A bid to government for £17million to transform Birmingham into one of the UK’s leading cities for cycling was put before the city council’s Cabinet this week.
Worth £22.9m in total, the Birmingham Cycle Revolution package would see 115km of new routes created for cyclists, along with upgrades to a further 95km of the existing city network by 2016, with a commitment for future investment in developing the cycle network to 2023.
Developed for the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant scheme, the bid is focused on the greater City Centre and a surrounding commuter catchment area of 20 minutes cycling time from the ring road – and would also see the introduction of wider measures such as improved cycle parking and bike hubs.
The plans could see a £686,000 investment for the A435 Alcester Road with planned routes from Digbeth to Kings Heath, Digbeth to Moseley, Kings Heath & Yardley Wood while linking in with the current River Rea route.
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “Birmingham is known as a motoring city, but we need to embrace more sustainable methods of travel for many good reasons.
“Cycling is good for your health as exercise, helps reduce traffic and carbon emissions and is also good for your finances – with rising fuel costs and a sluggish economy, the use of bikes offer people a way to save money at a time when cash is tight.
“Now is the time for a cycling revolution, and I hope the need for change, cyclist support for the plans and the ambition of our bid are persuasive forces that convince the Government to back Birmingham’s aspirations.”
The Cycle City Ambition Grant bid will support an ambitious ‘Birmingham Cycle Revolution’ 20-year plan to support cyclists across the city and make cycling an integral part of the transport network. The bid forms the first stage in delivering a step-change in levels of cycling and builds on key cycling projects such as Bike North Birmingham, a programme of cycle routes, activities and initiatives in the north of the city.
The seven key elements of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution package are (Click title to view):
[accordion title=”Main Corridors“]Measures along eight of the main arterial routes into the city centre. These will generally be suitable for more experienced and confident cyclists who value fast direct routes with priority over side roads, and who are happy to mix with buses and other traffic in areas where separate cycle facilities cannot be provided within the space available. Typical measures will include marked cycle facilities (formal or informal) on the carriageway, shared use footways, improved cycle routes through subways (particularly at the ring road), bus lanes (with cycle lanes to link disjointed sections of bus lane), and short diversions to avoid particularly complex junctions or other pinchpoints.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Parallel Routes“]A network of generally quieter routes running parallel to the main corridors, suitable for less experienced commuter cyclists as well as family trips.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Green Routes“]Improvements and extensions to the existing network of ‘off-road’ routes such as Rea Valley, Cole Valley and Tame Valley, particularly suitable for family and leisure cycling but also available for commuter cyclists.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Canal Network“]Extensive improvements to existing towpaths to provide a surface more suitable for all-weather cycling, with improved access at certain locations, and signing and wayfinding measures.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Supporting Measures“]Items such as cycle hire, parking and hubs, wayfinding, and a significant extension of 20mph areas, to encourage and assist more people to cycle.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”City Centre“]A series of improvements within the Ring Road, including some contraflow cycle facilities and signing, to improve routes into and through the city centre. These measures will also make use of existing pedestrianised areas within the city core and provide more clarity on their availability to cyclists.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Smarter Choices“]A supporting package of revenue-funded promotional, marketing and educational measures to promote cycling to local residents and businesses.[/accordion]
Cllr McKay added: “The plan we’ve put together gives Birmingham a clear way forward that will improve provision and facilities that will make cycling an integral part of our transport network, and a much more attractive and easy option for people to consider.
“For too long, the car has been an easy and obvious option, with cycling seen as unattractive. We want to create a city where people have genuine choice in their method of transport, where car dependency decreases and bikes are seen as equal to motor vehicles.”
If approved by Cabinet, the bid needs to be formally submitted by the end of the month, with a final decision expected from the Department For Transport in June.
To back the bid, visit Birmingham.gov.uk/bcr and pledge support by filling in an online form available via the link.