At a 7:30 am breakfast in the Town Hall on Thursday 7 November, some 300 invited people (including myself) were told of the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan – BMAP – and were able to ask questions of key Councillors and their contracted researchers.
The word Mobility has been used to refer to an effective transport system for the population travelling both within the city and connecting with the rest of the region.
This is a 20 year vision of transport development in Birmingham providing much improved intra-city and outward movement for people using a variety of transport methods – some new ones will run alongside buses and the metro whilst cycling and walking will be well supported.
Council Leader Cllr Sir Albert Bore opened the meeting giving an overview of the why’s and wherefore’s of the proposals in the plan then handed over to Simon Statham of WSP Group, the consultant researchers, who gave an overview of the analysis and proposals within a BMAP Green Paper.
During this address and in the BMAP Green Paper itself, the views of the Council’s partners and stakeholders are sought for what was called a consultation. My understanding is that the meaning of stakeholders is all those who live in Birmingham plus companies and other organisations, ie any one who travels within and to the city.
Yet nowhere in the Green Paper or on Council websites is the means of recording our views given and neither is the end date of the consultation! So, I have requested our councillors to clarify the position on communication and timescale for us and I’ll report back if and when I receive an answer.
After a very cursory read of the report there are a few tempting and attractive suggestions but there are also some which might be found unacceptable by many people.
The Potentially Good Ideas:
Proposed enhancements including extending bus lanes, improving waiting areas and creating a series of interchanges around the outer and middle ring roads. These would link train and tram services, cycle routes and park and ride facilities. This is to make it as easy as possible for people to use any mix of transport necessary to get them to where they have to go.
A network of electric buses would criss-cross the city – a 200-mile network of 11 Sprint rapid-transit lines.
An integrated Oyster Card style fare system would be created as exampled in London.
Electric-conductive charging points in bus laybys – I assume this overcomes the currently restricted range of such vehicles.
Encouragement for walking and cycling by devoted routes.
Return of passenger services on the current freight-only Camp Hill Chords, Tamworth and Sutton Park rail lines.
The not so savoury proposals concern car usage:
Information: By 2031 there would be an extra 80,000 cars on the road if nothing was done!
The role off the A38 tunnels will be investigated.
The report states “There is no doubt that the A38 provides a fast route across the centre for all traffic, but it also severs the centre creating a very noisy unattractive barrier to intra-centre movement.”
Consideration to the closure of the Great Charles Street accesses to the A38 tunnels – something that may affect KEW dwellers adversely!
The potential for widespread use of 20mph speed restrictions.
Conclusion and further information:
The Consultation Green Document is 110 pages – somewhat daunting – and we don’t know where and by when to send our views!
Personally, what I intend to do is make the effort to read the Green Paper once and make notes about suggestions that I need clarification on especially those that I am worried about. I’ll keep my eye on the Birmingham newspapers (on-line Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, for example) and consider their analyses. You can subscribe to email notifications of updates to these.
Then when I know to where and by when to feedback I’ll have my thoughts to hand.
You can read Sir Albert’s address by clicking here.
For the visual presentation he used click here .
You can also read the full BMAP Green Paper of 110 pages by clicking here .