City set for cycle revolution after government backs bid

By on 12/08/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

Birmingham's journey on the road to becoming one of the UK's leading cycling cities has been boosted after the government today (August 12) awarded the council £17million for an ambitious programme of improvements.

The city council bid for the cash for its Birmingham Cycle Revolution project - which will see 115km of new routes created for bike users, along with upgrades to a further 95km of the existing city network by 2016, with a commitment for future investment in developing the cycle network to 2023.

Awarded through the Department for Transport's Cycle City Ambition Grant scheme, the cash for the project will be focused on the greater city centre and a surrounding commuter catchment area of 20 minutes cycling time from the city ring road.

It will also enable the introduction of wider measures such as improved cycle parking and bike hubs, with the government funding topped up by the council to create an overall investment package worth £24.3million.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city, said: “I am delighted we will be able to deliver much-needed improvements to Birmingham's cycle network through this grant.

“Thanks to British success at the Olympics and Tour de France, interest in cycling has never been so strong. We fully recognise there is untapped potential for cycling to become an integral part of our transport network - for both commuting and leisure purposes – and want to exploit it.

“The government has clearly been impressed by the ambition of our bid, and it is a real coup to win this funding in the face of opposition from other cities who also put forward very strong proposals.”

The seven key elements of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution package are:

•    Main Corridors: Measures along eight of the main arterial routes into the city centre. These will generally be suitable for more experienced and confident cyclists who value fast direct routes with priority over side roads, and who are happy to mix with buses and other traffic in areas where separate cycle facilities cannot be provided within the space available.  Typical measures will include marked cycle facilities (formal or informal) on the carriageway, shared use footways, improved cycle routes through subways (particularly at the ring road), bus lanes (with cycle lanes to link disjointed sections of bus lane), and short diversions to avoid particularly complex junctions or other pinchpoints.
•    Parallel Routes: A network of generally quieter routes running parallel to the main corridors, suitable for less experienced commuter cyclists as well as family trips.
•   Green Routes: Improvements and extensions to the existing network of 'off-road' routes such as Rea Valley, Cole Valley and Tame Valley, particularly suitable for family and leisure cycling but also available for commuter cyclists.
•    Canal Network: Extensive improvements to existing towpaths to provide a surface more suitable for all-weather cycling, with improved access at certain locations, and signing and wayfinding measures.
•    Supporting Measures: Items such as cycle hire, parking and hubs, and wayfinding, to encourage and assist more people to cycle.
•    City Centre: A series of improvements within the Ring Road, including some contraflow cycle facilities and signing, to improve routes into and through the city centre.  These measures will also make use of existing pedestrianised areas within the city core and provide more clarity on their availability to cyclists.
•    Smarter Choices: A supporting package of revenue-funded promotional, marketing and educational measures to promote cycling to local residents and businesses.

The funding will also build on existing cycling projects such as Bike North Birmingham, a programme of cycle routes, activities and initiatives in the north of the city.

Cllr McKay added: “This isn't about being anti-car, it's about offering improved, cheaper and more sustainable options to residents, so there is genuine choice when considering how you get from A to B.

“I want to personally thank everyone that backed our bid online and in other ways during the campaign for these funds. The project we are now going to deliver will be a tribute to their efforts.”

To learn more about the bid, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr

Ends

Notes to editors

1.    On January 30, 2013, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, Norman Baker MP, announced £62million of investment in cycling, of which £30million was available through Cycle City Ambition Grants. The areas eligible to apply for this grant were cities that have taken part in Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the City Deal process. The grant aims to facilitate the development and implementation of infrastructure to comprehensively improve conditions for cycling.
2.    A list of the routes included within the bid is available on request.

For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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  1. Richard Smith says:

    If and when this all comes to fruition, it sounds like we may at last see Brum as a bike-friendly city. It is definitely time to capitalise on the current mini-boom in cycling.

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