Thursday, February 29, 2024

Birmingham’s bold approach to road safety and transforming our streets

Photo courtesy Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council launched a consultation on a new Road Harm Reduction Strategy aimed at tackling the unacceptable number of road collisions in which people are killed and seriously injured.

The strategy renews and reinforces the council’s commitment to Vision Zero – the campaign to eliminate deaths and serious injury. Consultation runs from 8 January until 5 April 2024.

Placing people at its heart, it aims to reduce the speed and number of motor vehicles on local streets, instead creating safer spaces to walk and cycle.

Supporting the Birmingham Transport Plan, the Road Harm Reduction Strategy sets out the duties of the council and the role of partners such as the police and the West Midlands Combined Authority. The strategy also introduces the internationally recognised Healthy Streets approach.

Healthy Streets is about designing streets on a human scale, giving priority to people rather than private vehicles. This will see a shift to interventions across whole areas rather than smaller schemes in hotspot locations and a move away from traditional measures such as pedestrian guard railing and speed humps which get in the way of people walking and cycling and are no longer delivering reductions in collisions and injuries.

We aim to redesign streets to be more hospitable to people and to reduce the speed and volume of vehicles. This can include narrowing the parts of the road available to cars and adding features such as trees and seating.

Councillor Liz Clements, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We need to reclaim Birmingham’s streets and public spaces for people, not cars. The majority of travel time in the city is spent in these spaces, yet many of our local streets are congested, unhealthy and uninviting environments.

“For too long the needs of motorised vehicles have been prioritised over the needs of people and this must change. Our streets should be well designed, attractive and sustainable places to live.

“We have been doing a lot of work to change priorities and make roads and public spaces safer for communities and this strategy continues that work. I invite all road users to respond to our consultation on this important document.”

The council has recently consulted on plans to reduce speed limits on main roads from 40mph to 30mph and is now asking for views on the new Road Harm Reduction Strategy. Copies of the draft strategy and consultation questionnaire will also be available in Birmingham libraries.

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