A34 Perry Barr Flyover: Calls the flyover to return for pedestrians

A34 Perry Barr Flyover: Calls flyover to return for pedestrians

A call has been made for a return of the Perry Barr flyover – but just for pedestrians.

The A34 Perry Barr flyover was removed earlier this year as part of controversial changes to the A34 Walsall Road/ A453 Aldridge Road junction and connecting roads.

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The ongoing works in Perry Barr are intended to “improve the way people travel in and around Perry Barr, including giving priority to public transport, walking and cycling”.

It comes as part of a £500m transformation of the area – with 5,000 new homes planned in the ward over the next 20 years.

But the removal of the 50-year-old flyover was heavily contested, with petitions objecting to the plans gaining 15,000 signatures in total.

The council’s decision was subject to an unsuccessful judicial review challenge from members of the A34 Safety Action Group last year.

Now, ward councillors for Perry Barr Cllr Jon Hunt and Cllr Morriam Jan (both Lid Dem) have responded to a council consultation on what should come next for Perry Barr – and called for a new flyover.

But this one would be for pedestrians only, they suggest – to tackle what they see as poor pedestrian provision with the new road arrangements.

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How would a pedestrianised Perry Barr Flyover operate?

In their response to the Perry Barr 2040 Masterplan consultation, the councillors wrote: “As we write, work is still very incomplete but physical inspection confirms that removal of the Perry Barr flyover has contributed little that is positive and that the flyover was never the visual problem.

“The public was right. There is a significant problem that to the north of the Perry Barr flyover, pedestrians will have to cross very close to the underpass, conflicting with large volumes of traffic using the A34/A453.

“Visually this area does not look promising, with limited design concepts adding to the problem. There is plenty of paving going in but not much sign of replacing the mini park and trees that sat to the east of the flyover.

“The paving over of the island has had limited effect, leaving gaping “scars” where the underpass runs to the north and south.

“We therefore propose replacing the flyover with a new pedestrian ‘flyover’ to join up movements and buildings in this development.”

How would the new Perry Barr Flyover look?

The councillors said the new flyover should be in the form of a “futuristic pedestrian footbridge”.

They said: “The footpath could run at a very shallow gradient from the bus interchange and then at a further shallow gradient towards Aldridge Road.

“There could be cafes etc. at this level with views to the east and north. We need something that shows real imagination to give life to this new centre.

“Combined with the reworked bus garage this will do the job. Otherwise it will continue to look like a series of traffic light interchanges with buildings alongside them and it will feel like that to pedestrians also.”

The A34 Perry Barr Flyover before demolition work

What is Birmingham City Council’s response?

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said the authority was not currently in a position to comment on individual calls being made as part of the consultation.

But they said: “We are grateful for the responses and feedback to the recent Perry Barr 2040 Masterplan consultation.

“All submissions are being reviewed and considered, and will be addressed in a consultation statement which will sit alongside the final version of the masterplan due to be presented to the council’s Cabinet for final approval before the end of this year.

“In terms of specific comments from the elected members on the merits of the A34 Perry Barr flyover removal, as has been stated on many occasions, it is part of a much wider highways improvements scheme that will make Perry Barr one of the most well-connected districts in the region and help encourage the use of public transport and more sustainable modes of travel such as walking and cycling.

“The wider improvements to infrastructure in the area meant that no change was no option.”

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