The city council would appreciate your views on plans for highway 'improvements' at Iron Road / Station Road / Flaxley Road, next to Stechford Business Park. The plans involve widening of Station Road including building a new bridge over the River Cole, create two new multi-lane roundabouts to replace the existing gyratory system at Iron Road / Station Road / Flaxley Road, and converting pavements to shared-use footway cycle routes. The consultation plans can be viewed here, and you can voice your opinion on the survey link on that page.
Push Bikes has very serious concerns about these designs, and we urge you to look at them and respond to the council if you feel that they are not fit-for-purpose. Your voice counts!
Consultation runs to 21 June 2015.
Push Bikes' draft response:
Push Bikes opposes the scheme as presented in these plans. Rather than taking advantage of the space available by this large-scale redevelopment to deliver infrastructure that would encourage walking and cycling, the scheme has pushed cycling and walking to the edges, forced to take convoluted routes. This is in contrast to the vision laid out in the Birmingham Connected document, the national government’s stated aim of cycle-proofing new roads, and the best practice laid out by the Birmingham Cycle Revolution. The scheme at the moment is motor-centric ‘business as usual’ and not cycle-friendly future-proof design.
(1) The ‘cycle routes’ delivered by the scheme are shared pavements. These are the least attractive option for new cycle routes, as they mix pedestrians and cycle users, two modes of transport that have differing speeds. The Birmingham Cycle Revolution will be delivering wide cycle lanes and paths, providing separation between pedestrians, cycle users and motor vehicles, providing comfort for all. This new scheme, with its significant re-development of the location and construction of a new bridge, should deliver the highest level of cycle infrastructure possible.
(2) The toucan crossings are all designed with ‘dog-legs’, forcing pedestrians and cycle users to take a convoluted route around the crossings. When turning actions are required, shared-use pavements require increased space in order to minimise conflict. These two-stage, offset toucan crossings do not provide that extra space, and as such are not fit for purpose. It is very important that all crossings are designed to minimise conflict between pedestrians and cycle users, to ensure comfort for all - best practice would be to separate the two modes at crossings because of the difference in speeds.
(3) At side roads, no consideration has been given to ensuring continuity for cycle users. Constant stopping at side roads is a major factor in making cycle paths unattractive, encouraging cycle users to ignore the cycle route and use the carriageway instead. There is no reason why the cycle route should not have priority over Mears Drive, Brook Close and the entrances to Imex Business Park and B&Q. In fact, the scheme removes existing pavement priority at the entrance to Imex Business Park, creating a road mouth where currently the side road gives way to the pavement.
(4) The designs show no regard for the use of cycles for daily journeys. Stechford Lane, Burney Lane and Cotterills Lane have no connections provided to the Cole Valley (not Rea Valley) Cycle Route, and likewise, Flaxley Parkway and Station Road are not connected to the cycle route there. The only legal solution for cycle users will be to cycle around the dual-lane roundabouts to reach these roads.
Let us repeat that - the ONLY legal solution will be for cycle users to cycle around the dual-lane roundabouts.
This clearly shows that the designers have only paid lip-service to providing for cycle users, through concentrating solely on ‘cycle routes’ that already exist. No consideration has been made for how these cycle routes are to be connected to the surrounding residential areas and commercial destinations. Cycle routes will not be used if there is no easy connection between your front door and the cycle route.
These plans should be scrapped, and the designers required to discuss with the Birmingham Cycle Revolution team how this scheme can provide high-quality solutions that will connect the cycle routes to the local area, and what the best solutions for cycles are, rather than pushing cycles onto the pavement with pedestrians. If these plans are built as currently proposed, they will introduce extra costs for the Birmingham Cycle Revolution in the future in order to correct the mistakes being made now. This would be very wasteful.