Dear Mayor: Retain the cycling and walking commissioner role

Filed under: General

Richard Parker
Mayor of the West Midlands

Sent by email

7 May 2024

Urgent: Retention of the Cycling and Walking Commissioner role

Dear Richard Parker,

Congratulations on winning the mayoral election.

Thank you for coming to the recent Safe Streets Now  national day of action on Yardley Wood Road. We hope this gave you an appreciation of the scale of concern about road safety in the region and the urgency of required change.

As you and your team will be aware, we have robustly lobbied for the retention of the Cycling and Walking Commissioner role. WMCA is one of five regional authorities (Greater London, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region) that has this role.

This role plays a critical part in ensuring there is collaboration across authorities, that we are making the most of additional funding opportunities, that projects meet design standards, and that the region maintains a good relationship with Active Travel England.

To achieve a region where “everyone who wants to can walk and cycle” by 2028 will require many rolling programmes of delivery, funded by CRSTS 1 and 2, and many other pipelines. The best way of ensuring this is happening in all corners of the region is by having someone accountable to both yourself and the public through the Commissioner role.

The role also provides an advocate for communities, including those bereaved or injured through road harm, to raise concerns and give feedback about active travel and road safety in a way that committees and officers do not.

We must be clear that we cannot afford for the Combined Authority’s active travel function to fall into the same inertia as Birmingham City Council, where the authority holds bold ambitions yet change remains slow at best.

We now urge you to commit to retaining the role of Cycling and Walking Commissioner.

As you decide on the future of the role, we strongly encourage you to seek advice from Active Travel England and other Combined Authority Mayors who have established such roles. We request that we are consulted on any proposed structure, and that transitional arrangements are put in place.

Campaigning for the retention of a specific role is unusual. We hope that the number of co-signatories underlines how important this is for active travel in the West Midlands.

Kind regards

Mat MacDonald, Chair, Better Streets for Birmingham

Martin Price, Policy Lead, Better Streets for Birmingham

David Cox, Chair, Pushbikes – The Birmingham Cycling Campaign

Denis Murphy, Secretary, Birmingham Living Streets group

Naomi Fisher, Founder, ROAM Kids

Tim Wall, Cycling UK Local Representative for Sutton Coldfield

Slow Food Birmingham

A38 Cycleway Users (X/@A38Cycleway)

Binley Cycleway Users (X/@BinleyCycleway)

Extinction Rebellion Birmingham

Jon Freer,

Shivaji Shiva, Cycling Works Birmingham

Lucy Harrison, RoadPeace West Midlands Coordinator

Stirchley Community Market

Friends of The Old Post Office, Stirchley

Farina Chaudhri, Chair, Friends of Reddings Lane Park

Huw Davies, Co-ordinator,  Better Streets for Moseley (North East)

Leo Murray, Co-Director of climate charity Possible

Shane Fitzpatrick, Friends of Bradford Street

Andy Robson, Secretary, British Cycling – West Midlands Region

Councillor Kerry Jenkins, Moseley ward, Birmingham City Council

Councillor David Barker, Brandwood and Kings Heath ward, Birmingham City Council

Councillor Izzy Knowles, Moseley ward, Birmingham City Council

Fabio Henriques, Biclas B12

Darren John, Founder, Save Station Street Campaign

Birgit Kehrer, ChangeKitchen CIC

Michael Thawe, Welsh House Farm Community Cycling For All

Councillor Martin Brooks OBE, Harborne ward, Birmingham City Council

John Cooper, Birmingham Climate Justice Coalition

Chris Crean, West Midlands Friends of the Earth Network

Zak Viney, Public Affairs and Campaigns Coordinator, Living Streets

Additional signatories since sending

Steve Cole, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs at RoSPA – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Paul Fielding, Deputy Chair, Colmore BID

Chris Davy, The BRAT Club (Birmingham Running Athletics and Triathlon)

Martin Price

I'm the Policy Lead for Better Streets for Birmingham - getting into the detail of committee documents, strategies and political manifestos.

I'm a design consultant interested in system change for transport. I currently work in digital government and used to work in the transport sector.

I live in Northfield and want to see a Birmingham where people have different choices instead of driving everywhere.