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GBSLEP funding makes new A34 blue cycle route possible

The first of two fully segregated cycle routes in Birmingham has now opened for use by cyclists.

It provides a 4.5km two-way segregated cycle route along the A34 between the city centre and Heathfield Road, Birchfield. The route is highly visible with a blue aggregate surface used to make it stand out to all road users.

The project, part of Birmingham City Council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution, has been funded through a combination of the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Local Growth Fund.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) is a partnership of businesses, the public sector and education. It aims to drive sustainable economic growth across the city-region, creating jobs and improving quality of life. GBSLEP has awarded the cycle revolution project with £6 million of Local Growth Funding, supporting the project’s aim to reduce congestion and create a safer, cleaner and greener way to travel.

It provides a 4.5km two-way segregated cycle route between the city centre and Heathfield Road, Birchfield. The route is highly visible with a blue aggregate surface used to make it stand out to all road users.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said:

The completion of the A34 cycle route is a key milestone in the development of cycle infrastructure in Birmingham. It will provide the first of two almost completely segregated cycle routes in to the city centre using road space that has been reallocated from motor vehicles, and is suitable for use by commuters, leisure cyclists and families alike.

Cycling is a great way to get to work or school, go to the shops, visit friends or for leisure trips – and I speak from personal experience, having learnt to cycle myself last year.

Crucially, it is also an environmentally friendly way to travel and I hope that the introduction of this cycle route will encourage more people to leave the car at home and get on their bikes, which in turn will help reduce congestion and improve the air we breathe.

Driver awareness is particularly important and motorists are being advised of the need to heed the road markings which give cyclists priority over motorists.

West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team is supporting the city council by ensuring motorists comply with the layout of this new cycle infrastructure. They have already been patrolling the route before it opened, handing out driver awareness leaflets to motorists and advising them of the changes to some of the priorities on the route, and will continue to do so now the route is open. Motorists caught ignoring the new cycle route and road markings can be prosecuted.

PC Mark Hodson of West Midlands Police, Road Harm Reduction Team, said:

We will be patrolling the new cycle routes on police bicycles to ensure that the infrastructure is being used in a lawful manner by all road users. When we witness any misuse or offences then we will deal with this through our usual combination of education and enforcement.

The A34 segregated cycle route is just one element of a much bigger programme of upgraded and new infrastructure delivered across the city over the last five years as part of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution programme. This includes more than 50km of canal towpaths improved with an all-weather cycling surface and more than 25km of new or upgraded green routes through parks and open spaces.

Another segregated cycle route along the A38 Bristol Road is due to be completed next month, and an event to celebrate all the cycling infrastructure delivered through Birmingham Cycle Revolution is being planned for June.

A series of engagement events and activities to promote cycle infrastructure delivered as part of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution programme is planned for this summer. For more information visit: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cycling.