This title is drawn from the recent press release (here) from Birmingham City Council outlining a new survey and reporting system to document peoples views on cycling in the city and progress in encouraging more of us to cycle on a biennial basis. It wants to emulate an approach put in place in Copenhagen – link here.
It is rather overstating the case and ambition of Birmingham in that whilst approximately 40% of all journeys in Copenhagen are by bike and they want to up that to 50% by 2015 – the target under Birmingham’s plans is only 10% of all journeys by 2033. Hardly as is quoted in the press release ‘ambitious plans to match the best in Europe’. However despite the over selling of the ambition one must welcome the plans being put in place – largely paid for by Central Government grant of £17m – to invest in cycling. These are detailed in the Cycling Ambition bid – link here and relate to investment in;
- Improving cycling conditions on popular routes into the city centre;
- Providing quiet cycling routes and 20mph areas within residential areas to make it easier and safer for children and adults to cycle to local schools, shops and jobs;
- Upgrading towpaths on canals to provide pleasant off-road cycle paths;
- Developing new cycling “green routes” through parks and green areas for leisure cyclists, families and commuters;
- Providing new secure cycle parking hubs; and
- Developing cycle loan and hire schemes to make it easier for people to get started.
They will be consulting on aspects of this plans from May 2o14 and investment will take place in 2014 and 2015. Apparently works on canal towpath routes have already started, with the off-road green routes starting soon. All good news – but it seems to me that progress on these works and regular updates are needed – so in addition to a two year review the Council should engage through social and other media to tell the story of the investments happening – as and when they happen and to build confidence in Birmingham in cycling.
Birmingham must also take a holistic approach and look at its other investments; most notably its road junction widening schemes to make sure they actually give priority access to the extra space provided to cycles and public transport.
With a bit more effort and commitment – I may get my bike out. It must be possible – with real ambition to get the rate up to 10% well before 2033.