A new segregated route into Solihull town centre which protects pedestrians, joggers and cyclists has been shortlisted for a national award.
The 3km Active Travel route along the A34 to Solihull town centre, incorporating Blossomfield Road, uses Department for Transport funding which was made available in response to the reduction in car use during the pandemic. The innovative design balances the needs of users on the busy corridor by reallocating road space to create a segregated lane, with a physical barrier using wands and orcas, for cyclists, joggers and walkers. Space for the active travel route was created by removing central hatching and reducing lane widths, but no road lanes were lost in the creation of the route.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, Cllr Ken Hawkins, said: “I’m really proud of this innovative new active travel route and I’m pleased that it has been shortlisted for the Active Travel Scheme of the Year Award at the national Highways Awards. While I acknowledge that some people don’t see the benefits of the scheme, I am starting to see more and more people using the new route to travel actively into the town centre.
“We have listened to the concerns expressed and will continue to monitor the use of the route. As a result, we have created more signage, additional lines and lane buffers and we have smoothed out the gradients by the bus stops. There are still a few more tweaks to be made over the next few weeks but I think we are nearly there now.
“This is very much a pilot scheme for Solihull, but we need to be experimental if we are going to reduce the use of polluting motor vehicles on our roads and encourage clean air alternatives. The more people that can be encouraged to walk, cycle or jog the better for our air quality and of course the health of the people who make those changes. It is simply not sustainable to continue as we are with polluting vehicles using finite oil resources. We need to try new ways of travelling and this new route complements other pilot schemes across the borough, such as bicycles for hire, free and low cost cycle training, walking and cycling groups in order to meet our Net Zero Action Plan.
“Lastly, I would add that confident cyclists can still cycle in the road lanes. The new route is about offering a safe, segregated alternative for less experienced cyclists who would like to cycle safely but don’t currently have the confidence to cycle alongside cars driving at speed.”
The Active Travel Scheme of the Year Award takes place in London on 19 October.