The Government is backing plans for pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements, and several other measures, to encourage more cycling and walking across the West Midlands.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and its partner councils a £3.85 million grant to implement these fast-track measures over the next two months.
TfWM has a list of more than 45 projects, including a pop-up cycle lane linking Coventry city centre to the Canal Basin, a Birmingham city centre cycle lane connecting the A38 and A34 blue routes, and road closures to improve pedestrian and cycle safety in Wolverhampton city centre.
TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and the seven councils are now in discussion over the allocation of the extra funding.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is fantastic that the DfT has not just fully endorsed our quick start plans to get more people cycling and walking this summer but offered extra funding. This money will be used to create a range of pop-up cycle lanes and reallocate road space and widen pavements to make it safer and easier for people to get around on two wheels and two feet.
“We have seen a significant shift towards cycling and walking during the coronavirus outbreak and as we emerge from lockdown we want to provide safe alternatives to car use so that we can maintain both the health and environmental benefits we have clearly seen.”
The investment also meets the WMCA’s aims of improving the region’s health and reducing carbon emissions, as set out in the #WM2041 plan to tackle climate change.
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This emergency funding will deliver results for our residents right away. In fact, some schemes have already been implemented to allow people to walk and cycle in greater safety as we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.
“But this is just one part of a £40 million investment in cycling and walking we are making across the West Midlands, which will deliver long-term improvements and offer people a safe, healthy and fun alternative to the car while helping us reduce traffic congestion and improve the air we breathe.”
This wider investment includes the £23 million Transforming Cities Fund and a further £14 million Emergency Active Travel Fund grants, which are being used to create permanent cycling and walking infrastructure.