Consultation - Ring Road Junction improvements at Ashted Circus

Be Heard logo

The city council would appreciate your views on plans to make major changes at Ashted Circus, through funds secured from the 'Local Pinch Point' and 'Local Growth Fund'. The improvements aim to better manage motor traffic flow to support economic growth and connectivity between the city centre and the wider area. The consultation plans can be viewed here, and you can voice your opinion on the survey link on that page. Please do voice your opinion to argue for better provision for cycles in highways plans.

Consultation runs from 2 Feb 2015 to 28 Feb 2015.

Push Bikes' Response

It is unfortunate that Push Bikes feel we must strongly object to these proposals as they have a very significant impact on the A47 Parkway main corridor route that was consulted on in 2014 as part of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution (see We are very disappointed that these plans that have been put out to consultation do not show any awareness of the existence of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution consultation. It is deeply worrying that two different teams inside BCC can produce two sets of plans for the same junction without any apparent joined up planning.

The cycle route consulted on in 2014 proposed using the underpasses to take cycle users past this major junction in safety and without delays.

The plans being consulted on by BCC now have cycle lanes (advisory?) and ASLs. The level of traffic on the ring road is such that existing cyclists would find them difficult and unpleasant to use, even though existing cyclists in the UK have an unusually high risk tolerance amongst the general population. Birmingham City Council is trying to get more people cycling in order to tackle the city's transportation and health problems (a policy successfully used in other countries), but most people would simply refuse to cycle in the conditions that would prevail at this junction. While providing ASLs will help some cycle users who are already cycling on this road, most people when faced with the prospect of struggling with heavy traffic will elect to use the proposed crossings. However, this would require waiting at five stages of staggered pedestrian (not toucan) crossings. The time implications for anyone trying to cross this junction using the crossings are considerable. Based on our experience of such crossings it could take 10 minutes for a pedestrian or cycle user to cross this junction diagonally. A delay of this length is wholly unacceptable and will act as a major barrier to cycle use along this strategic route. Additionally, it would be illegal for someone to cycle on these crossings, further reducing the attractiveness of the route.

It is very clear that the junction as proposed will make cycling so unattractive that very few people will use the proposed cycle route. Yet this route is supposed to be one of the main corridor routes of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, providing a direct, comfortable, route into Birmingham City Centre.

Ideally the underpasses would be retained and re-engineered to meet the standards of underpasses designed in other European countries, with good sight-lines for users to create a feeling of social safety.

An alternative solution is to provide protected cycle lanes up to the junction and then provide a direct route across the junction for people on cycles that is separate from the heavy motor traffic. In London, the new Cycle Superhighways designs have junctions which have a 'hold the left turn' design, where cycle users move ahead with motor traffic travelling straight on, while left turning motor traffic is held (See pages 3 and 4 of this London Cycling Campaign document for a more detailed explanation: You could also consider a a simultaneous green junction. These are widely used in the Netherlands, but would need a slight modification in the UK (see These junctions offer offer high capacity and high scalability, and have a proven, excellent safety record. We urge that you liaise with the BCR team to discuss ways in which this solutions might be implemented.

At-grade shared use (toucan) crossings are the worst option, but if they are to be used, then these must be direct, single stage crossings for each arm of the junction, to enable cycle users to cross each arm of the junction in a single movement. This is normal practice in Northern European countries such as the Netherlands and Germany. The dog-leg crossings on the proposed design introduce conflict between cycles wobbling while they turn 90 degrees at a slow speed in a confined space and pedestrians also trying to use that space. In addition, where the crossings are set to only respond to demand (button pressing) it is essential that they are set to respond as quickly as in other European countries (see: