For the council elections Push Bikes, the Birmingham cycling campaign group, is carrying out a survey of the views of candidates on sustainable personal transport. Sustainable doesn't just mean environmentally friendly, it also means scalable (to cope with increasing demand), and affordable.
In October 2013 Birmingham City Council published the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan green paper, which says:
“Transport also has a major role to play in building an inclusive and healthy society. For example, on average 36% of all households in Birmingham do not have access to a car. In some areas of the city this figure is far higher, with well over 50% of households not having access to a car. Birmingham’s sustainable transport system is a life-line for these residents to be able to access jobs, goods and essential services.”
This was followed in November 2014 by Birmingham Connected, a white paper which laid out a vision for how transport in Birmingham will be improved in the coming decades. On page 10 it says:
“Currently many people feel that they have no real alternative to driving their car, which results in over one million car trips each day by Birmingham residents – a quarter of which are less than a mile (2011 Household Travel Survey). We will provide a system where people feel they can realistically choose to undertake many of their everyday trips within and to/from Birmingham by public transport, walking and cycling.”
- Do you subscribe to Birmingham City Council’s new vision for transport?
Birmingham City Council has been successful in securing funding not only from the national government’s Cycle City Ambition funds, but also in securing funds from the local LEP up to 2018. However further applications for funding will be necessary to continue the funding beyond 2018.
- Will you support Birmingham City Council’s efforts to secure a funding level of at least £10 per person per year for the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, and preferably ask for much more (Trondheim is currently spending €75 per person per year for the same purpose)?
Many crossings have a long delay after the button is pressed, encouraging people to cross dangerously in gaps between cars rather than waiting for a green crossing light. Car drivers are then frustrated by having to wait at red lights with nobody crossing. If all pedestrian and cycle crossings responded to the button press in under 10 seconds, it would encourage good crossing behaviour and make travel by foot and cycle quicker.
- Will you call for all pedestrian and cycle crossings in your ward to respond to the button press in under 10 seconds?
Many minor roads are blighted by heavy and fast-moving motor traffic. To create safer streets where people live, will you take the lead and:
- Call for 20mph speed limits in your ward.
- Promote the closure of residential roads to rat-running motor-traffic.
To make it an attractive choice for local trips, cycle routes need to be direct, but potential routes are often disjointed and incomplete.
- Will you support small projects in your ward to help create joined up cycle routes to enable people to make local journeys by bike?
Please let me know if there are any parts of your answers you would prefer not to be quoted on the Push Bikes website, www.pushbikes.org.uk.
This text is also available as a PDF, and in Libre/Open Office and Word formats (below), should you wish to contact your local candidates directly.