From c1% of trips by bike now, to 5% in 2023, 10% by 2033.
Definitely in the right ball park, aligning with the "Get Britain Cycling" report’s call for at least £10 per person. A step towards funding Pedal Parity!
Committed to standards based on the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) and the Active Travel (Wales) Act design guidance, the benchmarks for UK best practice.
It's vital to respond so that these plans become a reality -
( See the bottom of this article for some tips on how to respond! )
The Black Country Walking and Cycling Strategy and Implementation Plan ( BCWaCSaIP ), is a plan formed by the Black Country arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority following the approval of the West Midlands Cycle Charter Action Plan by the Integrated Transport Authority in April 2014.
Infrastructure and Investment :
Detailed strategic outline business cases have been prepared for three of the priority intervention corridors:
34km of new routes are proposed with a varying degree of required investment and level of segregation.
The main aim of this corridor is to improve walking and cycling connections between some of the major local
and employment centres in the Black Country, including West Bromwich town centre, Oldbury, Great Bridge, Wednesbury and the public transport interchanges.
(Appendix 10a and Figure 9)
Walsall / Wednesbury / Darlaston areas and links
22km of new routes are proposed, ranging from quiet residential streets and canal towpaths to fully segregated cycle paths.
According to the Propensity to Cycle Tool the key commuter routes (in terms of numbers) are from south Walsall to central Walsall and between Darlaston and Wednesbury and the highest potential for cycling is in the areas north of central Wednesbury.
(Appendix 10b and Figure 10)
Brierley Hill / Dudley/ Pensnett areas and links
Almost 43km of new routes are proposed.
53% of all trips to work by residents in the area are shorter than 5km but only 1.8% of those are made by bicycle.
According to the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) the highest potential for cycling is in the residential area in the south-west of the corridor,
(Appendix 10c and Figure 11)
High level strategic business cases have been prepared to support funding bids for highway improvement schemes.
A449 Stafford Road
The proposed 7km scheme runs along the A449 Stafford Road corridor between Wolverhampton city centre and i54 at M54 J2.
There are 2 options being presented. A route on either side of the road, along with a single wider two-way route on just one side of the road which could potentially reduce the route effectiveness as the Stafford Rd would still remain a barrier to access it.
68% of households in Dunstall Hill at the southern end of the corridor do not have a car, hence according to the Propensity to Cycle Tool this corridor has one of the highest potentials for cycling in the Black Country.
The route has been costed to London Cycle Superhighway prices and would also provide better access to the canal towpaths.
The schemes involve a significant level of change to the existing highway space which is likely to include narrowing of the central reservation islands, realignment of traffic lanes, relocating the street furniture, narrowing of the footway and construction of new cycle tracks, redesign of the crossing facilities and redesign of the roundabouts.
Wolverhampton – Walsall
A primary cycle route is proposed between Wolverhampton City Centre and Walsall Town Centre, making use of key roads such as the A454 Willenhall Road and The Keyway to provide a quick and direct route between the two centres.
The route will be approximately 10 kilometres long, and provide access to Willenhall Town Centre and improved access across the M6 Motorway.
A 13km parallel secondary route is proposed to complement and link to the primary route which will make use of canal towpaths, parks and upgrades to existing cycle infrastructure.
Additional prioritised routes include
- A34 Walsall - Bloxwich
- Bilston to Wolverhampton Canal Towpath
- A4123 ( Thompson Avenue / Birmingham New Rd )
So is it worth supporting? Yes!
Responses are need to support these important proposals.
Q1 - Do you support the introduction of a Black Country Cycling and Walking Strategy and Implementation Plan?
Yes ! Ambition, Investment AND Design Standards.
Q2 - Do you agree with the Strategy's Vision?
Yes ! ( or no if you feel that they should have gone further! )
Q3 - Cycling Priorities - Prioritise your top 3 from the 4 options set out in the strategy :
- Making cycling inviting and attractive to everyone
- Make cycling safe and secure
- Make cycling easy and intuitive
- Normalise cycling to reduce inequalities
They're all good, no help given for this one!
Q4 - Walking Priorities - Prioritise your top 3 from the 8 options set out in the strategy :
- Safe, pleasant-to-use walking route infrastructure
- High-quality walking networks with access from neighbourhoods and transport hubs
- To have an inviting and engaging urban environment
- Ensure access for all users
- Rebalancing the environment to make it calm and safe for all
- Attractive local streets and spaces
- Everyone be able to access information to enable clear way-finding
- Promote walking as inclusive and healthy transport mode
A difficult one to choose from, all reasonable options!
Q5 - Are there other important aims and objectives that you consider the Strategy should include?
eg, Support sufficient funding for existing cycle infrastructure, increased importance on 20mph areas or a higher emphasis on road policing?
See the executive Summary PDF link at the bottom for a quick "official" overview of the strategy.
If yes selected to Q5, you'll get a text-box to input your answer, and access to Q6 - 11.
Q6 - Do you support the prioritised cycling routes and Mini Holland concepts planned for development?
Yes! These sort of schemes designed to a high standard will help ease congestion hot-spots, reduce traffic fumes, and encourage more people to lead a more active lifestyle.
(The methodology of route prioritisation was well discussed within the Appendices, with the "Propensity to Cycle" tool definitely earning its keep!)
Q7 & Q8- Are there any other routes that you feel should be included?
Here's where your local knowledge comes into play, where would YOU like to see included?
Think BIG with Dutch standards !!
Q9 - Do you support the prioritised walking routes for development?
The walking routes are discussed on Pg. 36 of the main document, mainly focusing on local centres.
Q10 & Q11 - Are there any other walking routes you feel should be included?
Again, local knowledge needed! How about your local high street or park? Think BIG!
Q12 - How did you hear about the consultation?
A : Wolves on Wheels
Q13 - Any further comments?
Well done Black Country LEP, WMCA, Centro et al. Exactly the sort of strategy which could get the Black Country back on its bikes!
Q14 - Is you submission from an Individual or a Group / Organisation?
Both are welcome to respond.
Q15 ( If Individual) - Do you currently cycle?
If not, why not check out Network West Midlands - Cycling - Getting Started for local training, offers and support.
Q15.5 - Please provide your details
( Address, Postcode etc. )
Q16 - Email address if you wish to receive updates to the strategy
Please be especially sure to leave your email address if you are a local politician, your support will be essential to see these plans into reality.
We'll certainly be looking out for updates but with a focus on the Wolverhampton area.
( Cheeky plug - If you'd like to be kept up to date on Cycling issues in the Wolverhampton / Bilston / Wednesfield areas, along with the odd Black Country and West Midlands update, you can also join the Wolves on Wheels mailing list towards the top-right of this page! )
Please remember - make all comments constructive, and even if you don't live in the Black Country, do respond.
This is potentially a great UK-wide as a model of how thinking on cycling and walking is developing at a strategic level.
If you only visit Wolverhampton, Walsall or Dudley once per year, these proposals may make your visit to us that little bit easier by bike!
Download the Reports
Main Plan - BCLEP Black Country Walking strategy and Implementation Plan pdf ( 10 MB )
All Images © Aecom / BCLEP / WMCA / TfWM / BCWaCSaIP
nb, views of the author, not necessarily Wolves on Wheels!