Will today, Thursday Nov 11 2010, prove a genuine milestone in the redevelopment of Birmingham City Centre?
In the last two decades we’ve had new residential areas, shopping centres and (potentially) iconic buildings. Now, as part of the Big City Plan, we have been shown how we are going to be able to get around our city.
A powerful group of private and public sector bodies have produced an integrated vision for transport in the city combining rail, metro, rapid transit, cycling and walking. You can read the 12-page document at this website http://bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk/?p=699.
The novelties in the proposals included
- ‘Birmingham Sprint’ – a network of routes served by dedicated rapid transit buses which will provide a train-like travelling experience on a turn-up-and-go basis. The first route is proposed to run from Five Ways through Broad Street, past New Street Station, Moor Street, Aston University and out to Walsall; it is promised to be in service by 2015. This is the target year for the Metro extension and New Street redevelopment.
- Smartcard ticketing – the West Midlands equivalent to London’s Oyster card; Centro already has the essential infrastructure in place in over 2000 buses and this system would provide easy travelling on all local transport services.
- Major road improvements to the Middleway ring road to enable through traffic to be diverted around the city centre instead of coming through it. These improvements will include expanded parking to discourage car journeys into the city centre.
The presentation revealed great conviction over funding, too. Central Government’s policy for growth highlights infrastructure and transport as specific areas to be supported. Furthermore Cllr Whitby, the council leader, stressed that Birmingham’s credibility with the Treasury for delivering on major projects is high.
This vision document as well as the Big City Plan is now out for consultation.
The City Centre Neighbourhood Forum is holding a public meeting to discuss these plans at 6.30 pm on November 24 in the Learning Zone at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (Gt. Charles Street entrance). We’ll have well informed speakers to introduce them.
Put the date in your diary and come along.
(City Centre Neighbourhood Forum committee member)