The city’s cabinet is being asked to set the wheels in motion for the next phase of Birmingham Cycle Revolution.
The next phase will focus on developing segregated cycle routes along two of the city’s most important commuter corridors – the A38 between Birmingham city centre and Selly Oak, and the A34 between the city centre and Perry Barr.
More than £11 million will be invested in creating two-way cycle paths allowing cyclists to travel in safety and confidence on all-weather lanes, separated from other road users such as cars, buses, vans and lorries.
A further £1.4 million will be spent on infrastructure to join the two routes through the city centre, establishing a continuous north-south cycle highway.
Each of the new cycle paths will be around 4km long and will link up the Selly Oak and Life Sciences Green Travel Districts, which include the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University of Birmingham campus, with the proposed Green Travel District at Perry Barr (the Food Hub) where an extensive area-wide regeneration programme is already under way centred around the new wholesale markets site and a redeveloped local centre.
Construction work is scheduled to start next year after detailed consultation with communities and stakeholders, with completion due by the end of 2018.
Birmingham Cycle Revolution is also investing in improved cycling infrastructure and shorter, local routes within selected Green Travel Districts (GTDs), designated areas across Birmingham where people are put before cars, enabling them to walk, cycle or take public transport safely, reducing congestion, pollution and collisions, and promoting healthier, safer communities. BCR will work closely in partnership with communities, campaign groups and other organisations to ensure the best possible solution is implemented.
Councillor Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads at Birmingham City Council, said: “We have listened carefully to feedback from cyclists regarding the work we have done so far on Birmingham Cycle Revolution and will now be focusing on the development of two higher quality segregated routes which will better meet the needs and expectations of existing and future cyclists.”
“This means that rather than focusing on schemes which rely primarily on painted lines and signage, we are now looking at the creation of routes which will enable cyclists to use our roads while completely segregated from other traffic, which will be safer, as well as making for a more enjoyable cycling experience. The Department for Transport (DfT), which has provided funding for BCR, has agreed to this new focus.”
“This next phase of BCR will improve connectivity between the city centre and two sites which are among the most important locations for major growth potential. Cycling is an affordable and sustainable form of transport which can open up previously inaccessible opportunities, including employment opportunities for young people by enabling them to travel to work or training.”
The move is also being welcomed by cycling campaign groups.
David Cox, chair of Cycling UK, said: “I welcome the proposals to build two high quality segregated cycle lanes linking Selly Oak and Perry Barr to Birmingham city centre.
“These safe and convenient routes will encourage more people to cycle as an attractive alternative to driving on congested roads or using crowded public transport. They will be a real advance for the city’s infrastructure and set standards for the West Midlands Cycle Charter.”
Gavin Passmore, partnerships manager for the West Midlands at Sustrans, said: “Sustrans welcomes the new approach taken in the next phase of Birmingham Cycle Revolution. Ensuring delivery of high quality infrastructure is key to enabling more people to cycle for everyday trips, creating a safer and more convenient way to travel.
“Evidence from our Bike Life report suggests that many people in Birmingham want to cycle more with 77 per cent saying that protected bike lanes would help them cycle – more than for any other type of cycle route. The new routes will create a direct route to areas that are undergoing large investment and change, giving people a wider choice of how they travel.”
The full report, which will go before the councils cabinet members on December 13th 2016, can be found here.