Thirteen streets off the main road through Lozells are to have traffic restrictions imposed on them as part of a six-month experiment to try to reduce pollution.
The government funded scheme is set to begin by the end of August and will see the city council offering local residents and traders the chance to comment online during the trial instead of having traditional face to face meetings before a project even begins.
A series of “modal filters” will be installed where local feeder streets meet the B4144 Lozells Road which is home to health services, fashion outlets, convenience stores, food outlets and places of worship.
The term has been coined to illustrate how pedestrians and cyclists will be able to travel in both directions at these points, but not vehicles.
Kings Heath High Street is also becoming the centre of an identical experiment where traders say the feeder roads “will become cul-de-sacs.”
Both areas have been divided up into four “cells”.
Key streets within each cell have been identified for “modal filters” to restrict access people on two wheels or on foot, while roads around them will remain as thoroughfares.
Traders in Kings Heath have pointed out that even firms making internet deliveries will be tested by the new restrictions, never mind their own shops which they say rely on customers arriving by car.
Birmingham City Council only published maps of the two areas on July 24, but say the need to acquire government funding for the schemes means they will be operational by the end of August while “online consultations” with local residents and traders will remain open throughout the trial.
At the end of the six months, the scheme could continue as is or be modified.
In January, the council published a City Centre Traffic Cells Initiative as part of a draft Birmingham Transport Plan.
On June 8 it issued a press release to say such plans were being brought forward.
The release listed concepts such as “pop-up cycle lanes”, a “park and pedal programme”, “places for people” and the “reallocation of road space and pavement widening”, without detailing what any of that would mean for either Kings Heath or Lozells until maps were published online on Friday, July 24.
The plans to restrict access to and from the high streets is part of “Places for People” which the city council says is “about reducing the amount of traffic in residential neighbourhoods so that it is nicer to be outside and safer for people to walk and cycle, children to play, neighbours to chat.”
In May it published the Emergency Birmingham Transport Plan which confirmed: “The traffic cells initiative seeks to reduce the dominance of cars, create safe spaces for walking and cycling and prioritise public transport.
“This approach is highly appropriate to the COVID-19 recovery plan to create more space for active travel and social distancing, particularly as economic activity in the city centre increases and some hospitality venues are permitted to reopen.”
The Lozells areas selected
The following streets are where “modal filters” will be introduced within each of the four “cells” created in Lozells.
Most restrictions will involve the roads leading to Lozells Road between and including Mayfield Road and Wilton Street on its northern side and between and including George Street and Berners Street on the south side.
Cell 1: Where the south side of Lozells Road meets George Street, Church Street, Anglesey Street, Burbury Street, Carpenter’s Road, Lozells Street and Berners Street; Hunters Road between Barker Street and Wills Street; Wills Street on the Lozells Wood Close side of George Street.
Cell 2: Where north side of Lozells Road meets Mayfield Road, Finch Road, Frances Road, Archibald Road, Hartington Road and Witton Street
Cell 3: Melbourne Avenue close to Wheeler Street; Farm Street between Farm Croft and Burbury Street South.
Cell 4: Porchester Road between Summer Lane and New Town Row.
In May, Lozells was said to have been at the “epicentre” of the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
In the first week of July, a walk-in testing centre was opened on Villa Street – partly because some people in the area were said to have no access to a car to get to other centres.
MP Khalid Mahmood said: “It’s important that people who find it difficult to travel can get tests. I’ve had a significant number of people not able to get to test centres by driving so this is good news.”
Thoughts so far on the consultation site
Local traders and residents and anyone else affected by the plans in Lozells can post their comments online here
But only two of the first 20 people to post said they lived in the area.
Early views include:
My main experience of the area over many years is as a commuting cyclist making my way to Perry Barr from the City or from Edgbaston. The A34 Blue Route would have made my life much easier for 20 years. As an experienced cyclist I was never too worried about riding in these streets but the move to an LTN with less through traffic will make the whole area much safer for families, young people, pedestrians and new cyclists. The air quality and road safety should be much improved also. Congratulations on developing this scheme in such a short time.
- I’m delighted to see these proposals for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Local residents will benefit from safer streets, lower pollution levels and an environment that will encourage neighbourliness.
I visit Lozells occasionally as I travel around the city for work and with family. Anything that makes it easier and safer to get around the city makes sense to me.
- Wholeheartedly support the Places for People project and philosophy. I’m an infrequent user of the A34 bike path. Unclear why LTNs can’t be rolled out to the East side of the A34.
These plans will make all road users more equal (walking, cycling, scooting, mobility vehicles). Children walking to school on their own again?
- Nobody was ever consulted about the way our streets have evolved. The total dominance of the private car in local neighbourhoods has been allowed to ruin many peoples lives.
We need to make this area safe and healthy for kids to grow up in. We have too much pollution (inc. too many kids with asthma especially). It’s time we copied the safe, clean neighbourhood designs that Sadiq Khan has got spreading across all of London already. Let’s catch up.
- I’ve only visited Lozells on my way to the reservoir. I understand residents might have other priorities, but that LTN could reduce the business of the area. Stop cars racing through and provide more open space for residents. I feel that LTN might not be a priority, but after 6 months of reduced traffic the folk that live there will feel a benefit.
We need something done in Handsworth. There are locations where low traffic neighbourhoods could be trialed. I wonder if drivers will now use roads in Handsworth due to low traffic in neighbourhoods in Lozells; transferring the issue of air racism from one area of deprivation to another.
- Congratulations to Lozells for being selected for this. This seems to indicate that the city’s approach is rightfully incorporating issues of equity and spatial justice into its emergency plan. Ladywood next, please!
Schemes in other areas
As well as Lozells and Kings Heath two other areas are to have “modal filters” installed on two roads each.
Trial modal filter measures will be introduced on Oak Tree Lane, to the south of the junction with Woodbrooke Road and on Franklin Road, to the west of the junction with Linden Road/Watford Road.
Modal filters to be introduced on Yatesbury Avenue, to the south-west of Biggin Close and on Cosford Crescent, to the north of the junction with Tangmere Drive.
To comment on any of the schemes in Kings Heath, Castle Vale, Lozells or Bournville, click here
Measures to introduce social distancing in Stirchley are also being introduced and you can comment about those on the same link, too.