Up to £250m could be spent to improve cycling infrastructure in the West Midlands, under ‘ambitious’ plans to increase the number of journeys made by bike in the region.
The plans, which have been backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), also include goals to raise cycling investment to at least £10 a head each year.
The investment will be spent on 26 ‘priority corridors’ – covering nearly 200km through Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull – which will ‘offer people a genuine alternative to their cars’.
Transport for West Midlands has also outlined plans for:
- The appointment of a cycling and walking ambassador
- The coordination of events – including a family festival of cycling
- New West Midlands cycling and walking brands
- Working with communities to create great places to cycle and walk
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Cycling can reduce traffic congestion, improve health and wellbeing and reduce pollution. It is good for the cyclist and good for the wider travelling public so we have set out ambitious targets to increase the number of journeys made by bike in the region.
“We have already made a significant start and have also now launched one of the country’s biggest bike share schemes with nextbike. Once fully rolled out that scheme will see thousands of bikes for hire on the streets of the West Midlands.
“This shows the scale of our ambitions for cycling but we also know that one of the biggest barriers to cycling is safety, so we are planning to focus investment on 26 key routes that link communities across the West Midlands and offer people a genuine alternative to their cars.”
Jesse Norman, cycling and walking minister, says getting people cycling and walking is key to improving air quality and encouraging healthy exercise.
Mr Norman said: “These new safe cycle routes, which the DfT is supporting through the Transforming Cities Fund, will help to make cycling the natural choice for journeys across the region.
“We are also investing around £2bn to support cycling across the country as part of our long term Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.”