12 West Midlands cycling and walking schemes get £17m boost to help cut car journeys

The schemes include low traffic neighbourhoods, protected cycle ways, school streets and safer crossings

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The government has awarded Transport for West Midlands ((TfWM) £17m to boost active travel and make it safer for people to cycle and walk.

The money is being used to fund 12 schemes across the region including Selly Oak, Digbeth, Wednesbury and Solihull.

This is the third allocation of Active Travel Fund money awarded to the region by the Department for Transport since 2020.

Earlier waves of active travel investment have delivered a wide range of projects including the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, which has seen over 210,000 journeys in its first year.

Full details of the schemes have not yet been identified by the local councils, but they include low traffic neighbourhoods in Birmingham - also called Places for People - which have proved controversial in some parts of the city, including Kings Heath where residents and businesses are divided about its effectiveness.

The schemes being boosted include the school streets where traffic is restricted outside school drop-off and pick-up times. These schemes have won much praise across Birmingham.

The 12 schemes being boosted will form part of TfWM’s Starley Network which is a system of cycling and walking trails covering 500 miles of connected routes across the region including: cycle routes and towpaths, walking routes and zones.

Cycle routes in the West MidlandsCycle routes in the West Midlands
Cycle routes in the West Midlands

What are the 12 schemes being boosted?

Full list of schemes included in this funding and details released so far are:

  • Birmingham East Side (BES) – Bradford Street
  • Birmingham: A38 - Selly Oak Local Centre

These include cycle routes in Selly Oak as part of an extension of the existing A38 blue route, which will also  improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians around the shopping district.

  • Black Country: Wednesbury Brierley Hill Extension (WBHE) - local connections for cycling and walking
  • Coventry: Binley Road, Coventry University to University Hospital
  • Birmingham - Places for People - low traffic neighbourhoods
  • Wolverhampton: A454
  • Wolverhampton: Wednesfield Road – A4124
  • Solihull: Walking Improvements (various locations, information not yet available)
  • Coventry: Earlsdon Active Travel Scheme
  • Coventry: Spon End Active Travel Scheme
  • Regional Contraflow Cycling Project. Please note Safe cycleways are currently being delivered, including on Binley Road in Coventry and along the A457 corridor from Birmingham City Centre to Smethwick and free cycle racks for businesses which have supported more people to cycle to work.
  • Regional School Streets Programme

Will there be further investment for walking and cycling routes in the West Midlands?

TfWM said that this investment will be further increased through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) which includes a number of cycling and walking schemes as part of a five-year transport investment programme. In total, £254m has been allocated to schemes in CRSTS that enable active travel.

Low Traffic Neighbourhood Low Traffic Neighbourhood
Low Traffic Neighbourhood

What has West Midlands Combined Authority said about the £17m investment?

The West Midlands has bold ambitions to increase journeys taken by cycling, walking or wheeling in order to help ease congestion, clean up our air and improve the region’s health. WMCA said the funding award shows the Government’s confidence in the region to deliver measures that will support its residents to take more journeys by active travel.

TfWM will be working closely on the new DfT department, Active Travel England and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner to ensure the schemes are LTN 1/20 compliant and are of the highest quality to ensure safety, inclusivity and accessibility to all.

Adam Tranter, West Midlands cycling & walking commissioner, said: “We know that we need to make it safer for people walking and cycling in order to help reduce reliance on cars for short journeys. This funding announcement marks yet another critical step forward in moving everyday short journeys onto foot or bike, marking clear intent in the West Midlands to ensure active travel becomes the new norm of travel in our towns and cities.

"As the cycling and walking commissioner for the region, I aim to work with local partners to ensure the infrastructure that is delivered as a result of this funding is high quality and can be enjoyed by anyone. By giving people genuine choice in how they choose to travel, we hope to create a domino effect that helps improve our air quality, boosts people’s mental and physical health and aids our #WM2041 target for a net-zero carbon region.”

West Midlands mayor Andy StreetWest Midlands mayor Andy Street
West Midlands mayor Andy Street

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “This new grant is testament to the ambition we’ve shown to Government for Active Travel. This extra cash for cycling and walking builds on the £254m already awarded to schemes that enable Active Travel as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS).”

“Our investment in Active Travel so far has already resulted in new safe cycle routes as well as the popular West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, but there is more to do. The way we move in our towns and cities is changing and this new money will help to make it easier for people to switch their journeys to more active modes.”

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “About four in ten car journeys are under two miles so getting more people to swap their car for a bike or a walk can make a huge difference to the traffic gridlock on our streets – improving safety and air quality.

“That is why we are committed to continuing to increase our investment in cycling, walking and of course public transport over the next few years.”

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