Great Progress on Sheepcote Traffic Easing

img_9022-14x9Leaseholder and KEW RTM Company Director, Fran Elder, with the help of others has managed to get the Council to stop the buses using Sheepcote Street from 4 December and to look at traffic calming measures.

Fran has provided an explanation below of what has been achieved. She is Birmingham 20’s Plenty for Us Coordinator also.

Geoff Caine

Background

  • img_9028-14x9-resizedSince the middle of 2015 Sheepcote Street has been subjected to a series of diversions as a result of construction at Paradise Circus
  • In Nov 2015, 9 bus routes were diverted up Sheepcote Street with an average of 32 buses an hour speeding up the street.
  • img_9033-14x9-resizedThe raised zebra crossing leading to the canals was not deigned for long wheel base heavy vehicles. As a result each bus causes the adjacent building to shake with each thud of a bus passing over the bump.
  • These bus routes were temporary and resident’s were assured that buses would revert to their original route at the end of October when the right turn out of Broad Street would be re-opened to buses and hackney cabs
  • Residents affected were sent an email just before the change date saying the council were extending the bus diversion to an unknown date in the future
  • Residents reacted angrily as they felt they had been misled as Deputy Head of Traffic had confirmed in the Birmingham Mail the October date for buses to return to their original route.
  • A meeting was arranged by Anne Shaw¹, Kevin Hicks² and Coun Sir Albert Bore and Coun Kath Hartley. Residents Fran & Alex Elder (also BCCCNF³ members), Rob Clancy and John McDermott (Chair BCCCNF³) and our Development Manager Shakela Farid attended
  • Residents have complained about the effect the diversion is having in terms of noise, pollution and vibration. Through a series of Freedom of Information requests it was found that Sheepcote Street was recommended to have special care and attention when the original planning for Paradise Circus and the Metro were planned.

¹Anne Shaw is Assistant Director – Transport & Connectivity on the City Council
²Kevin Hicks is Assistant Director – Highways & Infrastructure on the City Council
³BCCNF is the voluntary organisation Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum

The Meeting

  • Coun Bore chaired the meeting and the first issue was the bus routes. Anne Shaw and Kevin Hicks said that after the reaction of residents they had re-looked at the right turn and the buses would now return to their original route on 4th December 2016. It maybe necessary temporarily re-route buses along Sheepcote Street as a result of the works on the phase of the metro from New Street to the ICC, but this would be for short periods and residents would be informed.
  • John McDermott said that the council could look at more suitable bus provision for residents in Sheepcote Street in the future –  single deckers with short wheelbase.
  • Coun Bore addresses the issue of the raised speed bump which lorries and refuse trucks have caused disturbance to residents and buildings by crossing it at speed. It was felt that because of the temporary change in traffic flows due to Paradise and the Metro over a long period that the hump was probably now the wrong type of speed calming measure in the current situation.
  • Anne Shaw and Kevin Hicks are to work on a short-term plan to come up with alternative calming measures to reduce speeding. They will report their proposals to those at this meeting before Christmas.
  • A medium and long-term plan to make Sheepcote Street a well designed , modern residential street with a small number of local shops will be looked into by the council. It is a designated Cycle route under the Birmingham Cycle Revolution and it should be safe for pedestrians and cyclists. The Metro will in its later stages extend all the way through the tunnel at Fiveways to the Hagley Road.
  • It was pointed out that the developments around the canals and Sheepcote, St Vincent and Sherborne Street etc were model modern communities with low car use and ownership. Residents were cyclists and pedestrians and should not be subjected to rat runs of vehicles seeking to avoid the ring road.
  • Then issue of the coaches depositing school children mostly for the Sealife centre, parking on or adjacent to the zebra crossing, obscuring it from on coming overtaking vehicles, was discussed. There is a clear hazard to pedestrians and children. Fran Elder and Rob Clancy agreed to  write to Anne and Kevin with their suggestions on how to resolve the issue. (1.Arrangements are made with the Barclaycard Arena that coaches drop off in the car park allowing direct and safe access to the towpath. 2.That a coach stop could be made at the bus stop at the lower end of the street. It is a short distance through the BCA car park to the towpath – saw driver doing this the other day.)
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