Major progress made on Birmingham’s transport vision

More than £800 million of work to transform the way people travel into and around Birmingham city centre is underway – just 12 months after the launch of a compelling transport vision.

Leading members of the city’s private and public sectors today outlined the progress achieved since they unveiled their Vision for Movement blueprint exactly one year ago to help underpin economic regeneration and cement Birmingham’s future as a vibrant, global city.

More than 100 key figures from the city’s business community attended the Vision for Movement – One Year On briefing at the Council House to hear how the last 12 months had seen several of the Vision’s high profile projects forge ahead.

These include a £65 million runway extension at Birmingham Airport, a £127 million extension of the Midland Metro tram through the heart of the city’s shopping district and the £600 million Gateway redevelopment of New Street Station.

Planning and design work is also progressing on an £11 million rapid transit system known as Sprint, running between Five Ways and Walsall.

Construction work is also set to start on two other key schemes. The first is a £14 million reorganisation of the city’s bus services which will see stops being moved from early in the New Year to allow the construction of six new passengers interchanges.

All buses will then come out of Corporation Street next summer paving the way for work on the Metro extension.

The other key scheme is a £3 million project called Birmingham Interconnect which features new direction signs and information points featuring maps and public transport details.

The project is designed to make it easier and clearer for both visitors and residents to find their way around the city to major attractions and destinations.

All of the projects have been earmarked for completion by 2015 under Vision for Movement, a collaboration between the city’s business community, through its Business Improvement Districts (BID’s), Birmingham City Council, transport authority Centro and National Express West Midlands.

Its goal is to lay the foundations for a comprehensive network of rapid transit, bus, rail, cycling and walking routes considered essential in supporting the city’s economy.

Gary Taylor, founding member of Altitude Real Estate and chairman of the Broad Street BID, said:

“The city and the region has to maximise the chance of attracting new investment and a return to growth.

“Transport is a major factor in investment decisions and a catalyst for growth. The Vision for Movement is all about ‘joined up’ thinking for getting around the city centre.

“It is vital to have simple routes and high quality travel options for moving around the city centre by walking, by car or on public transport for commuters and visitors.”

Centro Chief Executive Geoff Inskip added:

“The last 12 months have seen us make considerable progress towards the Vision’s goal of creating a well connected, efficient and walkable city.

“It has also seen Birmingham’s private and public sectors forge a close working relationship in order to find realistic and affordable transport solutions that will help underpin economic growth and the city’s prosperity in the years ahead.”

Vision for Movement also forms an important element of the wider Big City Plan, a far reaching strategy for how the heart of Birmingham should grow over the next two decades, taking into account key developments such as the proposed High Speed Rail link to London.

Cllr Mike Whitby, Leader of the City Council, said:

“Developing a modern, integrated and user friendly transport system is crucial to Birmingham’s continued development as a world-class city in which to live, work and do business.

“From the airport to Metro, New Street Gateway to the improved road network, we have clearly begun down a path of truly transformational change in how we travel within and beyond the city.”

The last 12 months have seen:

Tenders invited for the extension of the runway at Birmingham Airport with a view to starting work next year and completion by 2014. The project also includes a diversion of and transport improvements to the A45.

Massive internal construction work undertaken on the £600 million Gateway redevelopment of New Street Station.

Work is now moving externally with the installation of a new, eye-catching stainless steel facade. The redeveloped station is due for completion in 2015.

Government approval given for the extension of the Metro from Snow Hill Station to New Street Station with a £3.2 million bridge to carry trams over Great Charles Street already completed.

The extension is due for completion in 2015 – coinciding with New Street Gateway

Five Ways to Walsall agreed as the first Sprint route and costed at £11 million. A business case for the project is due for completion next month.

The start of a £14 million scheme to remove buses from Corporation Street by next summer and build a series of modern bus interchanges featuring high quality passenger infrastructure and travel information. Stops will start to move early in the New Year

The completion of concept work on the £3 million Birmingham Interconnect project which will see commonly designed direction signs and information points featuring maps and public transport details. Due to appear on-street from next Summer (2012).

Detailed design work carried out on a dedicated pedestrian route linking New Street Station, Moor Street Station and, in the longer term, the proposed High Speed Rail station in Curzon Street.

More than £25,000 of cycle storage commissioned, ready for installation at 13 city centre locations this winter. Feasibility and design work has also been carried out on a series of cycle hubs offering storage, bike hire, bike maintenance and cycle accessories.

Improvements to the pedestrian experience in Church Street in order to enhance the strategic link to the Jewellery Quarter

The briefing also heard how work was progressing on the Vision’s aim to increase 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 are also being developed to encourage cycling to and within the city centre.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Re-open Kings Heath, Brighton Road, Sutton Town, Sutton Park, Penns, Pelsall, Brownhills, Walsall North, Woverhampton L.L., Heath Town, Tettenhall, Wombourne, Brierley Hill,Amblecote, Gillott Road, Hagley Road & Harborne railways & Stations. Bristol Road, Tyburn Road & Hagley Road Tram routes.

  2. Michael Hill is seeking the near impossible with his station reopening list.  Some of his suggestions are very pertinent, others verging on the impossible due to other developments.  Also some of his suggestions do not take into account demographic and economic changes.

    The Camp Hill route is crucial (says this ex Camp Hill School Railway Society Secy from the 60s) and it should be developed before the new links into Moor St, which I chuckle at as I worked these out at school!  Some blindingly obvious changes have been ignored, not just by Mr Hill, but Centro’s planners as well.

    There are many possibilities East and North of Birmingham, but a random list of station reopenings does not make a rail agenda.  Three routes spring to mind in creating a Walsall focussed network:
    1) Stourbridge and Dudley to Wednesbury and Walsall, which could include a Tram-Train element possibly using some ex Manchester trams.
    2) Conventional rail services from Birmingham to Walsall via Sutton Park, with new stations serving ‘Heartlands’ and Castle Bromwich (Jaguar (Tata) Cars are expanding the ex Spitfire – Pressed Steel plant, and there is housing expansion at Minworth.  And Mr Hill you forgot Streetley (housing) and Aldridge, Centro’s proposal.
    3) The Cross-Walsall Black Country Link, operating alongside the local Tram-Train link with just 4 stops from Stourbridge to Walsall, continuing to Lichfield through Brownhilsl, on to Burton and even Derby, starting back from Worcester or Kidderminster.

    Think of what becomes a viable network, pepper-potting stations here and there benefits few.

    RHP B.Sc (Econ) MILT 

  3. you have my vote on this .You are talking about the Kingwinsford railway branch and the Wolverhampton and Walsall railway .It will be a matter of time that the railway line will reopen again . I wood also like to see the Wolverhampton Low level station as a HS2/Metro station that wood be great.

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