Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Changes to Birmingham Cycle Revolution Main Routes

As mentioned previously, BCR are proposing that highway schemes should now be focused on two high quality (mainly) segregated routes - A38 Bristol Road to Selly Oak and A34 Birchfield Road to Perry Barr. Other main corridor schemes will not go ahead as planned.

The proposed changes are to be presented to Council Cabinet next Tuesday (13th December ) for approval.

Reports are available here  (excerpts below) no drawings are included but I heard on the grapevine that one lane of traffic will be taken from motor vehicles on Bristol Road. Using the central reservation was also mentioned at a Northfield meeting recently. 

With substantial elements of the Phase 1 programme having been completed, significant feedback has emerged from Cabinet Members, Ward Councillors, senior officers, cycle stakeholder groups and the wider public regarding the effectiveness of the cycle infrastructure measures introduced to date. Overall, there is a consensus that the Canal Routes, Green Routes and substantial parts of the Supporting Measures programme are proving to be attractive for cyclists and have been successful in delivering an increased number of trips in support of overall strategic objectives. 

There is a further consensus however that certain elements of the highway scheme programme do not meet the aspirations of either existing or potential new cyclists, and that the desired step-change in modal shift which BCR aspires to will only be achieved if the forward programme is re-focused on a smaller number of higher-quality routes. Since the original BCR bids were submitted there has also been a significant increase in the expectations of the cycling community in terms of the quality of routes and the facilities provided, including a move towards greater segregation on Main Corridor routes.

Particular concern has also been expressed about the effectiveness of the Parallel Routes scheme package, which overall has not been well received by a number of stakeholders. The original funding bids envisaged that these routes would primarily be identified by lining and signing, and it is now clear that such measures in isolation do not meet stakeholder expectations, and are unlikely to encourage significant increases in cycle patronage, particularly on relatively busy roads.

The next cycle forum is the day after council approves these changes (or not) so hopefully there will be more information available then if not before more info here 

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We have been told that the BCR team have taken on-board the criticisms that have been made of the parallel road routes and that they will not do any routes like that in the future. They are going to be drawing up signs to put on the routes as way finding though. We've said that they also need to do this with the A47 Parkway main corridor route which is good, but nobody knows exists.

We have to have a city that is attractive to live in, and that increasingly means a transport system that doesn't assume everyone wants to drive. Let's hope that we can get that.

Matt said:

So spending a load of cash painting logos of bikes on roads like Ladypool road hasn't made any difference? Oh my god, I am so shocked, I can't believe it!
Seriously, who made these decisions? Idiots. I have unfortunately no faith in BCR delivering anything worthwhile, but I still live in hope. I think concentrating on fewer routes is a better option so let's see.
Ultimately all cities are in competition with each other for investment, business, attracting students etc and I think when it comes to cycling infrastructure, Brum is being left behind by London, Leicester, Newcastle, Manchester etc, and that may be what finally makes them realise they have to keep up. If Selly Oak was a "mini holland" type scheme, it would be so much more attractive to prospective students.

I think that the Perry Barr route was chosen because it would be easier to provide space for cycling without impacting on space for motor traffic. Same with the Bristol Road route.

The impact of the Perry Barr route will be interesting to see. There is a lot of residential housing along the route and the route really does deliver cycle users in safety into the centre of Birmingham. It also provides a good link between the BCU campus at Perry Barr and the campus in the city centre as well as all the new student accommodation around Aston University, so there may be increased use by students as well. But Birmingham City Council will definitely need to have a promotion programme going on along the route to try to get more use as well.

Simon said:

Looks promising...and would be the first bit of arterial segregated cycleroad in Brum for getting on for 20 will be nice if/when it finally happens.

Of course, we await the fine details......for instance in the second pic above, will there be an undertaking to sweep the path of  foliage regularly? (eg the bit down to Cheddar Rd from Belgrave which is currently full of road chutney)  How will the Perry Barr route deal with side roads....will the cyclist get any protection at the point where conflict is most likely or will this be the bit where the segregation peters out? (e.g. Chester Rd)   Will there be strict parking enforcement ? (e.g. Chester Rd again).

And I'm interested to know why they chose the Perry Barr route - I would have though something from North Brum down the Sutton Rd/ Brum Rd / Gravelly Hill / Lichfield Rd would have a lot more cycle traffic on it, and we really want the first couple of routes to be very successful - that way we get more routes built.  But got to start somewhere.....I guess the route from Sutton is much harder due to being longer and having less room to fit the segregated cycleroad in between Erdington and Sutton.

Of course.  But that makes it something of a low-hanging fruit in terms of political will, which if done properly will strengthen the argument for similar facilities on other, more contentious, routes.  It makes sense to do the easy ones first.

Chris Lowe said:

I think that the Perry Barr route was chosen because it would be easier to provide space for cycling without impacting on space for motor traffic. Same with the Bristol Road route.

That is something I raised with the BCR team several times, Kim, so given that they got their fingers burned doing otherwise, perhaps they decided to listen.

I think this is excellent news and genuinely exciting stuff. I almost can't believe it, so I still have my fingers crossed!
It would be excellent to join up the route with the Rea Valley route at Priory road. I think the path may be shared use down there, but I'm not sure? I would probably take that slightly longer route from town to avoid the horrible Gooch Street/Horton square and I defntiely don't consider myself a nervous cyclist.

£1.3 Million per KM so it better be good.

There wont be a proper high quality link as part of this project, Matt, but last week we did discuss how to enable cyclists to turn in and out of Priory Road.   Without Simultaneous Green it's not straightforward, and we may have to put up with some toucan crossing bodge.

If the cost per km came entirely out of your pocket, John, yes, it would be expensive.   Figures like "£1.3 Million per KM" are rather meaningless if your yardstick is your household budget.   You need to compare it with the budget for a new road (which will simply fill up with cars), and then it will look like peanuts.

A toucan crossing bodge at Priory Road would still be a vast improvement over the current situation, for pedestrians if not for cyclists.

It's item 7 at the Cabinet meeting that started at 10 here -

Changes have been agreed by cabinet. Good news.

Indeed good news. When I first heard about the changes I was disappointed, especially with the cutting of the Harborne Road scheme as that one way circle of hell is on my commute.

But having seen the proposals I think they made the right call and focus on a couple of less contentious higher quality schemes will hopefully lead to bigger better things in future. I am also pleased they took a step back and finally realised the parallel schemes were drivel - that doesn't happen enough in government.

Let's just hope that they deliver!
As Gareth said. I would love the Hagley Road corridor to be first on the list, but it is far better to have some showcase high quality routes you would be happy for your kids to cycle on than loads of half baked schemes. Hopefully the residents of Selly Oak and Perry Barr will take up the challenge and show we aren't a City addicted to sitting in traffic

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