New schemes make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get around and reduce people's dependency on cars have  moved a step forward.

Active neighbourhoods are being created across Bolton to prioritise the movement of people over cars

Areas earmarked for the schemes are Westhoughton and Astley Bridge and Crompton according to Transport for Greater Manchester.

The Westhoughton scheme is set to be completed in winter 2024. 

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “The provision of the high street element of the active travel proposals is presently being delivered through the Market Street works on site.

“The council have a wider ambition to build upon this and create an active travel network in and around Westhoughton, and this will be delivered in several phases.

The Bolton News: CYCLOPS junction at Trinity Way and Newport StreetCYCLOPS junction at Trinity Way and Newport Street (Image: Bolton Council)

"We confirm that each phase will be shared with ward councillors and go through a public consultation exercise before implementation.”

Information shared by Transport for Greater Manchester states:  "The proposed scheme will develop Bolton’s Beeways Network around a central segregated north-south spine through Westhoughton. 

"The scheme, developed by Bolton’s Active Travel Forum, seeks to address a lack of dedicated and safe access for people to reach their destination and increase the number of cycle trips in the area."

As part of a consultation on active travel in Westhoughton from 2020, residents gave their thoughts on what could be improved. 

Of the 125 people who responded, 29 per cent said they do not feel comfortable walking in the area and 73 per cent do not feel comfortable cycling in the area. 

In order to improve things in the area, the top suggestions were to slow down traffic (39 per cent of respondents), provide protected space for cyclists (37 per cent), reduce traffic volumes (33 per cent), install new/safer crossing points (25 per cent) and wider pavements (23 per cent).

Speaking about the junction of Central Drive and The Avenue, one said: "This is at an entrance to Central Park. It is common for traffic to come along Central Drive at speed and swing into The Avenue, hardly slowing down.

"There is little warning for pedestrians coming out of the park and wishing to cross over to the triangular island. A traffic calming measure on Central Drive at that point would make this situation safer."

The Bolton News: An illustration of a crossing at Bradshawgate/Churchgate/Deansgate/Manor RoadAn illustration of a crossing at Bradshawgate/Churchgate/Deansgate/Manor Road (Image: TfGM)

Another, speaking about pedestrian access to Pavilion Square, said: "It is extremely difficult, especially for the elderly to walk from Pavilion Square to Sainsburys for light shopping.

"Main problem is where traffic turns left at McDonalds then right to traffic lights and vice versa. Traffic is fast moving round these corners and difficult for pedestrians to get a turn crossing with safety."

Speaking about active travel proposals on Market Street, another comment was less in favour.

It said: "Make one way to encourage traffic onto high street and use one side of the road for parking up to 1 hour to allow people to visit shops as the parking in Westhoughton is dire.

"We need footfall on the high street and parking would encourage this not a cycle lane, complete waste of tax payers money."

An Active Neighbourhood is also in the works for Astley Bridge and Crompton, set to be completed in Winter 2024. 

 TfGM states: "This scheme in Astley Bridge and Crompton will enable a level of journeys made by foot or bike that could transform the area and significantly reduce dependency on cars.

The Bolton News: A cyclops junction going from Manchester Way onto Trinity StreetA cyclops junction going from Manchester Way onto Trinity Street (Image: Dr Grahame Cooper)

"The Bee Network proposed will provide walking and cycling access to four secondary schools, 11 primary schools, two major local shopping streets and two supermarkets, as well as opening up access across several neighbourhoods." 

Another consultation held in 2020 allowed residents to voice their thoughts on the scheme. 

Of the 171 people who responded, 37% did not feel comfortable walking in the area and 88 per cent did not feel comfortable cycling in the area. 

The top suggestions to improve things were to provide protected space for cyclists (39 per cent of respondents), slow down traffic (36 per cent), install new/safer crossing points (35 per cent), reduce traffic volumes (32 per cent), and improve enforcement (23 per cent).

One submission said: "The speed in which traffic travels along Belmont Road is far too fast. At night it becomes a race track. I’m surprised no one has been killed."

Another said: "The pavements on Bar Lane are narrow at the junction, it is difficult for vehicles to navigate through the junction especially in the movements across Blackburn Road, the pedestrian crossing is off set.

"There is a high school and various primary schools close by so improvement to pedestrian movements here would be great."

The Bolton News: Chorley New Road cycle signChorley New Road cycle sign (Image: Henry Lisowski)

Schemes include new and upgraded pedestrian and cycle crossings on both residential roads and main roads as well as changes to the traffic priority on some residential streets to give priority for pedestrians and cyclists. 

New signage, road surface markings and improved wayfinding for pedestrians and cyclists are part of th eplans.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper recently announced that he would cut funding to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the UK. 

Harper called for a review of the schemes across the UK in The Telegraph earlier this month, saying that they have 'set people against each other'.

On being asked if they were implementing any LTNs in the borough, Bolton Council said: "We don’t have any Low Traffic Neighbourhoods delivered as part of this initiative and we don’t have any plans for LTN’s moving forward.

"LTN’s focused on filtering traffic to reduce the flow of vehicles through residential areas, our plan is to deliver active neighbourhoods, which will focus on the provision of walking and cycling facilities and in certain instances we may need to filter streets, but we will achieve this through existing funding streams, not via this funding stream."