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New plans unveiled to tackle air pollution in Birmingham

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The newly unveiled Paradise Public Transport Improvement Scheme looks to respond to the city’s air pollution challenges by prioritising the road for buses, trams, taxis (hackney carriage) and bicycles. 

Paradise Circus, renamed Lyon Queensway, was initially closed to through traffic in September 2018 in order to facilitate phase one of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension to the current Library terminus and the Paradise redevelopment.

The road is within the city’s Clean Air Zone, which launches on 1 June. The Zone is being introduced as part of Birmingham’s commitment to improving air quality by reducing the volume of polluting vehicles entering the city.

Private cars will continue to be able to use the tunnel beneath Paradise for through trips on the A38 whilst maintaining access to key locations within the area.

Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, said: “I am absolutely committed to de-carbonising transport, reducing air pollution and improving travel and transport across the city.

“To achieve this vision, we must ensure that public transport is constantly improving to make journeys quicker, easier and more reliable.”

The government has also committed to funding a series of new bus priority measures in the West Midlands. These schemes will support the easing of bus delays in the city centre and support the broader delivery of cross-city bus routes.

The Council are proposing to reopen part of Lyon Queensway to buses, taxis and cycles only, and create a new access road between the two A38 slip roads over the main A38 route. This will allow the Metro to operate efficiently and the new cross-city bus routes to have priority over other transport modes.

It will also mean that people can still access the Paradise development and other key locations, as:

  • All traffic will continue to be able to use the tunnel beneath the Paradise development for through trips on the A38;
  • Local traffic will be able to use the A38 (from the south) to access Holliday Street, buildings in the Paradise development, Town Hall and Swallow Street;
  • Local traffic will be able to use the A38 (from the north) to access buildings in the north part of the Paradise development;
  • Local traffic will be able to use the Middleway (B4135 Summer Hill Road) to access Cambridge Street and Paradise car park; and
  • Buses and taxis will be able to use Lyon Queensway, accesses from the A38, Centenary Square (Broad Street), Sandpits/Parade and Brunel Street. 

Cllr Zaffar added: “Transforming the city centre is one of the big moves outlined in the draft Birmingham Transport Plan. Fewer cars and more people travelling by bus, tram or train mean less congestion and better air quality for everybody.”

The initial proposals were shared with key stakeholders, including site managers and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), earlier this year. The public consultation will run via the Council’s BeHeard platform from today (11 May) to 1 June 2021.

Written by: David Watkins

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