Review of Emergency Transport Measures

Photo: Mark Haddleton

On November 16 November, Birmingham City Council launched an official review of the various emergency transport measures that were brought in as the city emerged from the first national lockdown.

As part of Birmingham’s emergency response to Covid-19, the City Council has delivered £1.6 million of pop-up temporary transport schemes since June.

They have included new pop-up cycle lanes, pavement widening to allow social distancing in local centres and the introduction of modal filters* to create low traffic neighbourhoods. The schemes are part of a wider package of active travel measures developed with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and other councils across the West Midlands region. The Council will assess their impact and effectiveness, and decide whether they should be made permanent, modified, or removed in future.

This will include technical reviews and audits alongside monitoring of data from a range of sources. There will also be opportunities for people to have their say on this through the Commonplace digital engagement platform and via a formal consultation through the Birmingham Be Heard website.
The Council is encouraging residents to feedback on how the measures are working in their neighbourhoods, to allow for further changes and modifications to be made in future. The review will take place over the next three months – closing on Friday 12 February 2021.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “Over the past four months we have delivered a huge tranche of emergency transport measures to support walking, cycling, public transport and social distancing across the city.
“We have already had reports of quieter streets with better air quality and parents finding that it is safer and more pleasant to walk, scoot or cycle with their children to school. I want us to do everything we can to support this trend and ensure that walking and cycling continues to be supported – particularly as we enter another national lockdown.

“This review provides us with an opportunity to analyse feedback carefully and make the necessary changes to ensure these schemes benefit local communities.

The schemes were bought forward for delivery as part of Birmingham’s Emergency Transport Plan, published in May following the announcement from the Secretary of State for Transport that a £2 billion package was being made available to support active travel.

Birmingham City Council was allocated £1 million from the first tranche of the Department of Transport’s (DfT) £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund, with match-funding bringing the total to £1.6 million.

The Council is currently waiting on news from the Department for Transport about the second tranche of funding. The funding will be used to develop further schemes, improve, and amend existing measures, and make some of the initial measures more permanent.

The Emergency Transport Plan prioritises and accelerates some of the measures that were outlined in the draft Birmingham Transport Plan consulted on earlier this year. Proposals are organised around the same four “big moves”:

  1. Reallocating road space – to support the creation of safe space for walking, cycling and social distancing while maintaining public transport provision.
  2. Transforming the city centre – through the creation of walking and cycling routes alongside public transport services and limited access for private cars.
  3. 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, creating stronger communities.
  4. Managing demand through parking measures – where land and space currently occupied by car parking is repurposed for walking, cycling and social distancing.
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