‘Rat run’ fear over decision to open up street to through traffic.
Birmingham city council is being urged to drop a proposal to turn a leafy Edgbaston Road into a rat-run. The council proposes to introduce a right turn from the A38 Bristol Road into Wellington Road, which runs through the heart of the suburb. Local residents fear an increase in traffic from commuters looking for a short cut towards the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. There are also concerns about speeding as Edgbaston has not yet had the 20mph limits on residential streets introduced that has been done in other districts of Birmingham.
Residents objected to the plans for the right turn included in a consultation on the A38 cycle route held earlier this year. Not one resident of Wellington Road supported opening up the street to through traffic. A new statutory consultation has been ordered to enable the council to press ahead with introducing the right-turn despite fierce resistance to it from both cyclists and local residents.
Chris Lowe, chair of Push Bikes, the Birmingham Cycling Campaign, commented “Birmingham City Council has a strategic policy (Birmingham Connected) to contain the growth of car use and Wellington Road is a recommended cycle route. It is wrong for the council to encourage more motor traffic along this road. Cyclists wholeheartedly support the A38 cycle scheme but have repeatedly made clear our opposition to more rat-running along this road. This contradicts the council’s stated policy”.
Peter Arnold, chairman of the Calthorpe Residents’ Society, notes that “This proposal is in spite of results of the previous consultation where virtually every local resident who responded objected. We support the cycle track proposals, but opening up Wellington Road to right turns from Bristol Road seems an extraordinarily dangerous idea, bearing in mind the volume of traffic on Bristol Road and the well recognized problems of ensuring safe right turns.”
Kevin Chapman, Chair, West Midlands Campaign for Better Transport said that, “Local people have had enough of speeding cars, congestion and inconsiderate parking. They want something done, with a 20 mph limit introduced now, and some proactive enforcement to tackle speeding motorists from West Midlands Police. They do not want their road to become a rat-run. The council must recognise the need for sustainable transport if Edgbaston is to retain its character as the ‘Garden Suburb’ a short walk from the bustle of Birmingham city centre. The cycle project is sustainable transport; the rat-run is not.”
The consultation is to be found on-line on the Birmingham Be Heard portal and closes on 21 December 2017.