CHRIS Boardman, Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, has officially opened a project to improve access to the Ashton Canal.
The Canal & River Trust, the waterways and wellbeing charity that cares for the seven-mile Ashton Canal, was supported by Tameside Council to install a new access ramp to the towpath in Guide Bridge, Audenshaw.
The ramp makes it easier for residents to enjoy traffic-free travel into Ashton and Manchester and incorporate some relaxing time by the water into their daily routines.
Thanks to £724,000 funding from Transport for Greater Manchester through the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant, the new ramp, from Guide Lane, has created a safe access point to the waterside that is suitable for walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs and prams.
Cllr Warren Bray, Tameside Council’s executive member for transport and connectivity, said: “This project has been delivered to a fantastic end result thanks to the hard work of our fantastic partner organisations.
“Now the ramp is open it will better connect our local community and give residents easier access to workplaces, schools and colleges and other locations.”
Lucy Rogers, strategic programme delivery manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “This new access will make such a big difference to people who live nearby, allowing them to get on to the towpath easily and safely.
“We know that being by the water is good for our health and wellbeing so we’re encouraging as many people as possible to get out onto the canal for walking, cycling and going for a stroll with your family to feed the ducks and other wildlife.”
Chris added: “This may seem like a small improvement, but the difference they can make to people’s daily lives can be huge.
“The new ramp allows someone who may have never considered walking or cycling from the station to the local stop, the opportunity to do so and enjoy a please and safe journey, leaving the car at home for those shorter journeys.”
Installing the ramp is part of continuing investment to improve cycling infrastructure in Greater Manchester through the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant.
In 2015, resurfacing of the Ashton Canal towpath was completed thanks to £1.2million of funding, and other enhancements such as solar lighting, signage and dog waste bins have been delivered thanks to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
• To find out more about local canal and how to benefit from spending time by the water, visit the website: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk