Once again National Cycle Route 5 has been closed in the city centre, this time in both directions. The original route went from Smallbrook Queensway to Navigation Street via Hill Street, Station Street, John Bright Street, and a shared footway alongside the A38.
This time the closure is in both directions, but it is southbound that is particularly problematic.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the article, left turns into Station Street have been banned for all traffic. The photo below shows that this is not for reasons of on-going works; the barriers across the road are there purely to block the road. The combination of having to pedal up hill combined with the dreadful state of the carriageway means that all the cab drivers now using the cycle route have to follow slowly behind cyclists for the entire length of Hill Street. They don't like it much, and it's not much fun for cyclists either. Of course there is the option to disregard the sign, and the law.
When Hill Street was closed to southbound traffic over the summer Ed Healey of Sustrans said that the cycling contraflow from Station Street would be re-opened, and this indeed happened. However, it has recently been closed by the contractors, and cyclists are now cycling south using the northbound lane on Hill Street. This is clearly dangerous, but no alternative has been provided. It is the second time this year that cyclists have been forced into this action. Additionally, no aspect for southbound traffic has been provided at the temporary pedestrian crossing, creating an additional unnecessary hazard.
The original cycle route crosses over Smallbrook Queensway to Ladywell Walk, but cyclists cannot use the A38 and Smallbrook Queensway as an alternative because right turns into Ladywell Walk are banned (and would be difficult even if allowed). It is in theory possible to go straight across Holloway Circus and head for Essex Street, but this multi-lane roundabout is very busy with motor traffic and it is difficult to do this even in a car. On a bike, without the protection of a metal box, it is downright dangerous.
What Can You Do?
- Email Albert Bore (albert.bore [at] birmingham.gov.uk) and ask him to have NCN5 restored at this point. Copy your email to:
- Kath Hartley (kath.hartley [at] birmingham.gov.uk)
- Carl Rice (carl.rice [at] birmingham.gov.uk)
- Lisa Trickett (lisa.trickett [at] birmingham.gov.uk)
- cycling [at] birmingham.gov.uk