Post by Bracken Van Ryssen on Dec 19, 2014 15:50:11 GMT
Sustrans have recently released their plans for King's Heath High Street in Birmingham. The proposals are to narrow the carriageway to a standard width, remove on-street parking and use the space to widen the pavements. This is undoubtedly an improvement to pedestrian provision: reducing crossing distance, slowing motor traffic and providing more pedestrian facilities.
Unfortunately cycle provision is not as great, cyclists are expected to share the busy carriageway and 'take the lane' (cycle in middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtakes). Very few cyclists feel comfortable doing this, particularly on a busy road frequented by buses and HGVs, as it often attracts aggression and abuse from drivers. Fully segregated, or painted lanes are currently considered to be against the aims of the scheme and impractical due to the width. However not allocating space for cycling could have disastrous consequences for the wider Birmingham area. If the scheme is given the go ahead it could well set a precedent for future high street schemes ( such as the announced green travel districts), that designing for pedestrian and motor traffic flow has priority above bicycle user needs and safety.
Which leaves the question, should the scheme as a whole be opposed or should we let the scheme go ahead based solely on pedestrian improvements?
Post by Bracken Van Ryssen on Dec 22, 2014 20:32:52 GMT
Currently we're seeing whether a challenge under the Equality Act would be possible, given that the scheme discriminates against cycling (disabled or not). I've already offered my full backing to PushBikes and James Avery who are heading the opposition for the scheme, and I hope we'll be able to achieve a meaningful change.