Birmingham follows Bruges.

Mike Sales
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Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Mike Sales » 20 Jan 2020, 12:48pm

Instead of car noise there's birdsong.

Birmingham – once, proudly, the UK’s “motorway city” – has announced plans to entice people out of cars and on to bikes and buses. If officials get their way, the city will be split into zones, and, rather than driving direct, motorists will have to use the ring road for all zone-to-zone journeys.
Those travelling by foot and bicycle in the new Brum won’t be inconvenienced: their journeys will be simple and – with fewer cars – safer. With cars out of the way, bus journeys will become swifter and more reliable.
The Birmingham transport plan, launched last week, was influenced by Ghent’s zone-centred traffic circulation plan of 2017. This medieval Belgian city – a quarter of the size of Birmingham – demonstrated that it was possible to switch attitudes overnight. Streets were blocked to motorists one Sunday evening and – to the disappointment of the waiting media –there was no wailing, no gnashing of teeth, no gridlock.


Optimistic Guardian article.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/20/how-a-belgian-port-city-inspired-birminghams-car-free-ambitions

visionset
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby visionset » 20 Jan 2020, 1:46pm

In recent months I count, Birmingham, York, Bristol* and Brighton jumping on the bandwagon, at this rate even Barnsley et al might be joining up by the end of the year. <optimistic mode off/>

* okay so just a diesel ban, at least that ones the most concrete.

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Mick F
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Mick F » 20 Jan 2020, 2:12pm

Birmingham has more canals than Venice.
Bruges makes a point of tourism on the canals, like Venice does.

............. just thought I'd chuck that into the mix. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

mattheus
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby mattheus » 20 Jan 2020, 2:15pm

… and Venice are expanding their canals, at the expense of their streets and Plazas ...

Mike Sales
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Mike Sales » 20 Jan 2020, 2:24pm

mattheus wrote:… and Venice are expanding their canals, at the expense of their streets and Plazas ...


From what I've seen on TV travel shows, canal traffic is not limited to gondolas. There seem to be too many thoughtlessly driven motor boats too. Have I not heard that their wash is undermining palazzi (is that correct)?
Traffic does not look like as dense as city roads though.
Cruise ships in the lagoon are a problem too. Have you seen the footage of them docked against the city, and looming over it?

tim-b
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby tim-b » 21 Jan 2020, 5:39am

Hi
You can't ride a bike (or push one) in historic Venice. You can ride on mainland Venice but you have to leave bikes on the mainland at somewhere like the Venezia-Mestre railway station, in Trento street. Mild thread drift, but it might be of interest to some
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

softlips
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby softlips » 21 Jan 2020, 9:07am

visionset wrote:In recent months I count, Birmingham, York, Bristol* and Brighton jumping on the bandwagon, at this rate even Barnsley et al might be joining up by the end of the year.


I grew up in Barnsley, they’ve not started using oil based fuels there yet, still steam vehicles powered by coal. :D

Carlton green
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Carlton green » 21 Jan 2020, 11:10am

A friend of mine lives in Birmingham with his wife, they were in the city centre but have just moved out a few miles. They report that Birmingham is regularly grid-locked.

As I understand it Birmingham are introducing congestion charging for the central areas and whilst he was in favour of the reasons for it it (as far as I know) didn’t recognise the financial costs on folk who live in those central areas. Work wise not having a car is pretty much impractical for his wife but he’s able to cycle or take public transport to his (current) place of work.

I’m supportive of what Birmingham are doing and hope that it works out well, but I really wonder whether the detail of what’s happening there understands the real difficulties of residents struggling to get by in their daily lives. As a knock on if cars can no longer go through the City Centre then they will have to use the ring roads, that’s very bad news if you happen to live on or near a ring road. I don’t think that there are any easy answers - well not ones that are helpful to the vast bulk of people I know and meet - but it is still right to aspire to a better world.

fullupandslowingdown
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 21 Jan 2020, 12:30pm

As a lesser well paid minion meself I know whenever the real cost of motoring goes up, it hurts me more than Lord two jags prezza. But we really have to do something about motoring. It seems that whatever solution someone comes up with, there is a vocal minority clamouring to squash it. Until humans learn to take only what they need, and to carefully consider what they really need in the first place i.e not to have to drive to the local shop for a packet of fags and a daily mail, then some sort of compulsion has to be used to restrict car usage.

Employers should be strongly encouraged to recruit local people instead of those who would have no choice but to drive to work. That would make a significant difference to rush hour, as would scrapping this nonsense of supposed freedom to choose your brat's school which results in the jam worsening school run, schools should be forced to restrict applicants beyond walking distance to say less than 5% of the roll, increased only if necessary for to accommodate students from villages without schools.

Villages and hamlets without schools, significant employment prospects, health and recreation facilities and shops should be green belted and further housing banned. We don't need to build in the countryside yet more over priced houses that only well paid professionals can afford. There is plenty of brownfield sites in towns that are been landbanked. Considering how much property is been compulsorily purchased ahead of the HS2 development, there is no legal or financial reason why inner city sites can't be purchased if the owners continue to refuse to develop. Additionally, an even higher percentage of affordable housing needs to be built, and the definition of affordable adjusted down to match the actual income of the majority of working class citizens.

New roads, and suitable existing roads should be redesigned with really usable joined up bus lanes and cycle lanes even at the expense of drivability of car users. Otherwise short lengths of bus lanes as are typical of many towns are as much use as some of the worst examples of cycle lanes thatw e all can think of which last 10 yards before throwing you into either fast moving traffic or a brick wall (or a bus stop shelter) It's amazing but there are still some cities that don't have proper park and ride facilities even in 2020. Shame on you Lincoln!! And as for sunday public transport ha ha h.

When a train ticket for even just one person is more than the cost of driving a car, let alone 2 or 3 people sharing, there is something fundamentally wrong with the business system. We like to claim how much less CO2 a train uses compared to a car per person, and we know that staffing levels are much lower than the 1950s, so where exactly is all the money going. The answer being, a massive wodge of it is going to investment banks who own the majority of railway coaches and locomotives and lease them to the operators at racketeering prices. This business model is in part inherent to the present franchise model where an operator cannot realistically afford to spend over a million pounds on each and every item of rolling stock when they might lose the franchise to another bidder in 12 years time.

There are so many small and big pieces of the puzzle to fix in order to reduce car usage. Maybe the most urgent is our system of government. Maybe like the railway franchise model, we need to both lengthen the election terms to allow for long term planning, and to introduce proportional representation so that even if it results in a coalition, more of the voters feel that their voice is being heard.

Carlton green
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Carlton green » 21 Jan 2020, 2:50pm

Although it’s a bit black and white the above is, I think, amongst the best comments I’ve read on this forum. Well said Sir (or Madam, if that’s the case).

Personally I think that it’s wise to temper all things whilst still heading in good directions. With regard to work, and distances from, I think that that is a troubled issue and a good example of where tempering is needed. In this specialist world your skills and place of occupation can well be some distance from the place where ones spouse (or partner) works and likewise that of adult children still at home. However employers should be mindful of where their staff commute from and do a lot more to both employ locally and facilitate green travel too. As employers are unlikely to do this voluntarily I’d be looking at quotas and legislation, a tempered response and one does need to be mindful of damaging rural communities which are too often kept alive by commuters.

Housing is a big issue and everyone wants to live somewhere nice and somewhere that will grow in value. We really do need to rethink the complete exception of first homes from capital gains tax and reset the focus on homes being places to live rather than investments. As for somewhere nice to live it’s people who make slums rather than Architects, areas can be transformed for the better by people power. We also need to look at where developers are actually allowed to build, if there is no local employment for the buyers then planning permission needs to take that into account.

I could expand further on fullupandslowing’s points but we’re basically in agreement. With regard to Birmingham when my friend moved house he very much had in mind travel (commuting) arrangements and bought accordingly. Public transport that is available, affordable and worth using is an essential part of moving people out of their cars and polluting forms of transport. Birmingham does have public transport but whether it’s up to making a real positive difference is an ongoing question.

rmurphy195
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby rmurphy195 » 22 Jan 2020, 6:26pm

Mick F wrote:Birmingham has more canals than Venice.
Bruges makes a point of tourism on the canals, like Venice does.

............. just thought I'd chuck that into the mix. :D


If you know Birmingham centre you will also know that its mosty pedestrianised in any case.

What they are talking about is closing the underpasses that go under all this lot - so through traffic will have to go around the inner ring road - which is already full, and will be busier later this year when the pollution charge comes in. Shame about those who live alongside it who will have theier pollution and danger levels increased.

Unhappily - for those who live or work there - the areas concerned also include areas of social and city centre living homes, student accomodation (note the need to "deliver" students with thier bags and baggage to the accomodation), all the theatres and thier associated car parks, inclidng theatres that put on amateur productions (no, I would not want my daughter to have to find her way home late at night after appearing in a show), hospitals etc. I think one of the HS2 terminals might be in the middle of this lot as well. Did I mention the Children's Hospital?

Those that live in the zone have a period of grace in which to replace thier vehicles - laughable because these are not wealthy people and have no hope of raising the money to do so.

And nowhere have I found in the proposals any park-and-ride facilities especially late at night for those wishing to travel into, rather than through, the town centre.

Bruges has underground car parks surrounding the town centre, you walk up out of the car park and into the town - which isn't very big, having walked across it a number of times it is smaller than the area bounded by the inner ring road. Not a good comparison at all, and I wouldn't mind betting they put the alternatives in before shutting off the streets. In fact from that point of view birmingham is currently very much like this now, in that the pedestrianised centre of things is surrounded by car parks - which will become marooned!

Bristol has P&R (which I use when I go there) but it shuts down around 9pm or so.

Shrewsbury's P & R finishes around 6 or 7pm, and if you're late you might find your car locked in with a hefty release fee as I recollect - so having worked late, you have to pay for a taxi to get you there then pay a hefty fine. Hardly an encouragement.

All I'm saying is - the whole thing smacks of money raising and knee-jerk politics rather than a proper effort to deal with the problem - I would think differently if the infrastructure was put in place before the bans/charges rather than afterwards - or not at all.
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Mick F
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Mick F » 22 Jan 2020, 8:49pm

Good post. Thanks.

I don't know Brum at all, so can't comment.
As for P+R closing at night, why for goodness sake?

In Plymouth on the A386 just to the north of the city centre it is 24/7/365.
Mick F. Cornwall

visionset
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby visionset » 23 Jan 2020, 1:21pm

Mick F wrote:Good post. Thanks.

I don't know Brum at all, so can't comment.
As for P+R closing at night, why for goodness sake?

In Plymouth on the A386 just to the north of the city centre it is 24/7/365.


Demand I guess, P&R was probably only ever there to solve congestion. But it is an easy fix eh!

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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Pete Owens » 23 Jan 2020, 5:48pm

Carlton green wrote:Personally I think that it’s wise to temper all things whilst still heading in good directions. With regard to work, and distances from, I think that that is a troubled issue and a good example of where tempering is needed. In this specialist world your skills and place of occupation can well be some distance from the place where ones spouse (or partner) works and likewise that of adult children still at home.

This is getting cause and effect confused. (a common mistake of transport planners)

People make their lifestyle choices depending on the transport infrastructure available not vice versa. A typical commute has been about 40 minutes since the dawn of civilisation. As higher speed transport modes became available people made decisions about where they lived and worked involving greater travel. The victorian railway boom opened up the possibly of living remote from your place of work - they were not built to meet the existing needs of people walking 20 miles to & from work; the commuter towns sprung up around the stations.

The more recent move towards mass motoring has seen the same pattern. People are still constrained by how far they can drive in 40 minutes, they do have a greater but still not-unlimited choices. We should never forget that these are still choices that individuals make (choices that those of us who consider ourselves "cyclists" refrain from making) - not circumstances imposed by the constraints of modern living.

Of course people who have accumulated a series of decisions based on the availability of private motors tend to become car dependent. They see this as the way the world is they; live in A, work at B, marry someone from C, do their shopping at D so they think they need their car, rather than have chosen a lifestyle to take advantage of it.

Carlton green
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Re: Birmingham follows Bruges.

Postby Carlton green » 23 Jan 2020, 6:16pm

Pete Owens wrote:
Carlton green wrote:Personally I think that it’s wise to temper all things whilst still heading in good directions. With regard to work, and distances from, I think that that is a troubled issue and a good example of where tempering is needed. In this specialist world your skills and place of occupation can well be some distance from the place where ones spouse (or partner) works and likewise that of adult children still at home.

This is getting cause and effect confused. (a common mistake of transport planners)

People make their lifestyle choices depending on the transport infrastructure available not vice versa. A typical commute has been about 40 minutes since the dawn of civilisation. As higher speed transport modes became available people made decisions about where they lived and worked involving greater travel. The victorian railway boom opened up the possibly of living remote from your place of work - they were not built to meet the existing needs of people walking 20 miles to & from work; the commuter towns sprung up around the stations.

The more recent move towards mass motoring has seen the same pattern. People are still constrained by how far they can drive in 40 minutes, they do have a greater but still not-unlimited choices. We should never forget that these are still choices that individuals make (choices that those of us who consider ourselves "cyclists" refrain from making) - not circumstances imposed by the constraints of modern living.

Of course people who have accumulated a series of decisions based on the availability of private motors tend to become car dependent. They see this as the way the world is they; live in A, work at B, marry someone from C, do their shopping at D so they think they need their car, rather than have chosen a lifestyle to take advantage of it.


I’m rather puzzled by the logic of the above, my World certainly isn’t that simple neither is the World of my friends and family.

In today’s employment market ones opportunities for working near home are comparatively good, but to start a career and continue in it I’ve had no choice (other than unemployment or stacking shelves in a Supermarket) other than to drive thousands of miles. Such commuting wasn’t fun and I’d have loved to do things differently. Perhaps I’m daft but if so I find my self amongst the vast bulk of the population and rubbing shoulders with some very able people who similarity would like better solutions.

I do think that the lives of people do need restructuring and that people are open to change. Just give people the tools and they will, as best they can, make green and good choices; it’s all a matter of education, information and (particularly) facilitation.

Anyway, we are getting into thread drift. I’m inclined to think that a knee jerk reaction has taken place in Birmingham and pity the folk who live in its centre. What they need is help but I suspect that they’ll get little of that and shifting traffic onto the ring road simply creates a further problem ... oh for some joined up thinking.