COMMUTERS travelling into Birmingham city centre by car will be facing changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The City Council has launched an Emergency Transport Plan, outlining plans for a wide range of measures to support walking, cycling and public transport throughout the city.
It sets out the short, medium and longer-term actions Birmingham can take to enable a low carbon, clean air recovery from Covid-19.
The move follows the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport of a £2 billion package to support active travel.
The plan prioritises and accelerates four ‘big moves’ already highlight by the City Council. These are:
Re-allocating road space – to support a safe space for walking, cycling and social distancing while maintaining public transport provision.
Transforming the city centre – through the creation of walking and cycling routes alongside public transport services and limited access for private cars.
Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods – so that walking and cycling is the way most people get around their local area most of the time and these become places where people are put first.
Managing demand through parking measures – where land and space currently occupied by car parking is repurposed for walking, cycling and social distancing.
New proposals announced to help achieve these big moves include:
Assessing the key route network and other roads to identify where there are opportunities to convert space to support walking, cycling or public transport.
Reallocating road space for cycle lanes, the first of which will link the city centre to City Hospital via the Jewellery Quarter.
Accelerating roll-out of the traffic cells initiative in the city centre and delivery of a street-space rationalisation programme across key areas.
Introducing active, low traffic neighbourhoods to Birmingham, with at least two areas identified to pilot this approach by the end of the month.
Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, said: “During the lockdown period, road traffic across Birmingham has reduced by 60 per cent over several weeks. This has created a quieter, safer environment for walking and cycling with much improved air quality.
“The Emergency Birmingham Transport Plan is a reset for how we move around the city and is the start of our work to ensure we come out of the lockdown with the ability to travel safely, healthily and sustainably.”