Canal route work to start Birmingham Cycle Revolution

By on 10/12/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

Birmingham's canal network is set to become more cycle friendly if £6.3m of improvements are approved by the city council's Cabinet on December 16.

The proposals form part of the wider Birmingham Cycle Revolution project - which won central government backing to the tune of £17million in August of this year.

Under the canals element of the programme, 30km (almost 19 miles) of towpaths would be upgraded to provide a smoother ride for bikes, while improved lighting, new access points to the cycle network and better signage are due to be introduced too.

The work would be carried out on behalf of the city council by the charity Canal & River Trust. If approved, it would be likely to begin in February 2014 and be completed by the summer of 2015.

It will consist of six packages located as follows:

• City Centre - Birmingham & Fazeley Canal from Gas Street Basin to Aston Junction, and Digbeth Branch Canal from Aston Junction to Bordesley Junction
• North-East (1) - Birmingham & Fazeley Canal from Aston Junction to Salford Junction
• North-East (2) - Grand Union Canal from Bordesley Junction to Salford Junction and Tame Valley Canal from Salford Circus to Deykin Avenue
• South-East - Grand Union Canal from Bordesley Junction to the Cole Valley Route at The Ackers
• South-West - Worcester & Birmingham Canal from Gas Street Basin to Selly Oak and Bournville
• North-West - Birmingham Main Line Canal from Gas Street Basin to City Boundary at Heath Street - (north towpath only).

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City at Birmingham City Council, said: “Cycling has a major part to play in the city's future transport and leisure plans.

“I am delighted that the Birmingham Cycle Revolution is stepping up a gear with this package of improvements for our canals - they are a much-loved element of the city's infrastructure, and this work will enhance them greatly.

“This is just the start of things to come because over the next few months there will be further announcements on exactly how we will be using the rest of our grant to make cycling a more attractive transport option for those who live, work and play in the city.”

Peter Matthews CMG, chair of the West Midlands Waterways Partnership for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We have over 38 miles of canal in Birmingham which are used by a wide variety of people boating, walking and cycling along them.

“Towpaths provide wonderful green routes, linking busy towns and cities with the countryside and I would encourage everyone to step onto the towpath and discover this wonderful green space.”

Sections of canal not covered by the current programme of works will form part of the City Council's Cycling Strategy for 2016+. This will include the Grand Union Canal from Bordesley Junction to Salford Junction, the Tame Valley Canal from Salford Junction towards Walsall, and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal east of Kings Norton.

The longer-term strategy will also consider more significant works which cannot be carried out within the government grant budget and timescales, such as towpath widening through the Edgbaston Tunnel and on sections of the Tame Valley Canal.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Hi-res pics for media use are available for download from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed

The Birmingham Cycle Revolution programme seeks to promote sustainable travel options by increasing the attractiveness of cycling, which will contribute to reducing car usage, improving health and the environment, and improving connectivity for households without a car.  The target is for a 27 per cent increase in cycling Cycle City Ambition Grant area (a 20 minute cycle commute to/from the city centre) by 2016 and cycling to make up 5 per cent of all journeys by 2023.  Many of the proposals will also benefit pedestrians, public transport and road safety.

The proposals will also support the aspirations of the emerging Birmingham Development Plan and Birmingham Mobility Action Plan. 

Additionally, the project supports the targets set out in the West Midlands Local Transport Plan in terms of economic regeneration, increasing the mobility of labour markets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging sustainable travel options, and enhancing the quality of the public realm.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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