Creating better environments for communities
Plans to create a better environment for walking, cycling and wheeling by reducing through traffic in Kings Heath and Moseley are set to be approved by Cabinet.
The Places for People scheme is part of the Council’s flagship proposal, set out in the Birmingham Transport Plan, aimed at reducing traffic in residential communities. This opens up local areas for people walking and cycling, makes areas safer, especially for children and older people, and can improve areas as people start to ditch the car in favour of active travel modes for local journeys.
An experimental first phase of the scheme was introduced in 2020 in response to local concerns, and some changes to the scheme have already been made in response to local feedback. A dedicated Kings Heath and Moseley Advisory Group was established in May 2021 as part of the response to local issues and continues to steer the development of the project.
Thanks to further funding made available from central Government for Active Travel, a more extensive scheme was developed, incorporating and expanding the existing measures whilst continuing to address local concerns about the scheme’s impacts.
Revised plans were published in March last year, responding to the key issues raised in the ongoing consultation and engagement that has been taking place locally since 2020 in that they:
- Minimised the number of modal filters
- Made greater use of one-way systems
- Ensured multiple access points to each area
- Gave consideration to the impacts across a wider area and included measures to manage traffic flow on boundary roads as well as within the scheme area
The revised scheme also includes an extension to the existing 20mph area and more traffic calming measures. Further local engagement in Autumn 2022 gathered further comments which will be reflected in the detailed design for the scheme which will be produced subject to Cabinet approving that the scheme should proceed.
Now, following extensive engagement, the outline business case for the second phase of the Kings Heath and Moseley Places for People scheme sets out the next steps in the process.
The schemes are part of the council's future vision in the Birmingham Transport Plan - a sustainable, green, inclusive, go-anywhere network, with cars no longer dominating street life around homes and schools and making fundamental changes to the way people and goods move around the city.
Active travel - walking and cycling - will become the first choice for people making short journeys such as the school run and this will help create safe and healthy streets which is particularly important to children and young people and outdoor life.
For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of the transport system.
The Places for People Programme in this area is being developed in addition to a number of other projects and programmes which will expand the travel options available to communities in this part of the city over the coming years. The council is already working with local primary schools on the introduction of Car Free School Streets, rail stations on the Camp Hill Line are set to reopen in Winter 2023 and proposals to provide improvements to bus services on the A435 are being developed for delivery in 2024. These alongside other active travel schemes and improvements in the local centres will transform the public transport offer and create a much better environment for walking and cycling.
Cllr Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport, said: “We know from speaking to residents that congestion is a real issue for communities and neighbourhoods; they don’t want their roads used as rat runs, they want them to be safe places to walk, cycle and play.
“We have done a huge amount of consultation since the start of the initial scheme and I know there have been concerns, which is why the project board was set up and we have continued to engage with residents, businesses and schools.
“As a city and as a country we need to move away from designing areas around cars and instead think about creating healthy, safe and better-connected neighbourhoods.”
If approved the plans will see the following introduced and we will keep residents and businesses informed as to the next steps:
• Modal filters (see note) and one-way streets at various locations across the area
• A bus gate, on Addison Road
• Traffic calming along Billesley Lane
• All roads within the area, including boundary roads, to have a 20mph speed limit
Further localised consultation will be carried out on the bus gate, traffic calming and 20mph speed limit and there will be statutory consultation carried out later in 2023 on any Traffic Regulation Orders required to implement the schemes.
One of the main ways to discourage through traffic is to use a ‘modal filter’ which prevents motorised vehicles from driving through a section of road but still allows people to pass through on foot or by bike. This is done by placing barriers such as bollards, planters or gates at strategic points around the neighbourhood. This still allows for visitors and deliveries but prevents through traffic.