Yorkshire cycling website


West Midlands cycle routes

16th February 2019

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has set out plans for new cycle routes in a report called 'A Common Approach to Cycling and Walking in the West Midlands'.

The report notes that 41% of car journeys in the West Midlands are under 2 miles. The West Midlands has the highest levels of inactivity in adults and children (of anywhere in the UK?), and 34% of children are overweight or obese. Walking rates are falling, and cycling rates are below the national average.

The improvements needed to increase walking and cycling rates include:

  • more direct and joined up routes
  • reallocating road space
  • safe crossing points
  • better signage

Leadership is required, and an Ambassador for Cycling & Walking in the West Midlands will be appointed by the end of March 2019.

A West Midlands Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan is to be developed, and it will identify key cycling routes which will provide the most benefit to local people. They are to be primarily on-road routes, but improvements to canal towpaths and green routes (like the NCN5 Rea Valley) will be included too.

West Midlands cycle map

On an initial glance, the thing that jumps out is that the routes are not joined up. I lack detailed knowledge, so that may not be the case.

Phase 1 routes include the A45 Birmingham to Solihull, and the City Centre A38 to A34 connection. The 'Hagley Road corridor' is mentioned in Phase 3.

Walking and cycling routes are to be built at the same time as other transport schemes such as rapid bus transit or light rail. '[F]unding of cycling and walking schemes needs to be embedded within other schemes...'

WMCA wants to emulate London and Manchester, and build quality 'exemplar schemes'. 'We need to be bold and ambitious with delivery as we are at a tipping point in terms of health, air quality and congestion.' This means (paragraph 6.13) creating cycle routes with:

  • on-road sections with segregation from moving traffic
  • traffic calming measures and 20mph limits
  • lighting and wayfinding
  • best practice design (West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance)

There's to be a single brand for routes across the region, West Midlands Cycle. That's what will appear on signs.

West Midlands Cycle brand

Cycling investment is £9.47 per head in 2018-19, but is then forecast to gradually decline to £6.50 by 2022-23.

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