A NETWORK of new safe cycle lanes is set to be constructed in the West Midlands – including major routes in Coventry and Solihull.
West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) chiefs have reaffirmed their commitment to encouraging the switch to pedal power.
Ambitious plans – including the potential for £250million investment in cycling infrastructure – were set out in a report endorsed by chiefs last week.
The plans, to be executed over five phases, include three new lanes in Coventry which will cost about £24million.
There could also be four new lanes in Solihull worth £44million – including a £20million 13km route on the A45 to Birmingham.
The Coventry cycle routes would connect Coventry University on Binley Road to Walsgrave Hospital, the city centre to Warwick University via Hearsall Common and the city centre and Holbrooks via the B4098.
The other routes in Solihull include B4102 Dickens Heath to Solihull town centre, Balsall Common to Stonebridge via A452 and Shirley to Bentley Heath.
WMCA chiefs aim to raise cycling investment to at least £10 a head each year to encourage a change in culture.
The region-wide approach to cycling – a first for the West Midlands – puts forward 26 priority corridors in total for investment covering nearly 200km.
The report also set out plans for the appointment of a cycling and walking ambassador for the region, a flagship cycling corridor and support for councils to deliver local schemes.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Cycling can reduce traffic congestion, improve health and wellbeing and reduce pollution.
“It is good for the cyclist and good for the wider travelling public so we have set out ambitious targets to increase the number of journeys made by bike in the region.
“This shows the scale of our ambitions for cycling but we also know that one of the biggest barriers to cycling is safety, so we are planning to focus investment on 26 key routes that link communities across the West Midlands and offer people a genuine alternative to their cars.”
The government’s cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman, who visited Birmingham last week, said: “Getting people cycling and walking is key to improving air quality, encouraging healthy exercise, and boosting our high streets and economic productivity.
“These new safe cycle routes, which the Department for Transport is supporting through the Transforming Cities Fund, will help to make cycling the natural choice for journeys across the region.”
It is also forecast that a total of £104million will be invested in West Midlands cycling infrastructure by a range of organisations over the next four years, the report states.