In keeping with the Quaker testimony to sustainability, Bournville, Cotteridge and Selly Oak meetings met to discuss the impact of Birmingham City Council’s Emergency Transport Plans on surrounding communities. Shivaji Shiva reflects on the issues raised.
A Birmingham City Council announcement includes details of planned changes in Bournville, Kings Heath, Lozells and other areas of the city.
A package of further information produced to accompany the meeting can be found below.
Birmingham’s Emergency Transport Plans – What is happening and why does it matter?
As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic it is more important than ever that we create space for people to walk and cycle safely around our area – we need opportunities to move around while maintaining social distancing rules. Many people have enjoyed walking and cycling for exercise during the lockdown without having to worry about streets dominated by motorised traffic. As lockdown is eased, there is a risk that we see even more cars on the road as people avoid trains and buses because of safety concerns.
The government recognises these issues and has directed local authorities to create ‘pop up’ cycleways and other measures to encourage cycling and walking. Authorities have been asked to do this urgently to make the most of a “once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities”. Some funding has since been announced. Birmingham City Council has won an initial allocation of around £1,000,000 and has identified 14 initial schemes across the city. A second phase is likely to see considerably more spent.
The first phase will see one or two small schemes in Bournville largely to raise awareness of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood approach and how it can help make neighbourhoods nicer for local people to get around whether walking, cycling or driving. This first phase may include the change we discussed, which Selly Oak Road residents have petitioned for to
The second phase is likely to include more funds to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Bournville. A group of local residents (including members/attenders of Cotteridge and Bournville meetings) has been working to encourage the Council to do this. This is a brilliant opportunity to improve the local area and it would be great to have support from local Friends.
So what can you do?
- If you live in or around Bournville, please complete the survey. (If you prefer to answer the three questions on paper, you can hand responses in to the BVT offices on Bournville Lane)
- Find out more about Our Bournville on Facebook or Twitter
- Help us spread the word: share social media posts/tweets, talk to people who do not use social media – and talk to local councillors.
For those who would like to know more, these links may help:
- A short article in which I outline the legal/policy position
- What Birmingham City Council is doing.
- A handy infographic summarising the plan
- An introduction to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
- A video showing the enormously successful Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Waltham Forest.
- Finally, a short (19 minute) podcast in which I discuss the background to these changes informally with a colleague.