Birmingham reacts as council lays out plans to compete for £10 million of cycle funding
Department for Transport running £30 million competition for cities to win Cycle City Ambition grants
Birmingham has made public its plans for what it would spend £10 million of cycle infrastructure funding on, if it wins a competition for national funding.
Reactions were sought at a meeting of 100 cyclists, some of whom later published their thoughts on the Birmingham Cyclist website.
One commenter said: "The vehicular cycling lobby are stuck in their ways, afraid of change & progression..... similar to the council."
A blogger, Tim Beasley, who attended, said: "There is no doubt that the council have worked hard on this in the short time available, but the detail of exactly what infrastructure will be put in place was sketchy and no indication that road space will be taken from motor vehicles.
"In fact, although the council’s plans have cross party support there was some indication that if, as someone suggested, you start reducing major A roads to one lane for motor vehicles and another lane for cyclists, there would be no chance of that cross party support continuing."
He added: "There was a lot said about “parallel routes” which are to be quieter routes running on existing roads parallel to existing arterial routes. What was not clear about these “quiet routes” is whether this “quietness” will be secured by a 20mph speed limit. Because these “quiet routes” are still going to be open to cars. So no segregation, its still integration."
And finished with a final nod towards the fact that less than 1.5 per cent of people in the city, traditionally steeped in the motor industry, use a bike to commute, whereas Manchester and Nottingham have twice that number, and Bristol has five times as many.
"I do feel in a way that the reflective jacket wearing forum attendees are not necessarily the right people to ask how to improve infrastructure to get more people cycling. They are already confident and assertive cyclists. They can certainly tell the council where they feel the road system needs improving but the fact that they are cycling in Birmingham just proves what a special breed they are.
"I wonder if the real target of this consultation should be the families who own bikes which they strap to the back of their people carriers on a Sunday in order to drive out of town to do some riding in country parks. We need to ask them why they do not cycle to work or allow their kids to cycle to school."
Three cities are set to benefit from £30 million of “Cycle City Ambition” funding announced by transport minister Norman Baker in January - but there are eight cities competing: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Birmingham is not currently top of the league table, as its numbers of regular cyclists has not risen in recent years, but is faring better than Nottingham, where numbers have dropped.
The council has developed a 20 year plan for spending the money, including segregated cycle lanes on the busiest roads, 20mph zones and their own cycle hire scheme similar to London's. The initial £10 million would have to be spent within two years, then the council would have to secure further funding to take the project on.
The plans were initially shown to a group of 100 cyclists, according to the Birmingham Post, and in two weeks' time will be submitted to the Department for Transport.
Birmingham City Council has set up a web pate where you can register your support for Birmingham's Cycling Revolution at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr