Totem poles and plants to calm traffic in a Manchester street

(Sustrans ) Neighbours in Manchester will re-design their road this weekend in a groundbreaking attempt to banish speeding traffic and re-create a safer, more attractive street.

Penn Street in Manchester is the first of 11 DIY Streets pilot schemes launching across England and Wales to enter its construction phase.

Its residents will spend this Saturday and Sunday (September 19 and 20) erecting totem poles at their street’s entrance to narrow the T junction and installing plants further along the road to act as chicanes.

The construction follows two years of community meetings led by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, and supported by Manchester City Council. The residents’ success in slowing down traffic and stopping shoppers using the street for free parking - in conjunction with the relevant authorities - could see the DIY Streets project rolled out in cities throughout the UK.

Penn Street resident Tracy Ward said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to is just waiting in anticipation and really eager to get cracking so we can change the street for the better. There’s a real sense of optimism that we can sort out the traffic problems on our street and this is spilling over into other communities who are waiting to see what the outcome of all our work will be.”
Sustrans has launched a survey on its website this month to find out the demand for similar schemes to Penn Street.

Katherine Rooney, Sustrans Senior Project Officer for DIY Streets, said: “The residents’ enthusiasm has made this scheme possible and we’re keen to hear from communities across the UK who want to sort out their street’s problems – whether it’s over rat-running, nuisance parking, litter or dodgy pavements.”

Councillor Richard Cowell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member Environment, said: “This is an innovative scheme which has brought residents together to try to make their streets safer and environmentally more attractive. This is slightly different to the normal traffic calming schemes that are in place across the city and we look forward to seeing how successful the scheme turns out to be.”

Construction work will take place in Penn Street on Saturday and Sunday (Sept 19 and 20) from 10am to 4pm.