A big thank you to everyone who attended the Kings Heath and Moseley On the Move meeting on the 19th September – we had over 50 people there!
We had a great panel made up of:
Councillor Lisa Trickett
Helen Rehman, Neighbourhood Innovator
John Carrigan & Graham Lennard, Birmingham Cycle Revolution
David Harris, Road Safety
Helen Jenkins, Green Travel District & 20 is Safer Campaign
Amelia Murray, Place Manager
Tom Tierney, Kings Heath Residents Forum
Sgt Anna Wilson and PC Thomas Byrne, Moseley & Kings Heath Neighbourhood Team, West Midlands police
Below please find the notes of the meeting with a couple of photographs.
Welcome & Housekeeping – Helen Rehman welcomed all to the meeting and advised that it was intended to form an Action Group as an outcome to the meeting and encouraged residents to sign up. Comment sheets were available around the room.
Updates and Information from the Panel
Councillor Lisa Trickett said that from this meeting it was hoped to work with the community to shape a coherent plan and shape the next steps for transport across the Ward. As the City grew so did its car journeys, many of which were less than a few miles. Creating a Green Travel District for Moseley & Kings Heath would facilitate investigation into movement across the ward and also into Selly Oak, a popular destination for residents. A business case for the opening of Kings Heath Station had been accepted but the campaign for the station needed to continue.
As the Cabinet Member with responsibility, Councillor Trickett undertook to deliver on the Clean Air Zone. Kings Heath did not meet current permitted health levels and there were more children crossing King Heath High Street than any other in the City therefore radical action needed to be applied.
With regard to parking Councillor Spencer had taken on a number of issues which would be picked up over the next few months. All streets off the High Street had to be considered as dealing with one or two only would merely serve to move the problem on. Reference was made to evidence provided by local residents re School Road.
Tom Tierney made the following points;
He was making points concerning the Kings Heath part of the Ward – matters relating to Moseley would need to be added.
Air quality – Kings Heath High Street had been identified as one of the most polluted streets in Birmingham and although there had been a slight improvement in the last year there were still concerns, especially over diesel emissions which were now considered to be more dangerous than petrol emissions, particularly for young people and children. Serious action was needed, in particular to address diesel pollution in view of the numbers of school children coming into the ward.
HGV’s – associated not only to air pollution but also road safety. Along the A435 the risk to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians from HGV’s was great. HGV’s were not designed to travel into residential areas and therefore some restriction was required. There had been a number of deaths associated with HGV’s on the A345 but due to the frequency it had not been highlighted.
Roads & pavements – query the future of DIY Streets
Support for a Green Travel District and 20 is Safer zones
Pedestrian Crossings – there had been a number of deaths on/near crossings due to visibility/confusion so there was some work to do around this.
Pavements – congested with cyclists, skaters, bus stops, A-boards – need to regain pavement space for pedestrians.
Cycling Safety, especially for children.
Station – welcomed but thought needed to be given to access.
Graham Lennard outlined the BCR programme to 2018. From the consultation there had been support for proper cycle lane segregation but this conflicted with available space. There was a plan for the Alcester Road but it was a difficult route so currently the Council was concentrating on the Bristol Road and Walsall Road as a model. There was a Highbury Park route and views on the plans were sought. Safety for cyclists was a major issue so the GTD and 20mph zones would be helpful and a campaign was currently being undertaken with the Police around passing distances around cyclists.
John Carrigan reported on his role in promoting behaviour change to encourage more people to cycle through the Big Birmingham Bike Project. Volunteers were currently being recruited as ride leaders/ride instructors, anyone interested should contact John. Data was being collected from the bikes that had been given out and this would be used to inform future infrastructure investment and the health benefits of bikes.
Green Travel Districts & 20 is Safer
Helen Jenkins reported that the response from Kings Heath residents at the start of the 20mph process had been the highest and as Kings Heath was a special area with 12 schools, high traffic volume and a well-used shopping centre it had been the first pilot area. The speed limit would be legally enforceable on 10 October. Officers were currently working with communities to educate and reinforce the message.
With regard the Green Travel District Kings Heath was being looked at as a destination together with Moseley and commissioning work was being undertaken based on the census information. This was with a view to facilitating movement into Kings Heath Centre and reducing the number of car journeys. Officers were also working with Asda to change delivery times to reduce congestion, noise etc. The intention was to take forward the Green Travel Plan lead by the On The Move action group.
Residents then made the following comments;
The current situation re speed limits was confusing for drivers and therefore motorists were ignoring all of the speed limits. Would the 20mph be enforced?
Councillor Trickett advised a joint protocol was being devised with the Police for residents to report via a portal, motorists in breach of the limit and this would help to monitor problematic areas. Residents scheme would also be in place to record speeds, engage with the police and target action as had been the case on Oxford Road. Sergeant Anna Wilson advised the police were ready to take targeted action where resources allowed as soon as the speed limits were enforceable. Police would work on enforcement and education and involve residents. There had been an extensive amount of work with schools, community events and a media campaign and it was also hoped that residents would help spread the word. Councillor Trickett agreed that leaflets/letters might have to be sent to some roads where there had been confusion but said that it was up to all to publicise.
Residents divided into 3 groups to discuss and come up with priorities for Moseley & Kings Heath as follows;
Table 1 – priorities – marketing, sustainability & street design. Street design was of most concern as the local roads were too narrow for the amount of traffic etc, although it was stressed that ‘one size did not fit all’ for all roads leading off the High Street. Enforcement was also key to improvement to prevent pavement parking, parking on double yellow lines etc – consideration should be given to creating a by-law to prevent pavement parking. Joint patrols between police and traffic wardens had been seen as a positive. Residents were encouraged to report parking issues via 101 so that hotspots can be identified for further work.
Table 2 – priority – 20mph speed limit – enforcement was the key and once motorists adhered to the limits road safety would be improved. However publicity was needed to make the community aware – suggestions of bumper stickers, poster campaign, advertising on buses and taxis, not just information by email. Cycle provision at traffic lights was also a priority.
Table 3 – priorities – railway, congestion in School Road, active streets, air quality, reducing car usage and enforcement. Queried the resources available at a local level to help make things happen. Active Streets – people needed to talk to be able to solve problems and feedback to the Council. Better communication was key. ‘DIY Residential Streets Groups’
Other points raised via the flip charts:
Suggestions of a council tax rebate for good driving
Leaflets and hard copy publicity needed as well as social media for traffic & speed initiative’s
Broader and safer access to public transport needed
More ramps and double yellow lines needed for mobility vehicles
Parking and pavement parking issues should be given a higher priority
Community networks are vital in spreading traffic messages
Councillor Trickett spoke of the success of Active Streets not only in improving the environment but in dealing with community tensions, involving new comers etc.
Enforcement was a key issue – what could be done?
David Harris outlined BCC powers to enforce TRO’s (Traffic Regulation Orders). With regard to parking issues residents parking schemes had been considered ie Addison Road but it was acknowledged that streets could not be dealt with in isolation as this would merely ‘move the problem on’ so the area as a whole needed a scheme. This took time to process and objections had to be taken into account but where schemes had been introduced elsewhere they had been a success. There were powers available to ban pavement parking and this was being trialled in the east of the City.
Much of the problem was to do with behaviour – there were actions that could be taken but behaviour was the key. Citizens had rights but also had responsibilities and the City Council needed to be better at engagement and getting that message across.
Policies /framework were being put into place to affect behavioural change and work was taking place with resident champions and through community events and schools. Bumper stickers could be provided and adverts would be displayed on fleet & waste management vehicles and by National Express.
Bill boards at the Brighton Road junction and Sainsbury bill boards could be used to publicise the 20mph campaign and A-boards along Moor Green Lane.
Word of mouth was important in spreading the message.
The Reddings Road/ Alcester Road junction was very dangerous but the introduction of double yellow lines on the corners could make an impact on road safety. Councillor Trickett made reference to shared funding arrangement with Moseley Hall Hospital and Councillor Spencer confirmed she had met with the Hospital in view of the effect on the local community and safety issues and she would take the request forward.
Moseley Public Realm Group (formerly Shared Space initiative) referenced the work of volunteers in making Moseley Village a shared space rather than a place travelled through and requested that this work be recognised. The meeting was assured that the work around ‘shared space’ was ‘on the radar’ however, it was not being progressed at the moment. Once heavy freight traffic is diverted to use alternative routes into the city, the idea could be looked at again, but at the moment such as a scheme would be too dangerous. Other factors in the future might make shared space a viable opportunity such as the opening of Marks and Spencer’s or the station.
Vehicle hierarchy needed to be re-prioritised so that cyclists and pedestrians took priority over cars and traffic. Plans needed to be bolder. Advised the Clean Air Zone would have an impact and there were bold plans coming forward to ensure Birmingham remained the centre of attention. 20mph zones were the first step in prioritising pedestrians.
Public transport needed to be more attractive to encourage better use