West Midlands transport bosses have today committed almost £15 million funding towards four major cycle routes as part of the wider region’s vision to get more people to take up cycling.
The cash will support projects across the West Midlands including Birmingham, the Black Country, and Coventry and are designed to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution by offering safer alternatives to the car on key routes.
The funding will be allocated to kick start the following four routes:
- A34 north, extending the newly opened segregated cycle highway at Perry Barr to Perry Park and the Alexander Stadium – £1.5m
- A45 Birmingham to the Airport/NEC running alongside the new Sprint rapid bus route – £5m
- A series of new routes and local links to connect communities to the new Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro line – £3m
- Binley Road route between Coventry University to University Hospital – £5m
Many of the routes will feature higher standard segregated cycleways to encourage people to take up cycling.
Further to this investment plans are also being drawn up for a walking-friendly zone, at Ladywood and the Icknield Port Loop development in Birmingham to help residents and visitors more easily access Birmingham city centre by foot.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “One of the biggest barriers to cycling is safety, so we are getting to work on expanding our network of cycle routes, linking communities and offering an alternative to the car.
“Cycling can reduce traffic congestion, improve health and reduce pollution – it is also great fun. This is why we have committed this funding and set ambitious targets to get more people on their bikes.”
The £15 million funding is on top of local authority initiatives such as the new blue route segregated cycleways developed by Birmingham City Council along the A34 and A38.
Cllr Ian Ward, West Midlands Combined Authority portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council said: “This investment builds on the start we have already made in Birmingham with the opening of two dedicated blue cycle routes this year.
“This funding will help us extend the A34 cycle route to the Alexander Stadium – the key venue for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“This coupled with our wider investment in transport including bus, rail and tram shows our determination to improve air quality, tackle congestion and improve the health of people across the region.”
The West Midlands has set a target to increase the proportion of journeys by bike to 5 per cent over the next three years, up from 1.7 per cent in 2011.
Earlier this year Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and the seven local authorities outlined plans for a region-wide cycle route network in the Common Approach to Cycling and Walking report.
The money is drawn from the £23 million Transforming Cities Fund pot allocated to cycling and walking projects by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), of which TfWM is part.
From that the £2 million Better Streets Community Fund was set up to provide money for smaller projects such as safe crossings and cycle storage racks, put forward by community groups and organisations.
TfWM will now work with partners, including local authorities, on the detailed design and delivery of these routes.