LETTER: We must seize this opportunity to gain better cycle routes
A reader believes the government must create better cycle routes.
Further to the recent coverage of the prospects and need for a strategic regional cycling and walking network for the post-Covid era, may I alert fellow readers to a report I have written for the June 8 meeting of the West Midlands Transport Delivery Committee, of which I am vice-chair.
My report argues for the West Midlands to bid for its full share of the £2bn Government funding available nationally over the next five years, to create a fully-inclusive strategic cycling/walking network linking all major centres in the Black Country, Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.
It’s based on my experiences of cycling hundreds of miles in the Black Country and part of Birmingham as part of my lockdown exercise hours, much of it along canal towpaths and disused rail lines
My personal preference is for off-highway facilities wherever possible, simply on safety grounds, and providing direct routes can be provided using alternative, especially towpaths, disused rail lines, and existing park and green space paths.
There is already lots of good stuff out there, but the problem is that the bits don’t always link up and, in addition, even on good stretches of cycle route, such as the towpath between Birmingham and Wolverhampton city centre, there are numerous obstacles to full access, so that adults with limited mobility using recumbent tricycles or mobility scooters, and parents with buggies and pushchairs, can’t access the full route: I therefore argue for a programme of removing existing impediments to full inclusion for all, and for new routes to be designed to be fully inclusive as a matter of course.
Interested readers are welcome to request copies of my five-page report which I can either e-mail or post (on receipt of a stamped, addressed, envelope). My contact details are: Wrekin View, 46 Winn House, Walsall, WS2 8NW; firstname.lastname@example.org; 07522 215853.
I hope lots of readers will read, and feed back on, the report, and encourage their local councils to grasp the opportunity that is now there to make the important and much-needed shift towards the more sustainable, healthier way of getting from A to B that a fully-inclusive strategic cycling and walking network for work and recreational trips will enable.
Cllr Richard Worrall, Vice-Chair, West Midlands
Transport Delivery Committee