Quality over quantity as Birmingham pursues ‘cycle revolution’

12.00 | 12 January 2017 | | 4 comments

Birmingham City Council has announced that it will spend more than £11m to create two ‘higher quality’ cycle routes in the city as part of the next phase of its ‘cycle revolution’.

Announced in December, the council will now 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.

The announcement has been welcomed by cycling charities, including Cycling UK, who says these ‘safe and convenient routes’ will encourage more people to cycle.

The council says it has listened to feedback from cyclists regarding its work to date on the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, and is now looking to create routes which keep cyclists completely segregated from other traffic, as opposed to relying on ‘painted lines and signage’.

The DfT is funding the new all-weather, two-way cycle paths. A further £1.4m will be spent on infrastructure to join the two routes through the city centre, establishing a continuous north-south cycle highway.

Construction work is scheduled to start later this year after detailed consultation with communities and stakeholders, with completion due by the end of 2018.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, cabinet member for transport and roads, 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 DfT, which has provided funding for BCR, has agreed to this new focus.

David Cox, chair of Cycling UK, said: “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.”

Photo: Birmingham Cycle Revolution.

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    As you can see Pat the authorities have specially constructed two double lanes of motor vehicles on either side of the cycle way. From my experience this is quite sufficient to deter pedestrians from choosing to leave their pavements, hop over the motor vehicle lanes and use the cycle ways.

    Arthur, Wales
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    I wonder what measures will be necessary to keep pedestrians off these lovely routes? It does not matter if there are pavements nearer the houses, if you build a route, even one dedicated to cyclists, someone will want to walk on it. And that isn’t even including anti social use of motorbikes on them for making mischief. Or perhaps Birmingham does not have these sorts of problems like we do?

    Pat, Wales
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    Please can some authority or other recognised body ask for a few hundred million so that vulnerable motorcyclists and scooter riders, particularly those of a tender age and lacking in experience will be recognised as a vulnerable minority group and so qualify in some small way for preferential treatment in order to keep them safer and alive longer on our road system which is not designed for their usage. They are after all only 1% of the motoring population far less than cyclists but represent anually about 20% of all KSIs.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    For far too long authorities have introduced cycle facilities on the basis that they can beat the authority next door when someone makes an FOI request about how much cycling infrastructure they have.

    It must not be about ‘Oh, we have x kms of cycle route’ – it needs to be about whether the routes are fit for purpose, and as safe as possible. We have lots of utterly useless cycle lanes in my area for example, that simply come to an end when a road narrows. That is just where a rider might appreciate being given some extra room by passsing vehicles, but it appears as though the engineers who design them are not cyclists. Well done, Birmingham!

    David, Suffolk
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