South Manchester to city centre // traffic free* route

It’s been a while I wanted to share the *(mostly) traffic free route that I now regularly use when I cycle into town. There’s a second version I’ll get to share too later on, when I can manage another 5 minutes.

I live south of the city, and this route can be picked up from more or less anywhere, even if you are coming into town further south than myself.

It may look like a lot of turns and not as direct as sticking to the main roads, but the absence of traffic makes this a really pleasant route, even if it may add an extra 5 minutes to the journey.

I must admit I don’t use it once it gets dark, because of its quietness comes night it doesn’t feel safe anymore (I revert to the busy roads and take my chance with buses and cars).

I have saved a google map of it that you can find here.

Last month I took the following photos along this route…

On the shared path, which runs alongside the Manchester Grammar School playing fields.

Going through Schuster Road (this is the section of the route which is on-road but with low-level traffic)

Cycling along the shared path within Whitworth Park.

After the park you are still segregated from the traffic, but only for a little bit before being thrown onto Oxford Road… I wish they would sort out this section, it wouldn’t take too much effort.

After the nasty but super short section on Oxford Road, you can escape once more into a nice traffic-free route amongst the University of Manchester & MMU campus.

More along this quiet route

Crossing the junction with Booth Street East, straight ahead onto the MMU campus.

Through the campus of the MMU.

Thus reaching Grosvenor Street and turning right, joining onto the contraflow lane that links to the UMIST campus, with another section of traffic-free route.

contraflow just out of the frame (to the let margin)

After the UMIST campus, the city centre is a short cycle away, back onto the busy roads, but at least you get to this point rather relaxed and able to contend with a bit of city chaos, rather than hot, stressed out and p**d off if you have been cycling on main roads for the whole ride.

9 responses to “South Manchester to city centre // traffic free* route

  1. I do enjoy that route into Manchester City Centre, or rather I did. I’ll still be in Manchester every now and then though, so I may still get to use it.

    I’m looking forward to finding all the secret pleasant routes like this in Chester, they make a place feel much more inviting to cycle. The downside though is that when you get used to using them and then go and cycle somewhere else you realise that you don’t really feel as safe as you thought you did when cycling, you’ve merely learned through experience the routes which are least hostile and which ones to avoid completely.

  2. Why get ‘hot, stressed out and p**d off’ when cycling in city traffic?

    After a bit of practice it becomes an art and gives great satisfaction.

    If we cyclists are bullied into side roads and longer commutes then cycling really has no chance to make an impact as a serious mode of transport.

    • Pete, you’re absolutely right about not being relegated into side roads alone.

      However my primary concern (and before you may be inclined to be patronising, I’d like to warn you because I have little feeling that you might given the tone of your comment, I cycle on every type of road under the sun, with or without heels I may add) is that more people feel encouraged to cycle especially for short trips.

      Cycling in city traffic may give *you* a great satisfaction. At the moment us cyclists are what, 1% of transport mode? 😦 what if the other 99% would not give cycling a go because they do indeed would get hot, stressed out and probably scared the s*it out of them if cycling in our UK traffic?

      IF, side roads which are quieter and less scary or even better traffic-free routes may do just that, encourage people to give it a go, why try to make those people who choose those routes feel like wimps (because I am sorry but that’s how your comment came across)?

      Secondly to ensure that cycling is taken as a serious mode of transport I what we need to do is invest our energy into cycling advocacy and lobbying both a local and central government level, rather than attacking each other just because we decide to cycle differently. We will not change the system if we just rely on trying to outrun the cars by relying solely on fast, aggressive cycling styles.

      If I sound pretty bothered is because I am tired of this militant side of cycling, where if you write a post that is about *your* experience of *your* preference in cycling, which may be more slow paced and more human, you have to feel attacked and judged.

    • Pete, I think you’ll see that 99% of people have been bullied off the main roads already, and the side roads. In fact, they’ve been bullied off their bikes altogether. The prevailing view in many cycling circles that the ‘right’ way to cycle is basically ‘HTFU’ does very little at all to remedy this situation.

  3. Not entirely traffic free then….

    You had me quite excited fora moment then – but I must admit to enjoying a 60% traffic free cycle comute most days, and most of that is by the Ship Canal, so I know how much a nice quiet route can improve the day.

      • Not any longer!!!

        The route has been open till at least 7pm every weekday evening over the winter. I have been able to use the route almost every evening, which has been brilliant.

        I waged a bit of an email campaign last autumn with the Irwell River Park people, which just may have helped ;~)

    • 😉 you’re right Mike, should have put a disclaimer there. It’s still a very nice route into town though from this end…

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