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During the lockdown Greater Manchester has seen walking and cycling playing an increasingly important role for essential journeys and exercise.

However, some of the city-region’s current streets make this challenging within social distancing guidelines. To tackle this, up to £5m of emergency funding will be made available for Greater Manchester’s local authorities to implement measures giving pedestrians and cyclists more space to make them safer when travelling.

Examples include closing streets to motor traffic, widening pavements, decluttering street furniture and traffic calming measures on residential streets.

Each district will be introducing measures that will most benefit their residents and you can find out more by contacting your local council. You can also find out more information here or by searching the #SafeStreetsSaveLives hashtag on social media.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester has been leading the way with our plans to build the largest walking and cycling network in the UK. A number of cities around the world have begun implementing measures to enable safe essential travel and exercise during lockdown. As part of our efforts to Build Back Better in Greater Manchester, we’re taking the same, bold approach - Safe Streets really do Save Lives.

“Peoples’ travel behaviour across our city region has transformed during lockdown. As more people turn to walking and cycling, we want that to continue as we move into life beyond lockdown. That’s why we’ve proposed measures to create space which allows people to continue making safe, sustainable journeys.

“Whatever peoples’ motivation - these choices are contributing to cleaning up our city’s air and causing less congestion on our roads, and that’s something we must sustain for the immediate future.”

Chris Boardman, Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Like any successful response to a crisis, people must be the priority. And fortunately, the data is unambiguous; during lockdown more and more residents across Greater Manchester are turning to walking and cycling for essential journeys and exercise. So, in order give people the space they need to keep safe, the only real question was ‘how soon can we act?’

“If we don’t take steps to enable people to keep traveling actively, we risk a huge spike in car use as measures are eased. Not only is it the right thing to do to protect people now, but it’s vital to meet our clean air goals and protect our NHS long term.”