Birmingham and the West Midlands as a whole have been operating under a self-declared state of climate emergency since 2019, and now they have a plan. It's to make "active travel" the first choice in the region's big city while building a "fully integrated, high quality public transport system," relegating the place of the car to that of a historical aberration.
For some reason, everyone decided this couldn't be achieved by the nicely round-sounding year of 2030, so we're talking about the Birmingham Transport Plan 2031. It's all totally achievable by 2031. That extra year's going to be a hectic blur of hi-vis and cones.
The most thrilling page of the PowerPoint presentation is that covering the reallocation of road space, which will tilt away from single occupancy cars and towards mass transit and pedestrian/cyclist space, as the city's aiming for five per cent of all trips to be made by bike in 2023, and ten per cent a decade later. City bosses have taken the time to shame current-gen residents by revealing that 25 per cent of all car journeys made today are covering distances of less than one mile.
Some defunct old local and regional railway lines are planned to reopen too, for those outside of the centre with commutes a little too long and arduous to be cycled. And too arduous for the 25 per cent of Birmingham residents the council says are currently classified as obese.
Other car-wars initiatives include a 20mph speed limit for all residential streets, Car Free School Streets so mums can't roll up in Range Rovers so easily, restrictions on driving through the centre of the city instead of around, a workplace parking levy to make employers pay for providing at-work parking, plus a general reduction of commuter parking spaces across the city. Birmingham is really going for it. [Birmingham Transport Plan]
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