Currently, Chester Road and Kingsway sever the Mall from the rest of Stretford and create dangerous, uncomfortable crossings for residents and high levels of pollution and noise.Stretford Town Centre Consultation – Accessibility
My thoughts on the Accessibility of the Town Centre
Too limited in scale. The plan assumes that people only walk to the town centre from an area not much further out than Victoria Park. In making this assumption, it confines its consideration of severance to the A56 and Kingsway.
Stretford Foodhall and other venues that have started up in recent years are already successfully exploiting the walkability of the nearest neighbourhoods. The new homes planned for the centre will add further to this ultra-local market. However, the best potential increase in the town centre’s market share lies beyond the immediate area.
A walkable journey of fifteen minutes could reasonably define the catchment that Stretford needs to exploit. Applying this extends the area out towards:
- Lostock/Sevenways/Derbyshire Estate,
- Moss Road,
- Gorse Hill,
- The Quadrant,
- The Meadows,
- Urmston Lane,
- Moss Park.
The routes serving these neighbourhoods from Stretford are typically busy fast roads with narrow pavements, often in poor condition and subject to aggressive pavement parking. Certain junctions are already notoriously unsafe.
The council could work with Living Streets – Stretford to engage with the community in identifying further severance and improving walkability.
The risk of not addressing this is that Stretford loses walking market penetration, putting people in a taxi to Manchester rather than taking an unpleasant 10-minute walk to their local town centre.
As a consequence of this post, my twitter friend Owler Nook has posted an isochrone map of Stretford showing increments of walking areas. This is a live calculation available here
What really underlines the importance of attracting these potential customers for Stretford all living within 15 minutes is the scale. The plan is focusing all its accessibility improvements on the inner ‘red’ area currently accommodating 1500 residents. Take it out to the 15 minute range and you’re targeting fifteen thousand people.