Our response to the Selly Oak A38 cycleway extension proposal

Filed under: Consultation

As we say in our bio, Better Streets for Birmingham aims to tackle our city’s car dependency problem. The biggest key to breaking our culture of car dependency is to make it considerably safer and easier to cycle round the city, especially for those shorter journeys that we know a large percentage of are being made by car.

We firmly believe that we can only do that by being bold; if the choice is between creating a high-quality cycle lane and making driving less convenient, then the decision has to come down in favour of creating a high-quality cycle lane.

Sadly, we do not feel that the lanes and designs that have been produced so far have been bold enough, nor of a high enough quality.

The proposed design for the extension of the A38 protected cycleway along the Bristol Road through Selly Oak definitely could not be considered bold. Deference to cars appears to be baked into the design.

A bold design would free this vibrant shopping and entertainment centre from the through traffic that should instead be on its recently built bypass; one which would in turn benefit businesses, pedestrians, public transport users, and cyclists.

This is not that design.

Our main objections to this proposal:

The scheme does nothing to improve the Bristol Road as a destination for shoppers and hospitality visitors.

The scheme does nothing to improve the speed and reliability of the major bus routes on Bristol Road (the 61 & 63), which regularly suffers from delays due to the levels of on-street parking causing severe traffic congestion.

We strongly urge this design is reworked, to ensure we do not waste a crucial opportunity for significant improvements. We need a new bold vision proposed for the centre of Selly Oak, one that positively encourages and facilitates walking and cycling, one that enhances Bristol Road as a shopping and hospitality destination. This is especially important given the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency.’

It is not bold enough.

A bold design would put a bus gate on the junction between the Bristol Road and the A38, close the exit of the Esso garage, remove all on-street parking, and put a protected cycle lane the full length of Selly Oak High Street.

A bold design would create an LTN on the south side of Bristol Road.

Together, these would massively reduce the traffic on Bristol Road, and create a safer, healthier, and more enjoyable environment for all.

We also recommend reading the response to this proposal by Push Bikes. Like them, we strongly urge you to respond to the consultation, even if it is just to say that you support the views of Better Streets for Birmingham and Push Bikes.

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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.