Chris Boardman starts his role as commissioner for cycling and walking in Greater Manchester this week. Appointed by Andy Burnham the Mayor of Manchester in July, Boardman said that he has already been busy speaking to leaders, politicians and traffic designers over the summer.
Speaking to British Cycling he said that, “I’ve not met anybody who is not totally up for change. All they want is a plan. Give me some evidence and a reason to do it and I’m with you.”
He says that he has been offered full commitment and backing from Burnham. His job as an adviser at British Cycling has given him a good insight into some of the problems and difficulties in getting more people on their bikes.
“There’s a big dollop of politics in here as well…I’ve come to understand from the other side of the fence, trying to get people to change…now I’ve got an opportunity to be on the other side of the fence and help to clear some of those obstacles in the way.”
He aims to spend billions of pounds redesigning the streets and possibly closing parts of the city centre to motorised traffic. His target is to encourage at least 10% of people to cycle or walk rather than drive within 10 years. At the moment only 2% of the population of Manchester regularly ride a bike.