Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

A while back the council turned Bridge Street (part of NCN5) into an A road, resulting in massive traffic congestion.   Just to make things worse, one lane of this was recently closed and traffic lights installed to allow the two-way "flow" whilst retaining the taxi rank/parking.   Today I found that the crossing that allows you to cross Broad Street to get to the section of NCN5 on the opposite side, has been closed, with no diversion for cyclists signed.   And boy, have they done a great job of making it impossible to cross the road, building a tall and lengthy mesh fence along the edge of the pavement (which of course at the time I didn't know anything about, and couldn't see in the dusk because it's made with mesh).   Trying to get to the library, I tried to turn left, but the road was completely blocked by a bus that was stuck in the traffic.   Eventually a black cab heading in the direction of the city centre worked its way around the bus via the end of Bridge Street, allowing the bus to move towards Five Ways by a few metres, which in turn allowed me to sneak through, cycling on the wrong side of the road, weaving between the stationary motor vehicles, until (eventually) I got to the end of the fence.   The opposite direction is, like Bridge Street, also reduced to one lane, but this has now been made two-way, so the traffic "flow" is controlled with another set of temporary traffic lights.  Is this the work of a single, complete moron, or was it designed by a committee working in three different parts of the world, with yoghurt pots and string as the communications network?   Or is it the work of a sadist who relished the chaos it would cause?

Anyhow, having inspected this from the vantage point of the first floor of the library, it looks like the best option is to cycle the section of Broad Street controlled by traffic lights (ie turn right, rather than left, as I did).   A temporary crossing has been built at one end of this section.   Of course there are no traffic lights for cyclists on Bridge Street to tell them when they can cycle with-flow, but since the traffic is moving at about 0.1mph, it doesn't really matter.

When will the city council realise there is not enough space in the city centre for all the motor vehicles it encourages into it?

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In this project I feel the council have been disgusting about they cycling treatment here!!! Since work started on tearing down Paradise Forum cycling anywhere around here has been an absolute nightmare. Road Restriction, pathway closures, cyclists dismount signs, poor signalling, NO CYCLING Improvements on the new road layout. Its honestly horrible!

Back in 2015 when they released the road work layout, they listed routes for pedestrians, cars, and buses. But none for bicycles (despite the false PDF name which included "cycling" in it!

When the road works began there was no access to Broad Street AT ALL from New Street Station. If you went up Hill Street, you'd have to make a LEFT ONLY onto the lovely (sorry I meant killer) A38 because traffic direction was changed. In the original plan the top of Hill Street was meant to be 2-ways so you could access Broad Street from Hill Street. Contacted the council of this issue and they replied saying this was unlikely to happen DESPITE the original plans they made. So the ONLY way onto Broad St at the time was to ride down Pinfold Street, join the overcrowded Navigon Street (Overcrowded = Dangerous because all traffic has to divert to the A38.) Then cycle up a steep hill to Holiday St, join Holiday St which was also overcrowded = dangerous due to Broad St being now car banned zone. 

That leads me to my next BIG BUGGER! Holiday St & Bridge Street is very narrow and up a steep hill. Its also a recommended cycle route. Now Broad Street has been banned to cars, all the motorists now divert onto these 2 roads. And also Bath Street is also effected by this. I cycled across Bath Street often when I went to university, and noticed how busy it became when Broad Street had been closed off. So all the motor traffic now divers onto narrower roads and now its overcrowded with no safety improvements from the council.

Now to moan about the current situation: 

Again cycling support has been disgraceful. As you said I also noticed the other night trying to cycle up here from a friends house and noticed the top of Bridge St is closed! There is NO warning for anyone at the bottom (so you end up cycling up a massive steep hill to find your hard work and sweat got you no where!). And as you said there is no crossing point from Bridge Street over the road on Broad St and the one side is just a giant metal wall! The side roads are still over congested, and I am also disgusted that no cycling infra of ANY kind was added to the new road layout on the old roundabout. 

Here is a couple diagrams. 

Dia 1) Methods on bypassing the road works accessing Birmingham City Library (Blue is the NCN5 which is blocked now) 

Dia 2) Methods on accessing Broad Street from the city centre.

Attachments:

ARKrider's suggested route from Holliday Street to the library has the advantage of being legal.   Whilst you are allowed to drive your vehicle up Bridge Street, you're not allowed to exit at the far end (not that that stopped me).   And you can forget about using the footway to get from Bridge Street to the temporary crossing, because the footway has been fenced off.

That is true, and there was a sizable gap between the no entry/cones and the kerb side. 

Another option I DID NOT list was the canal. But I am not very familiar with it, so I did not list that. Im more of a road cyclist. But even for pedestrians, you'd think the council would of done better providing safe access to its prized library. 

Robert said:

ARKrider's suggested route from Holliday Street to the library has the advantage of being legal.   Whilst you are allowed to drive your vehicle up Bridge Street, you're not allowed to exit at the far end (not that that stopped me).   And you can forget about using the footway to get from Bridge Street to the temporary crossing, because the footway has been fenced off.


This might be helpful. Here is a plan on the road works there.


Robert said:

ARKrider's suggested route from Holliday Street to the library has the advantage of being legal.   Whilst you are allowed to drive your vehicle up Bridge Street, you're not allowed to exit at the far end (not that that stopped me).   And you can forget about using the footway to get from Bridge Street to the temporary crossing, because the footway has been fenced off.

As ARKrider mentioned, there's the canal path, which is pretty much the edge of Brindley Place; get on a Waterfront Walk by the register office / Mailbox and follow it round.  There's a lot of people traffic as there's s bunch of bars and restaurants, so it's not a quick route but it will get you to the other side of Broad St - you can come up at Brindley Place or King Edwards St (which is pretty much at the back of the Library).  I heard there used to be cyclist dismount signs but I've not seen any and I cycle along there 3-4 times a week. And I had a chat with someone from the Canal and River Trust who seemed to think they'd decided against asking people not to cycle along there, particularly as they'd been doing their 'share the space' initiative in that area.

I work nearby and it's a mess, with the access routes for pedestrians changing on a regular basis.  Sadly between the Arena Central, Paradise Circus and now Centenary Square redevelopment it's going to be an utter mess for a while.

That map, ARKrider, is the situation last week before they closed all the "pedestrian" routes (as they are shown on the map).   One of those pedestrian routes is in fact NCN5.

I've tried using the tow path under Broad Street a few times in the past, but whenever I tried it it was busy with pedestrians, and in places very narrow (and low :)).   I found it hopelessly slow.   I guess it all depends on what time you are using it.

I was wondering last night if Berkley Street would be a possibility, but I also had a nagging doubt that there was a problem going that way.   Street View reminded me - a No Right Turn at the end!   You can do what I then did, which was cycle straight across into Oozells Street, Brunswick Street, Brindley Place, and back on to the canal by the Sea Life Centre, but that's no good for getting to the library, and getting across the bumper-to-bumper, wall-to-wall traffic jam in Broad Street might prove challenging.   It too is not a very quick route, especially if you take a wrong turn :).

It likely does not help that many pedestrians will be diverting onto the canal paths now the roads are all blocked with road works, so the canal may not be as suitable for cycling for now. 

Robert said:

That map, ARKrider, is the situation last week before they closed all the "pedestrian" routes (as they are shown on the map).   One of those pedestrian routes is in fact NCN5.

I've tried using the tow path under Broad Street a few times in the past, but whenever I tried it it was busy with pedestrians, and in places very narrow (and low :)).   I found it hopelessly slow.   I guess it all depends on what time you are using it.

I was wondering last night if Berkley Street would be a possibility, but I also had a nagging doubt that there was a problem going that way.   Street View reminded me - a No Right Turn at the end!   You can do what I then did, which was cycle straight across into Oozells Street, Brunswick Street, Brindley Place, and back on to the canal by the Sea Life Centre, but that's no good for getting to the library, and getting across the bumper-to-bumper, wall-to-wall traffic jam in Broad Street might prove challenging.   It too is not a very quick route, especially if you take a wrong turn :).

Ok so broad street was shut today with all traffic diverted down bridge street. Went left by the library and the road on the right also closed.

On Friday I went down Berkley Street and abused the puffin to make the banned right turn.   The metal fence had been removed, so I was able to cycle up to the library.   On the way back, myself and one of my classmates turned right on to Broad Street, and then down Gas Street (and then rode back together along the canal).   This method of overcoming the destruction of NCN5 does have the advantage of avoiding the dip at the Holliday Street end of Bridge Street, but once again I've been forced into breaking the law by the usual complete lack of consideration for people on bikes (trying to use a cycle route that's been marked on the OS map for many years).

This is the latest council bulletin:

We are aware that this is causing significant delays, particularly to bus passengers, and are sorry for this inconvenience.

Our number one piece of advice is to use public transport, cycling and walking to access the city centre. We know that these modes are also subject to the delays and disruptions, but they are much more efficient in terms of the road space used and the emissions per person. 86% of all commuter car trips are single occupancy* – the driver is the only person in the vehicle. A Platinum bus has seats for 73 people. If we can remove unnecessary car/van trips, delays to buses and to essential car/van journeys would be dramatically reduced.

If you are unable to avoid driving for your trip, consider using the ring road and entering the city centre via a route other than Broad Street. Travel south to Belgrave Middleway and approach Holloway Circus (‘Pagoda Island’) from Bristol Street, or travel north to Spring Hill (junction with Tesco and the library) and turn right onto Summer Hill Road. (Avoid Bath Row/Holloway Head due to road works at Holloway Circus.)

If you use Broad Street, vehicles under 12’6” (3.8m) will now be directed down Gas Street instead of Bridge Street, and you should expect delays to your journey. Buses will continue to use Bridge Street.

So whilst the council has responded to the chaos (possibly because I emailed Stewart Stacey about it), an even longer section of Holliday Street will be congested.   However, the good news is that you can now use the original NCN5 route (they've even reinstated the crossing).   But judging by what I saw today, private hire drivers don't know that their vehicles are less than 3.8 metres tall, creating a private hire car jam at the end of Bridge Street.   Also, BCC have maintained two-way traffic on Bridge Street with temporary traffic lights, so expect a lengthy delay.

Of course this latest bulletin shows the council is still resorting to using something that doesn't work (imploring people to cycle), rather than using the money they have been given to prioritise cycle travel with proper infrastructure.

Use the bus ?
Don’t go down broad street ?

Absolute rubbish, yesterday at rush hour I saw from holiday street going past bridge street 6 double decker buses in the space of 300 yards all sitting in the traffic jam, plus a couple of those small I go buses and a single decker.
These are ferrying most passengers yet are stuck in the congestion the council have created. Doesn’t help that cars are still going up bridge street.
Did they say how long broad street is shut for ? There has been no information on this at all.

Plus there is nothing to say broad street is shut until you get to the sign at bridge street

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