People have taken to the social media and chat groups to giving their reactions to the city council’s plans to restrict motor traffic through Birmingham city centre.
The Birmingham City Centre Segment plan, which is expected to be approved at a cabinet meeting next week, is intended to bring about a reduction in private car use to improve the city’s air pollution levels – thought to be responsible for 900 deaths per year – and help its climate impact.
Birmingham City Cabinet is set to approve plans to divide the city centre into seven Birmingham City Centre segments - with drivers unable to pass between on to the other without returning to the ring road (A4540 Middleway) - and priority given within the city centre to public transport, cycling and walking.
Longer term ideas put forward in draft documents outline a scheme for the A38 Queensway to be closed to traffic, which would then be diverted onto the ring road so that the city centre could have more green spaces - although the city’s transport chief has said that ‘there are no plans at this stage to close the A38 tunnels’.
Readers have been reacting to the news on Reddit and Twitter. Some have concerns that public transport isn’t suitable to compensate for the restrictions on cars, others are please to see more access for cyclists.
Here’s what you said about the Birmingham City Council transport plans to restrict cars in the city centre
One Reddit user wrote: “The intentions are great, IF the council can implement actual, viable alternatives to get into town. This means accessible, affordable, punctual, clean transport.”
Residents have also expressed concerns about issues around public transport and traffic congestion in regards to the plans.
Another Reddit user wrote: “This will ruffle a lot of feathers and ideally we would have had a stronger public transport network in place before it happened but I think it’s truly necessary. The worst parts of the city centre are the ones with giant roads running through them full of choking traffic. Central Birmingham should be a place in its own right not a thoroughfare for the suburbs.”
A separate Reddit contributer said: “None of these ideas are reducing traffic, they’re just shifting it from the city centre to residential areas around the ring road.
“Things that are proven to reduce traffic are offering alternatives like reliable and affordable public transport, and safe cycle routes.”
Posting on Twitter, David O’Hagan wrote: “The insanity in permanently closing the A38 Queensway Tunnels in Birmingham can’t be overstated. This is the most significant north/south route. Suggesting the Middle Ring Rd as an alternative doesn’t remotely stack up, it is highly congested already.”
‘It will seriously affect the economy of the city’
Residents also expressed their concerns about the plans on Facebook.
Wendy Frost believes the plans could affect key workers.
She said: “Terrible idea. The traffic will just be pushed to residential areas so it won’t reduce the congestion or pollution. Some people need their cars to get around - carer’s, midwives, medical staff etc.
“Celebrating it for only cyclists is making the city only accessible to the physically able - what about older people or those who need their car to transport things for work? What about the disabled? They are driving everyone out of the city. What about deliveries for the businesses? That will be a nightmare for them and increase costs. It will seriously affect the economy of the city.”
Jainey Allison posted: “Ridiculous - there’s hardly any shops in town now compared to The Fort and Merry Hill..businesses will go under and it will be a ghost town.”
Jane Sutherland wrote on Facebook: “Surely if the cars don’t go into the centre they will be forced out to more residential areas thus making more people exposed to pollution in their homes.”
Chris Jones wrote: “For it to work first we would need to build another ring road. The current one is a car park.
“I am retired so don’t commute, but yesterday in rush hour I drove from Handsworth wood to Solihull which took 10 minutes longer than it takes on my push bike and driving back last night took 40 minutes longer, so if the council create enough congestion it may move people to different forms of transport. As soon as congestion eases every one will be back in their cars.”
Other people had stronger concerns about the proposals.
One point of view was: “It’s a ridiculous idea that will see the councillors lose their seats.
“So those people who want to get a car full of suitcases to New Street, how do they do that from North Birmingham?
“How about the disabled? Blind? Vulnerable? How about the Theatre? Hippodrome?”
“How about ‘John’ or ‘Mohamed’, who are specialist brass polishers who work within the city ring, but live in Selly Oak?
“What about the person who uses the A38 to care for their parents?
“Should they all now sit in traffic on the heaving ring road? Polluting those areas which more people live along?”
Several cyclists took to Twitter to support the plans which gives priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport on city centre roads.
witter user Irene McAleese wrote: “Very exciting news! UK’s second largest city’s transformative transport plan gives priority to cycling #Birmingham.”
Philip Loy tweeted: “Great to hear the A38 might be downgraded in Birmingham city centre as part of LTN/ zoning. Always though historically significant St Chad’s should be in a better setting than a humongous traffic junction, as just one benefit.”