GM Walking Voice: Bee Network Engagement Event

Friends' Meeting House, Manchester

11/09/2019

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Over 60 people attended an engagement event looking at the Bee Network from a walking perspective. Feedback highlighted the value of the event in considering walking when planning infrastructure and connecting people from across Greater Manchester with an interest in walking.

Chris Boardman, the GM walking and Cycling Commissioner opened the key note speeches by emphasising the importance of walking in delivering the Bee Network ambition and GM sustainable journeys targets.  Highlighting the ‘parent pushing double buggy’ quality design standard required of the Bee Network, Chris outlined how Greater Manchester is working to incorporate walking into network planning.  There is a need to increase the number of walking trips by a third to reach 2 million daily walking trips in order to meet our sustainable journeys targets and help improve air quality, congestion and people’s health and wellbeing.

Andy Howard from TfGM explained the development of the Bee Network from the first version to the latest map.  He emphasised the 2400 crossing points across 2300 km of network and the importance of filtered neighbourhoods in connecting communities. Like Chris, Andy reiterated the importance of community involvement and leadership in the design and development of the Bee Network and endorsed the role of the GM walking Voice and the WalkrideGM groups in continuing to influence planners and policy makers around walking.

Becki Cox, Principal Technical Adviser at Living Streets provided an overview of walking infrastructure at macro, micro and emotional levels and gave the audience some examples of good quality street design and street furniture that support a positive walking experience.

After a stimulating panel discussion, participants attended two of four available workshops.

  • Walking Infrastructure in Action gave participants the chance to walk in the surrounding area, gain a better understanding of different types of walking infrastructure and develop a critical eye.
  • Barriers and access to walking, considered the physical, perceived and personal barriers that prevent more people from walking more often in Greater Manchester at macro, micro and emotional levels.
  • The Bee Network: Connecting to Greenspace explored what needs to be done to enable more people to access green space and connect to the Bee Network. Issues raised included better access, improved maintenance, addressing perceptions of safety, promotion and signage to increase awareness and knowledge of greenspace and the importance of planners and partnership working in connecting blue and green routes to
  • Walking In Their Shoes – used experience from the Levenshulme work and considering a different persona to help participants shift the emphasis from personal gripes with road/street infrastructure to thinking about other people’s lives and experiences.

Those that attended were invited to join the GM Walking Voice at www.gmwalking.co.uk, look at the local area with a new walking lens and contribute to the forthcoming consultation.

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