Within a week of writing this the bollard was removed (and replaced with another), and the chicanes fitted with reflective wands, attracting the attention of LS on Birmingham Cyclist. I've stopped the clock on my timer. Whilst this is an improvement, the new bollard is also obstructive to cyclists because the path is very narrow, and the new bollard takes up a significant proportion of the width.
If I was doing the job myself, I would turn up with an angle grinder and a sledge hammer, part the bollard at the base, and smooth the stump to level it with the surrounding bitmac, taking half an hour at most.
Alas the official process is rather slower. On 27th March 2014 the removal of a concrete bollard obstructing the Rea Valley route was put out to consultation, which lasted until 17th April. I didn't bother to respond because I thought it was a no-brainer. The bollard that appears to be centrally mounted in the cycle path isn't in fact central as far as cyclists are concerned, as cyclists on the north-bound desire line come into conflict with it, especially at night. It's not as if the bollard achieves anything useful. It would be very awkward to park a car on the pavement in the space freed up by the removal of the bollard, and anyone tempted to park at ninety degrees here, or even drive down the cycle path, stands a good chance of making contact with the bollards either side. For drivers who are determined to circumvent the road closure, there is an easier alternative (visible in the photo). However, in all the years I've been passing this way, I've never seen anyone attempt that. Why would they? There's an adjacent, parallel road that doesn't involve bumping over kerbs and squeezing past bollards. That road also does not require steering around chicanes.
The chicanes, whilst they do limit the speed at which people can drive along here, are also a problem for cyclists at night. The plans sought to address this by erecting reflective wands on them.
Unfortunately it turned out not to be a no-brainer for one jobsworth, a council officer who thought that drivers would attempt to drive along the cycle path to get to Clevedon Road. Adrian Lord, who is a consultant to BCR and who has also had a near miss with this bollard, corrected him, and I understand the objection was overruled. That all happened last year. Has anything happened since then? No. The wands have not been added to the chicanes, and as you can see from the photo, which I took two days ago, the bollard is still there.
These are not the only changes to the Rea Valley Route that were put out to consultation at the same time, all no-brainers, yet as far as I'm aware none has been implemented. It took decades to address the problems at the Belgrave Middleway crossing, and even then the city council elected to start letting hackney carriage drivers through (despite a cab being more polluting than a private petrol-driven car, and taking up just as much space on the road). Why is Britain so slow, reluctant, inefficacious, and inefficient at implementing what other countries regard as a no-brainer - sustainable transport? With that question in mind, and with the first anniversary of the bollard's stay of death fast approaching, I've hacked David Hembrow's "How many years behind the Dutch is London widget?", and created a "How many years does it take Birmingham to remove a bollard?" widget.