Whilst we are all eager to return to normal, there are some elements of our lives before lockdown that require alternation. In particular, we are in desperate need of a transport revolution.
As lockdown restrictions are beginning to slowly ease, people are being encouraged to go back to work. This has exposed a number of transport issues. Public transport is difficult to manage when social distancing is required. People have therefore been encouraged to drive to work – but not everyone has a car and driving is unsustainable.
Post-lockdown, we need to cut down our car use. Fewer cars on our roads will improve the quality of our air and our lives. To facilitate this, public transport networks, cycling lines and footpaths require improvement.
I have supported the Friends of Reddish South Station for many years. Together, we have bid for the station to run passenger rail to Victoria. There is also scope for a Metrolink tram-train line between Stalybridge and Manchester Airport, as well as a Stockport-Piccadilly line via East Didsbury and the Ashton-Piccadilly line to form a new orbital loop.
Not everyone will be able to cycle or walk to work, but greater connectivity on our railways will increase their use. Greater access to cycle lines and footpaths will also encourage people to ditch their cars more often.
The Bee Network is aiming to create a fully joined-up cycling and walking network of 1,800 miles across Greater Manchester. The Heatons is one of the Bee Networks that is currently out for consultation, which is great news! Better cycling and walking links in Stockport Town Centre and through the Tame Valley are also needed.
Once COVID-19 becomes less of a threat to our health, we must begin to travel more sustainability to improve our air and life quality.