Picture caption: The rapid transit system used in Oregan USA, which gives an idea of how the Birmingham Sprint will look
A compelling vision to transform the way people come into and move around Birmingham city centre was today launched by business, council and transport chiefs.
‘Vision for Movement’ lays the foundations for a comprehensive network of rapid transit, bus, rail, cycling and walking routes to underpin Birmingham’s economic regeneration and help cement its future as a vibrant, global city.
The Vision is the result of a newly formed partnership between the city’s business community, by way of its Business Improvement Districts (BID’s), Birmingham City Council, transport authority Centro and National Express West Midlands..
Its goal is to create a well connected, efficient and walkable city by finding transport solutions that are realistic and deliverable in the short to medium term but also co-ordinate with longer-term schemes outlined in the document’s 20-year timeframe.
Vision for Movement will also form an important element of the wider Big City Plan, a far reaching blueprint for how the heart of Birmingham should develop over the next two decades.
Gary Taylor, chairman of the Broad Street BID, said: “The city’s business improvement districts each have major transport and movement projects as their top priorities. The Broad Street BID’s proposal for a rapid transit scheme was a central part of its renewal prospectus that achieved 94 per cent majority in its renewal ballot in November 2009.
“Joining forces with the City Council and Centro to produce a shared plan with a clear set of projects and goals was a natural next step for the three city centre BIDS – Broad Street, Retail and Colmore.
“Funding major transport projects is going to be a challenge but Vision for Movement defines a series of achievable projects that, collectively, will transform how people can move around a growing city centre.”
The Vision builds on major transport schemes already underway including the rebuilding of New Street Station and the extension of the Midland Metro on to the city centre streets.
A key feature of the Vision is an integrated, high quality rapid transit network through the city centre and out along major routes linking;
Five Ways to Walsall;
- Birmingham International to Ladywood via Sheldon and Chelmsley Wood;
- Eastside to Quinton and Bartley Green;
- Ladywood to Perry Barr.
Although Metro remains at the heart of the long-term strategy to support economic regeneration in the city centre, in the shorter term a network of flexible rapid transit routes, known as Birmingham Sprint, will be developed.
Birmingham Sprint will be a high quality, tram-style service benefiting from highway priority measures to speed up journeys. It will be designed to provide a step change in the quality of public transport options for people travelling to, from and around the city centre. It will also compliment and enhance the existing bus network.
Two Birmingham Sprint priorities will be a cross city route from Broad Street to the New Street and Moor Street stations and a route from the city centre to the rail and air gateways at Birmingham International.
Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, welcomed the blueprint saying: “The Big City Plan has set out our bold vision and framework for Birmingham’s growth and prosperity over the next 20 years – with new jobs, homes, cultural and leisure opportunities.
“The Vision for Movement will form an essential part of our Big City Plan, adding the detail about how people will travel safely, efficiently and easily within a welcoming environment. In a sophisticated partnership with the private sector we are setting out clearly how we want to create a more connected city.
“Bringing together the immense possibilities before us – which include High Speed Rail, major infrastructure investments in New Street and Metro – I believe Birmingham now really is on the cusp of gaining a transport infrastructure that truly befits a global destination.”
The Vision’s proposals also include;
- Alterations to the rail network at Camp Hill to open new passenger stations on the rail lines out to Kings Norton and Tamworth;
- The transformation of existing bus services with high quality, green vehicles, new city centre passenger interchanges and hi-tech travel information
- Park and Ride facilities to support rapid transit and cycle routes and reduce demand for car journeys into the city;
- Improving the efficiency of the existing road network by remodelling key junctions, making it easier to use the Ring Road and installing traffic management systems that give priority to public transport, cycling and walking.
The Vision also puts great emphasis on carbon-free travel by creating a much better city centre for walking and cycling. The concept of a “Walkable City” involves transforming the quality, safety and security of the pedestrian environment so that walking becomes the most enjoyable and convenient way of getting around large parts of the city centre.
Cycle routes with dedicated bike lanes and better connectivity to the canal network will also be developed to encourage cycling to and within the city centre. Proposals will be developed for secure cycle hubs featuring bike storage, hire and repair as well as improved cycle facilities at rail stations.
Centro chief executive, Geoff Inskip, said: “Working with the city’s business community, we have set out a clear vision of the transport schemes that Birmingham needs to enable economic growth and secure its future prosperity.
“As the transport authority, we will lend our full support in helping to develop and deliver these initiatives alongside the business sector and the city council.”