Below is what I have responded with to the Covid Measures Birmingham website. This response is for proposals for the A38 between Selly Oak and Northfield. I agree with the Selly Oak High Street proposal, but strongly disagree with the Bus Lane between the other end of Selly Oak and Northfield.
Please respond to this consultation and other proposals for active travel infrastructure in Birmingham
Selly Oak High Street
The Selly Oak High Street proposals are good, on the whole. They connect to the Blue route and remove some parking. Whilst not fully segregated it will make cycling down Selly Oak High Street a lot easier and more comfortable. I regularly cycle through Selly Oak and have to fight with motor traffic and try to avoid parked cars. I have noticed that the numbers of people cycling through the High Street is much higher than it was pre Covid 19. Making the High Street 20MPH is a good step and brings it in line with other High Streets.
Cyclist dismount signs are always a bad idea
The big problem with the Selly Oak High Street route is the crossing of S11, S12, S13, S14, S15, S16 which are cyclist dismount signs and then a shared crossing with pedestrians. Any Cycling dismount sign will be ignored, and cyclists may bypass the shared crossing entirely and re-join the main carriageway as that is the quicker way through. This could cause more conflict, this time between cyclists and motor traffic.
Where there are roadworks by the TouchBase Pears office, what are the chances that once these road works are completed, that there will be segregated cycling infrastructure put in? At the moment I cycle on the road through this section, but it is with main motor traffic and it is horrendous for cyclists, with cars aggressively overtaking.
Is a bus lane a cycle lane? (No it is not)
Past Selly Oak the proposed Bus lane is completely against the principles of supporting active travel. Does this qualify for the active travel funding from central government? A bus lane will support buses, and in normal circumstances I would support this, but this funding has been allocated to promote walking and cycling. I do cycle in bus lanes and whilst it is a bit better than cycling on advisory white lane painted cycle lanes, it is not cycle infrastructure. It will not encourage new people to cycle. Mixing buses and cyclists is a bad idea. When the cyclist is going up hill and is going under 10 mph, this is a potentially dangerous situation with a bus going at 30mph plus. If you are new to cycling under these conditions will the new cyclist know whether to overtake the bus or wait behind? Will buses be able to see cyclists going at 5MPH up a hill?
I cycle between Selly Oak and Northfield routinely, sometimes on a road bike. The other cyclists that I see are mostly on road bikes, in lycra trying to keep up with traffic. A bus lane will make it a bit easier for people like me, but not help any new cyclists to try and cycle between Selly Oak and Northfield. As somebody else who has responded to this consultation; would a child use this bus lane? Would a 10 year old feel comfortable and safe using this infrastructure? I don’t think so. I rarely see children using Bus Lanes where they already exist.
Also what happens when cyclists get to the Orthopaedic hospital with the parking bays remaining? There is a shared cycling and pedestrian path, but this narrow, lumpy with lots of debris, including from branches from trees. The majority lycra clad cyclist join the main lane of the road and ignore this shard cycle and pedestrian footway. I imagine this will continue as before.
I was hoping that the plan would be to have a two way segregated cycle path on one side of the road, using one existing lane and the existing advisory cycle lane. This would only need to be on one side of the road, preferably the one that does not have the parking for the Orthopaedic Hospital.
One way this proposed bus lane could be beneficial in the long term is if they were in addition to a segregated cycle lane. The central carriageway is wide enough for a two way segregated cycle lane of the quality of the existing A38 blue route.
Please respond to the consultation here and for other potential active travel infrastructure measures in Birmingham.