Section of A38 Aston Expressway to become paved park for Car Free Day
A section of the iconic A38 Aston Expressway is to be converted into a paved park for International Car Free Day on September 22.
The initiative, which is a collaboration between Birmingham City Council, The Active Wellbeing Society and the Sport England-funded Active Communities Local Delivery Pilot Programme, will offer people the opportunity to come and enjoy approximately a mile of the road completely car-free for the first time ever.
The day, which runs from 10am to 4pm, will include fun activities and opportunities to play games, walk and cycle – or simply just soak up the atmosphere.
The A38 Aston Expressway has been chosen because of its iconic status – an approach taken by other major global cities during previous successful car-free days - enabling the event to showcase the city. The flat and smooth surface of the road means it is also accessible for those with mobility challenges.
Further details on the event, including the exact stretch of the road which will form the park and how organisations can get involved, will be announced at a later date.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “I am really excited to announce our plans for International Car Free Day, which will see people traffic replacing vehicle traffic on this stretch of iconic Birmingham road for the day.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to come together to see their city from a new perspective and at the same time improve their health and wellbeing.
“We want Birmingham to be a vibrant, thriving and forward thinking city and yet poor air quality is responsible for hundreds of early deaths in the city each year, with the biggest cause of air pollution being road transport.
“At the same time, we know that we need to encourage more people to be physically active, so this is about reimagining public space, experiencing the street from a new vantage point and showing people that they can get around the city by foot, bike or public transport.
“Car Free Day is an event that has been hugely successful in major cities around the world so now it is Birmingham’s turn to show what is possible when we rethink the way we travel around our city and the benefits this can bring.
“We will, of course, be working closely with organisations, residents and other stakeholders in the area to minimise disruption and ensure that suitable alternative diversionary routes are in place and that emergency services will still have the access they need if required.”