Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, blogs on the success of the Top Cycle Location project, as the first phase of the scheme is completed…
Much has said and written about the Birmingham Cycle Revolution scheme since the city council landed its first grant from central government in 2013.
Those that are aware of the scheme would probably say they were aware of the work we have done to upgrade canal towpaths, routes through parks or the start of the Big Birmingham Bikes initiative – through which we have given away thousands of bikes to people living in the more deprived areas of the city.
However, one of the less high-profile successes has been the Top Cycle Location programme, developing supporting infrastructure to make bikes a more attractive transport option for citizens.
TCL enables employers, education sites and major trip generators in Birmingham to become accredited as a bronze, silver or gold ‘Top Cycling Location’.
Under the scheme, employers are visited by experienced officers to look at everything from bike training, basic cycle maintenance and other themed activities such as led rides to local infrastructure, access and on-site facilities such as parking, signage, showers and lockers.
The officer and the company representative agree a plan of action containing recommendations for both the organisation and the council to implement, documented in a written report.
Both sides can then ensure that the other is fulfilling their obligations and undertaking agreed work with completion of the actions leading to Top Cycle Location status being awarded.
After TCL status is awarded, the council will continue to engage with employers to ensure that standards and actions are maintained.
Working in partnership with Centro and Sustrans, the council has so far awarded grants worth a grand total of £300,000 to 22 educational establishments, and 24 businesses.
To celebrate the success of this first tranche of the TCL project, an awards ceremony is to be held in early 2016. Invites will be going out to all current TCL establishments to receive awards and share their own experiences.
A further two phases of the scheme are planned in the coming months, with up to £576,000 allocated to build on progress to date by extending the focus beyond the initial BCR area of a 20-minute cycling time from the city centre.
Once again, all educational establishments and large businesses within Birmingham will be invited to apply – and I hope we receive a broad range of bids from organisations that share our vision of promoting and developing sustainable transport options in the city.
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