A GROUND-BREAKING improvement scheme, designed to make Oldham town centre more attractive and accessible to cyclists and walkers, is now complete.
The £1.8 million Oldham Cycle and Pedestrian-Friendly District Centre involves a number of measures to reduce the impact of traffic on the town’s King Street area.
The road has been reduced from four lanes of traffic to two, with wide pavements, new wide cycle and pedestrian crossings close to the new leisure centre.
There is also improved street lighting, bus shelters and cycle parking facilities, combining to transform the street into a safer and more attractive public area.
The provision of a distinctive and eye-catching sandy-coloured surface and the removal of the old pedestrian guard rail also help to lighten the area and make it more attractive to encourage everyday journeys on foot or two wheels in Oldham town centre.
Improvements have also been made to the Union Street West footbridge, which has been repainted and fitted with new feature lighting and decorative parapets as part of the scheme.
Funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) Cycle City Ambition Grant (CCAG) and Oldham Council, the Oldham Cycle and Pedestrian-Friendly District Centre is the first of Greater Manchester’s CCAG phase two projects to be completed.
TfGM Committee’s Cycling and Walking Champion, Councillor Chris Paul, said: “This scheme has made hugely positive changes to a key part of Oldham’s town centre, not only making it look brighter and more welcoming, but also making it safer and easier to use.”
Councillor Fida Hussain, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “These works are very important to us. This route is popular with pedestrians and cyclists.
“Improvement works to the bridge were very much needed. It’s a key route for people accessing the town centre. As a council we’re very proactive in encouraging people to cycle or walk to get to places, so it’s only fair that we do our bit by ensuring the facilities are of the best standard.
“We will continue to improve routes for pedestrians and cyclists. There’s still much work to be done.”
King Street runs from north to south on the edge of the town’s shopping area and connects Oldham College, Oldham Leisure Centre, the Oldham King Street Metrolink stop and Oldham Sixth Form College.
Oldham College and Oldham Sixth Form College are part of the Cycle Schools and Colleges project which is also funded through CCAG.
More than 140 new cycle parking spaces will be built between both colleges along with improvements to changing rooms and upgraded CCTV. They have also been supplied with pool bikes and students are to be offered free cycling taster sessions.