Toxic cities are choking themselves to death – when are British cities going to sort out their transport problems?Traffic jams that last for ever, toxic air, shit trains, broken infrastructure, and endless buses battling it out on one road…Manchester is quite literally choking itself to death.

We are not here to moan about the new super city that is rising from the remains of the post industrial city of yore and turning into the post punk city of the future. A city that was inspired by the Hacienda is very different from its Victorian predecessor. We are proud that Manchester has decided to become one of the main European cities. 

The new super city is full of concrete and glass and ambition and the future – the only problem is that the roads can’t get any bigger and the traffic is grinding to a exhausted exhaust shrouded halt. 

Most days sees the city centre completely blocked up with angry cars inching their way around the roads. 


There is too much traffic and not enough roads. There is no space left to build any more. 

City roads built for horses are now conduits of smog and you can feel it in your chest.

Winter is a constant tickling cough. A smog rattle. A carbon monoxide coated lung rattle. 

People deny climate change but the same people wouldn’t lock themselves in a garage full of carbon monoxide. Even the most ardent denyer would choke to death on the stuff.

When I look out of my Hulme window I see an endless traffic jam. When I cycle round the city centre I see bad tempered, not surprisingly frayed nerve end drivers jumping red lights frazzled by the choc a bloc roads.

And I breathe in the intoxication.

And it doesn’t make me high.

Just ill. 

It’s like bladerunner but no-one is running. Standing still. Stuck in a cloud of dense chemicals. 

There must be another future?

We just cannot sustain this madness.

What happened to the cycling future? The bike lanes were impressive but they are full of phone zombies, parked cars and bamboozled pedestrians who think they are pavements.

There are more cyclists in the city now that ten years ago but it’s still looked on as a bit of a fringe activity. This needs to change. It’s not that hard for a half fit adult to cycle into town from a three mile radius. It’s a damn site easier to park as well. 

Meanwhile  public transport is still in chaos.

Years and years of the public wearily about trains and still Northern Rail are taking the piss. 

Oxford Rd station is a tragic place – its passenger hating structure, dangerously packed platforms and weary tannoy announcements delivered with a robotic ‘sorry’ for yet another late train is, at the best, off putting and, at the worst, an insult.

The trains should not be there for profit they should be there for the people. 

When it works, which it never does on local lines, it’s the best form of transport but Northern Rail seem determined to make it as dreary and rubbish as possible.  Overcrowded, overpriced and over here – they should be relieved of their service and a professional 21st century train company should be in charge. It should take 20/30 minutes to get to Liverpool, it should not be hell going to Wigan and no-one should pay full whack to stand on stinking old train. It should be a pleasure and a convenience not an insult and the trains should smell of the future and not of damp and piss. 

This morning on Oxford Road I saw nearly 50 busses of different companies all jammed up in a greedy row literally chasing the student dollar down the University main conduit. Go to either side and the service gets sketchy. There must be better way of running a bus service – one that serves the city and not some ropey multi millionaire on a distant beach and people need to drop this ashamed of public transport bullshit. What’s wrong with getting on a bus (if they worked properly).

A future city needs this stuff sorting now – traffic jams and deathly smog are not the way to live – a city should hum with vibrant efficiency and not groan with rusty old ideas and transport. We are literally at a crossroads and one where we are stuck in an endless traffic jam and can’t get any further…the choice is ours – a future of of toxic air and toxic decisions or a city that somehow attempts to grapple with the future – whether that’s car free or another radical choice will take a brave politician to implement but it’s already quicker walking across town than driving…


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