The mayor of the West Midlands has pledged to increase levels of walking and cycling to 5% of all journeys in the region by 2023 – and wants the Government to provide cash to support this aim.
In a letter to Jesse Norman, the minister responsible for walking and cycling, Andy Street (pictured right) called for the DfT to increase its investment in cycling to £10 per head by 2023 – with a focus on new and upgraded cycling infrastructure.
The letter is in response to a call for evidence by the DfT – launched by Mr Norman in March 2018 – which sought views on everything from improved infrastructure to education for all road users.
The consultation, which ended on 2 June, was carried out ahead of the publication of a new Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
Mr Street has also asked that traffic enforcement powers be devolved directly to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), making it easier to prosecute people who park recklessly and endanger cyclists and pedestrians.
Andy Street said: “We have made some significant progress in the West Midlands over the last 12 months in terms of improvements in the cycling infrastructure and promoting walking and cycling.
“The most obvious examples are the progress being made by Birmingham City Council on the superhighway routes on Bristol Road and Walsall Road, as well as the bikeshare scheme which will give people across the West Midlands the chance to hire bikes.
“But we need to be looking to the next stage, to making sure these superhighways become part of a network, not pieces of standalone infrastructure.
“And we need to make sure that the people who hire the bikes are able to use safe infrastructure.
“In my letter to Jesse Norman, I’ve asked him to work on a host of measures which I believe will make it safer for people to walk and cycle.
“We need the Government’s help to enable us to take this to the next level, making cycling and walking a safer and easier option than it is now, with beneficial impacts on traffic congestion and air pollution.”
Cllr Roger Lawrence, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and transport lead on the WMCA (pictured left), said: “We’re seeing an unprecedented level of investment in public transport in the West Midlands which will have a major impact on traffic congestion.
“One of the most important ways we can do this is by improving the conditions for cycling and walking.
“While excellent progress is being made, the call for evidence from the DfT is an opportunity to push for even greater investment, powers and devolution to accelerate the work currently taking place.”