Birmingham Blue Routes concept

17th May 2020

Birmingham Blue Route
Birmingham Blue Route

I was really impressed with the Birmingham Blue Routes when I rode them in January, and I asked Birmingham Connected a few questions to find out how they managed to up the quality so dramatically compared to older cycle infrastructure.

Q: How do you account for the huge difference in quality between your Blue Routes and traditional UK cycle infra?

A: We took on board best practice from across the UK (including the Cycle City Ambition Grant - CCAG - programme) and internationally, and made a deliberate decision to aim for a high design standard with a good level of segregation and cycle priority on these routes. This was partly due to learning from previous experience as well as feedback from stakeholders including PushBikes, Birmingham's cycle campaign group.

Q: Why does Elmhurst Ballet School driveway on the A38 have priority over the cycle route, when that's not the case anywhere else?

A: We worked to the principle of cycle priority at side road crossings for the majority of both schemes, but there were a handful of locations where different options were installed...following...stakeholder engagement.

Q: Are there any plans to improve signage and cycle facilities where the Blue Routes end in the city centre? For example, to have a signed route across the city centre allowing people to get from one Blue Route to the other?

A: Yes, plans are currently progressing to install signage for the A34 & A38 routes to key destinations in the city centre, Selly Oak and Perry Barr - as well as to other routes that form part of our existing network. There is also a scheme progressing to link the two routes along with other cross-city centre cycle routes.

Q: Did the city council liaise with PushBikes over decisions on the Blue Route?

A: Yes we have regular dialogue with PushBikes, including through our Cycle Stakeholders Group and other forums.

Q: Who was responsible for the design of the Blue Routes?

A: Design was carried out by BCC officers and consultants working on the Birmingham Cycle Revolution programme. We also benefited from the experience of others through the CCAG network (peer review).

Q: Do you now have your own design standards and technical guidance? Is there anything your could share with other local authorities including North Yorkshire?

A: BCC did adopt cycle design standards, and they now apply across the West Midlands Combined Authority region. These are the standards.

Q: Whey have you decided to make nearby streets 20mph (eg Edgbaston Park Road)? When I've asked my local authority, they quote the 85th percentile and refuse to do anything.

A: BCC adopted a policy of 20mph speed limits a few years ago, and funding through Birmingham Cycle Revolution enabled this to be introduced across two-thirds of our outer ring road area.

This is something the council remains committed to, and it's part of the draft Birmingham Transport Plan. There are futher details on implementation of 20mph in Birmingham.