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Birmingham latest city to propose private car restrictions

Goals behind the transport plan include connecting citizens with new job and training opportunities, prioritising people over cars and revitalising the city centre and local areas.

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Birmingham has set out its vision for future transport
Birmingham has set out its vision for future transport

Birmingham City Council has published a draft plan setting out its vision for the future of transport in the city and if it gets the green light, private cars will be banned from driving through the city centre.

 

Building on the existing Birmingham Connected transport strategy, the draft transport plan aims to underpin the city’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

 

As well as improving road safety, other goals behind the transport plan are connecting citizens with new job and training opportunities, prioritising people over cars and revitalising the city centre and local areas.

 

Four big moves

 

The document sets out four “big moves”, intended to work in harmony with each other:

  • Reallocating road space: moving away from single-occupancy private cars to support the delivery of a public transport system fit for a global city, fundamentally changing the way that people and goods move about the city.
  • Transforming the city centre: this would be through the creation of a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces integrated with public transport services and cycling infrastructure. Access to the city centre for private cars will be limited with no through trips.
  • Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods: to promote walking and cycling, cars will be restricted in certain areas, including around schools. and a limit of 20mph will be standard on all local roads.
  • Managing demand through parking measures: parking will be used as a means to manage demand for travel by car through availability, pricing and restrictions.

“Good transport is the most important ingredient in ensuring that the benefits of Birmingham’s growth are felt in every part of the city. To unlock the potential of transport, we need to fundamentally change the way people and goods move around the city,” said councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, Birmingham City Council.

 

“The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion. For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of a new, go-anywhere transport system.”

 

Subject to cabinet approval on 21 January 2020, the draft transport plan will then go out to public consultation from 28 January, before a final version is formally adopted by the council.

 

“The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion.”

 

Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, Birmingham businesses, citizens and visitors are being encouraged to take part in a public consultation over plans for a £25 million regeneration of the city centre.

 

Computer generation of how Victoria Square in Birmingham might look
Computer generation of how Victoria Square in Birmingham might look

Other UK cities’ unveil transport visions

 

Cardiff Council has also unveiled a £2 billion transport vision designed to transform Cardiff and South East Wales’ transport network. Its Transport White Paper lays out an ambitious 10-year plan to tackle the climate emergency, reduce congestion and improve air quality in the Welsh capital. It was launched today following consultation with thousands of city residents, health and transport experts.

 

The white paper lists a series of potential projects which include:

  • Expanding current metro plans to deliver more new tram/train routes and stations in Cardiff and the region
  • Introducing new bus rapid transit services and Park & Ride sites
  • Lowering the cost of bus travel significantly
  • Delivering safer walking and cycling routes
  • Offering real travel options designed to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.

Earlier this week, Edinburgh published its draft plan that sets out a 10-year vision for mobility and transport and also reinforces the Council’s ambition of making the Scottish city carbon-neutral by 2030. According to the plan, by 2030, the transformed city will have a largely car-free centre.

 

At the beginning of the year, the City of York announced that "non-essential” private cars could be restricted from the centre by 2023 to meet climate ambitions and cut congestion and pollution.

 

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