Opinions - Open letter in support of Kings Heath and Moseley Places for People and the Birmingham Transport Plan. Regarding Cabinet meeting on 17 January 2023

Dear Cabinet members,

We are writing to urge you to back the bold transformative plans for Places for People in Moseley and Kings Heath at the cabinet meeting on 17 January 2023.

In the 50s and 60s Herbert Manzoni and others changed the very fabric of this city by prioritising private motorcars above all other forms of travel. Walking, cycling, public transport, and all other uses for our streets were sacrificed as cars were enabled to fill every main road and side road. Even short journeys in our city, that could be walked or cycled, are now driven by thousands of people every day. The negative effects on our air, the safety of our children, our carbon emissions, our high streets and the liveability of our shared spaces are plain. I firmly believe you have a once in a generation opportunity to reverse this damage.

The Birmingham Cycle Revolution has introduced some excellent cycle tracks; but these only have limited use if people can’t safely reach them by bike. Improved bus and train services are an important part of the puzzle; but these won’t fulfil their potential if our side roads and junctions make it dangerous to walk to bus stops and stations. The Places for People schemes are the keystones for a cleaner, healthier, safer and more prosperous city.

This vital change is hard. Luckily when we look at diverse places like Waltham Forest, Paris, Copenhagen and many others, we can see politicians having a hugely positive impact on citizens’ lives (and increasing their electoral popularity) when they bravely introduce these types of improvements. The Birmingham Transport Plan demonstrates that the current administration will achieve the same benefits under your bold leadership.

We thank you, the ward Councillors and the Council Officers from Birmingham Connected and across the other relevant departments, for making our city better now and in the future.

Yours faithfully

Jim Smithson

Committee member

Better Streets for Birmingham

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.