bus stops where it is physically possible to do so. It is proposed to introduce these cycle lane at all bus stops along Oxford Road except at two bus stops, one south of the University precinct centre, and second opposite St James' Buildings. Unfortunately there isn't sufficient road width at both these locations to enable the provision of cycle lanes behind the bus stops. However, with potential future development and changes to the area south of the University precinct centre by Manchester University, we may be able to provide cycle lanes behind the bus stop at this location in the future.

    Although we will be considering various options for the physical layout of the cycle lanes as part of the detailed design stage on completion of the consultation process, it is likely that the proposed cycle lane will be 50mm higher (with associated kerbing) than the carriageway and 50mm lower than the footpath. Your comments in relation to the width of the cycle lanes have also been noted and will be considered as part of the detailed design stage.

    The "Dutch-style" cycle lanes proposed for Oxford Road are subject to additional funding for which TfGM has recently submitted a bid for funding through the Department for Transport's Cycle City Ambition Grant, Velocity 2025. This bid proposes wider investment in the cycle route network including the provision of mainly fully-segregated cycle facilities linking the Oxford Road cycle lanes to the TransPennine Trail in Didsbury Village (the Corridor Cycle Super Highway). This in turn will connect with the Mersey Valley Cycle Way, thereby creating a network of high-quality cycle routes reaching from Stockport to Manchester City Centre.

    I hope this email provides the information that you require however, if you have any further questions at this stage, please do not hesitate to contact the information line for the bus priority package by calling 0300 123 1177 or by emailing Further information about the proposals as they develop will be made available via the website

    Kind regards,
    Anna Sutton
    Projects Communications Officer

  8. @Greenstreeter - i had just writen about the soft barriers they have on Market in SF - they make for good segregation (but i think that they ripped them off from Denmark - SFBC will have more on them i am sure). Certainly better than a curb.
    However, the bus priority is pointless as it will make 2 minutes difference (swit woo) on a 30 - 45 minute journey from Witington. They need to sort out Fallowfield and Rusholme to get a good improvement, but that is not going to happen.
    A further point, why with virtually no traffic and a 20 limit do we need cycle lanes.

  9. @Man on an orange Brompton

    "A further point, why with virtually no traffic and a 20 limit do we need cycle lanes."

    I know where you're coming from....but have you ever cycled near a Finglands bus!?

    1. Yep, used to cycle along that road every day for 2 years - at least UK North are not still on the road

  10. Hiho,
    I recommend to think over your request for physical barriers. They do not offer a real protection against buses running over you, if they are not massive and high. In case of minor bike accidents these poles might break your bones and even cause accidents.
    Maybe more flexibility might be useful for everybody.
    I am from Berlin, we have lots of combined bus, bike and taxi lanes (all in the same lane) that work fairly well. But I have to admit, that I have no idea how rude Oxford drivers are, but so far my impression is British drivers are more gentle then drivers in Berlin...

    1. Drivers in Berlin are superb to cyclists, I was struggling to understand what was happening there until it finally clicked that the car traffic was giving way to me. Unheard of in Britain.

  11. Well no of course they don't stop a bus squashing you, but neither does a curb. The poles are plastic (like electric fence poles) and they pop out when they get hit. Look at streetview for Market / Gough in SF. (sorry don't have tiny URL and it was massive) These stop straying or people swerving into the bike line, and i can tell you work very efficiently (if you don't know Market Street is a seat of the pants experience)