Cycling: Birmingham has the highest demand for more investment among 7 cities

The Birmingham Vintage Ride 2013. Picture by Jonathan Melhuish / Flickr

The Birmingham Vintage Ride 2013. Picture by Jonathan Melhuish / Flickr

Residents of Birmingham are up for an increase in spending for cycling in Birmingham, according to a new report released by Sustrans. In fact, the demand is higher in Birmingham than in any other major city in the UK outside London, while its inhabitants are also the least satisfied with the current cycling opportunities.

The report reveals that 81% of residents would like to see more money invested in cycling, and 73% think Birmingham would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled. These figures are higher in Birmingham than in other cities.

Residents of Birmingham are also the least likely to think that cycling safety is good, agreeing at 22% only, compared to 27-40% elsewhere.

Background image by Brian Clift / Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, a mere 16% of the surveyed population lives within 125 meters of a cycle lane, by far the lowest figure.

As a result, only 3% of residents in Birmingham usually travel to and from work by bicycle, while this proportion goes from 5 to 10% in other cities.

The other surveyed areas consist of Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle. The survey by Sustrans is part of a partnership with local governments, including the Birmingham City Council.

Residents of Birmingham are also in line with other cities when it comes to other specific aspects. 65% of them evaluate that protected roadside cycle lanes would help them in riding their bike more often. And it does not matter whether building more of them would reduce the space for other road traffic: 79% would support the idea despite the trade-off.

Birmingham will be able to pedal more than ever

Birmingham seems ripe for a more extended cycle network, as 73% of Brummies agree that the city would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled. This figure is the highest among the seven surveyed cities.

The City Council declined to comment directly as to why Birmingham is currently faring worse than other cities in most aspects.

Fortunately, a “Cycle Revolution” has been underway since 2013 and will not stop until 2033. The City Council will soon start the construction of new segregated two-way cycle routes along the A38 and the A34. The former will link the University of Birmingham and Selly Oak with the city centre, while the latter one will be joining Perry Barr with the city centre and linking to Newtown Wellbeing Centre.

Artist’s impression showing how the new A34 cycle route will look at Lozells Road. Courtesy of the Birmingham City Council.

Artist’s impression showing how the new A34 cycle route will look at Lozells Road. Courtesy of the Birmingham City Council.

 

Artist’s impression showing how the new A34 cycle route will look at Rodway Close. Courtesy of the Birmingham City Council.

Artist’s impression showing how the new A34 cycle route will look at Rodway Close. Courtesy of the Birmingham City Council.

In both cases, the Council hopes to start building the route by January 2018 and finish it in Summer 2018. Each new path will add at least 4 km to the existing network.

The biggest cycling initiative Bham has ever known

The City Council has ambitions for increased cycling until 2033:

“With the ‘Birmingham Cycle Revolution’, we are creating a future that will enable five per cent of all trips in the city to be made by bike by 2023 and 10 per cent by 2033.”

“And as Europe’s youngest city, by population, we are certainly up for that,” says Councillor Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads in the Bike Life report for Birmingham.

Residents can expect to hear about further cycling projects: “We have not yet announced details of schemes beyond the works on the A34 and A38 above. Details of future schemes (including their design and locations) will be announced in due course,” the City Council Press Office told the Eastside.

“Birmingham Cycle Revolution is the biggest cycling initiative in the history of the city with £57.9 million in funding already secured […].”

The council will be lobbying for further investment in cycling infrastructure, not just in Birmingham, but across the whole of the West Midlands Combined Authority, alongside Transport for West Midlands.”

The full national survey can be found here, while the Birmingham report can be downloaded here.

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