New Plans Proposed for MCR City Centre - it's going CAR FREE

New plans have been proposed for Manchester City Centre including improved bus, rail and Metrolink routes.

By Alex Watson | 29 September 2020

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The framework, developed by TFGM, Salford City Council and GMCA, includes a vision for a ‘zero-carbon city centre’ that gets you ‘from A to Bee’. See what they did there?

It looks like the plans won’t come into full fruition until 2040 but there is likely going to be some big changes to the city centre between now and then.

The areas that are going to be improved include; buses, Metrolink, rail, streets, cycling, cars & goods vehicles, routes and a whole section dedicated to ‘new ideas’ including testing new technology like e-scooters.

Edvin Johansson/Unsplash

Bus routes could be extended from 10km or more away, as the council want more people coming into the centre on the bus.

There’s set to be more efficient and reliable bus services into the city centre plus the reduction of other traffic around the centre too.

A massive change could also be happening in Piccadilly Gardens as they want ‘less of a bus terminal in Piccadilly Gardens and we want to stop buses looping around Oldham Street’.

Halaa Alghanim/Unsplash

This COULD possibly mean Piccadilly Gardens becomes more of an actual green oasis – fingers crossed anyway!

Buses are also set to become more ‘London-style’ with linked up timetables and tickets to make it a little bit tidier.

For trams, there’s set to be more and the possible introduction to trams on train lines. This requires some proper fancy technology that will probably be a long (long long long) term plan for the city.

They’re also even considering a tunnel under the city centre – fancy!


On the train front, HS2 will be connecting Manchester to Leeds, Birmingham and London with better journey times and links across the North.

Manchester Piccadilly station is set to become ‘a world-class interchange and gateway to our city’.

As we’ve already seen thanks to Ms Rona, streets are set to become more and more pedestrianised with improved walking routes throughout the city.


The pedestrianised Deansgate is hoped to become permanent and a model for future streets.

For those of you who risk life and death cycling into town, you’re in for some luck if plans go ahead.

A network of ‘more connected and attractive cycling routes’ is in the plans. Plus there’s hope to join up ‘the triangle’ of city-centre routes from Deansgate, Whitworth Street West and the Northern Quarter.

It’s bad news for those that drive in the city centre – and struggle to park – though as the plans propose discouraging petrol-driven vehicles in the city centre including ‘removing car parks as part of that’.

But the most intriguing bit of all is the ‘fast-evolving technologies’ which could mean Manchester will have self-driving cars and e-scooters. 

The plan states ‘innovation pilots of new technologies in the city centre such as the trial of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and e-scooters at Salford University’. It adds that the trials of new technology could potentially include ‘e-scooters, electric cargo bikes, travel hubs, dynamic kerbside
management for parking and goods deliveries across the city centre’.

All the new ideas are in efforts for cleaner air in the city centre and drive – scoot – towards the ‘net-zero carbon city centre environment’.

You can pitch in your thoughts and ideas here if you’ve got any!

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