Open Letter about the A47 pop-up cycle lane removal

Filed under: Campaign

Last week, we recently attended a very enjoyable LCWIP workshop to help shape our city’s future cycling network. It was fantastic to see the future network map develop.

This week, we have been extremely disappointed to learn that the A47 pop-up cycle lane has been closed and is being demolished without any consultation.

In these cash-strapped times, when we are continually told that we do not have the finances to afford the active travel infrastructure this city so desperately needs, we question the use of our limited funding on removing existing infrastructure. It seems even more egregious, given the infrastructure served an area of relative deprivation, that we should remove it during a cost of living crisis.

Furthermore, to remove infrastructure funded from a previous Active Travel Fund (ATF) tranche seems remarkably short-sighted. We are concerned that this will negatively impact Birmingham’s schemes in future tranches, including ATF4. The Council has created a record of delivering and subsequently dismantling ATF schemes, whereas other local authorities in the region have delivered and kept quality infrastructure.

We find it hard to understand why this decision has been taken now, in the run up to the publishing of the Birmingham Transport Plan delivery plan. It is also difficult to see how this decision delivers on the Route to Zero aspiration.

We know that we are not able to build all the active travel infrastructure we require in one go. We therefore have to slowly build the network out. This will result in sections that are initially underused, which was one of the reasons given for the dismantling. As the sections are expanded and joined to other parts of the network, as was seen during the trip to the continent with Adam Tranter, their usage will increase. Instead of removing, we ought to be iterating cycling infrastructure.

We sincerely hope that this decision will be reversed. Failing that, we hope that the wide ranging disappointment will be remembered to ensure that we don’t lose more valuable safe cycling infrastructure again.

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Better Streets for Birmingham

Better Streets for Birmingham is a community group which campaigns for changes to our travel and planning infrastructure to improve the sustainability, efficiency and safety of our streets. We believe that through connecting Birmingham to reduce car dependency, we will make it a more pleasant place to work, live and play.