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Metrolink – a step too far for the Trans-Pennine Trail

Manchester Friends of the Earth is calling on the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) to stop Metrolink installing a series of steps into the Trans-Pennine Trail (TPT) which would create a major barrier to local people and visitors enjoying the popular traffic-free walking and cycle route.

Metrolink work to extend the tram system to Didsbury has made it necessary to re-route the Trans-Pennine Trail. The early designs provided to Manchester City Council, Sustrans and TPT user groups showed that ramps would provide level access to the Trail. However, the latest plans from Metrolink show that they are intending to install a series of steps into the Trail in the vicinity of Sandhurst Road.

Love Your Bike campaigners believe that many people such as parents with prams or double pushchairs, electric and manual wheelchair users and their attendants, mobility scooters users, families cycling with child buggies or “tag-alongs” and many mobile elderly people will find the steps an unwelcome and impassable barrier. They are urging the GMITA members to ensure that Metrolink provide an alternative solution that enables the Trans-Pennine Trail to continue to offer access for all.

Because the Trans-Pennine Trail runs on Council owned land and Manchester City Council also has responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the Trail, the campaigners argue that the walking & cycling route is a Council “service” and under the Disability Discrimination Act the Council has a duty to prevent barriers being introduced to the Trans-Pennine Trail.

Catherine Thomson from Manchester Friends of the Earth said:

“We support the extension of the Metrolink tram system as it can help deliver a more sustainable transport system for Greater Manchester. But this should not be at the expense of existing popular walking and cycling routes. Metrolink and Manchester City Council have a duty to ensure that this popular trail remains accessible to all.”

Last year, Manchester, Stockport and Trafford councils helped the Trans-Pennine Trail celebrate is 21st Anniversary.