THE new cycle lane on Blossomfield Road is causing a wave of opposition among residents, writes Ross Crawford.
A glance at the Shirley Solihull Residents page on Facebook shows few positive comments and plenty against with ‘it’s a joke’ and ‘an accident waiting to happen’ high among the phrases used.
People complain about being stuck behind buses or cars turning right, that pedestrians getting off buses will have to cross the cycle lane etc
It also brought a phone call to the Solihull Observer office on Thursday – had I seen the state of the new cycle lane on Blossomfield?
I promised to go out there the next day and take a look. . . . . and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Now I admit me and Blossomfield Road have got form.
I was knocked off my bike by a school runner there nearly 20 years ago when I was editor of the old Solihull News.
I was going into town, the bike lane was full of nose to tail crawling vehicles and I was hit by a car emerging from a gap in the traffic and turning right.
Front wheel buckled, but no harm down.
Then elsewhere, on Monday this week, I was nearly taken out by another school runner pulling out of a bike lane as I overtook her, my swerve nearly sending me into the ongoing traffic!
Now the beauty of the Blossomfield bike lane is that going into town it takes traffic away from the cyclists, a bonus for both.
Driving out of town the cyclists and the drivers can see each other.
Within the bike lane it also puts responsibility on the cyclist to keep to their lane for what is two way two-wheeled traffic.
On top of that the lane is also on the same side of the road as Tudor Grange School, Alderbrook School and the College making for safer routes to education.
My only gripe was the fudge along Cranmore Boulevard and Widney Lane rather than straight up Marshall Lake Road, my old route to the office.
However Councillor Ken Hawkins, portfolio holder for infrastructure, said he hoped funds would become available by early summer to complete the Marshall Lake Road section.
Speaking of the Blossomfield development, he said: “I’m so keen on what we have here – it’s about managing changes.
“Most people want dedicated cycle lanes and this was one of three roads identified several years ago.
“Of course with retrofitting a cycle lane there have to be some changes but I believe what the officers have come up with is a cracking design that adheres to all the current guidelines and has been reviewed and approved by cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
“We need extra funding for the next stage and we’re hoping for good news in June or July.
“It would mean that from Wythall, Dickens Heath and into town you have a dedicated safe cycle route to convince people and parents to allow their kids to cycle to school.
“It’s not anti-car it’s about taking steps to reduce congestion and giving people more choice.”