Birmingham set to ban private vehicles completely. Will Plymouth follow suit?

Birmingham could become the first UK city to ban private vehicles, as draft Transport Plan is published. Birmingham's City Council has published today a draft Transport Plan setting out its vision for the near future of transport in the city - and if the plans go ahead, private cars will no longer be allowed to drive through the city.

Carrying on the legacy of the existing "Birmingham Connected" transport strategy, the latest draft Transport Plan hopes to boost future investment in public transport to serve more people, homes and jobs, while also creating a better environment in which to live and work for everyone, regardless of age, disability or income, Birmingham City Council has mentioned.

Image: Birmingham City Council

They added that these measures are designed to reduce transport’s damaging impact on the environment, supporting the city's commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, as well as improving overall road safety, connecting more people with new jobs and training opportunities, prioritising people over cars and revitalising the city centre and local centres.

The document sets out four ‘big moves’, designed to work in harmony with each other. These are:

  1. Reallocating road space, Moving away from single occupancy private cars to support the delivery of a public transport system fit for a global city, fundamentally changing the way that people and goods move about the city.

  2. Transforming the city centre, this would be through the creation of a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces integrated with public transport services and cycling infrastructure. Access to the city centre for private cars will be limited with no through trips. This includes looking at different options for the central section of the A38 including re-routing it to an upgraded ring road.

  3. Prioritising active travel in local neighbourhoods, Walking and cycling will become people’s preferred mode for travelling around their locality. The aim is that cars will no longer dominate street life around homes and schools, a limit of 20mph will be standard on all local roads and residential neighbourhoods and local centres will be places where people are put first.

  4. Managing demand through parking measures, Parking will be used as a means to manage demand for travel by car through availability, pricing and restrictions. Where development potential exists, land currently occupied by car parking will be put to more productive use.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “As a city, we have been over-reliant on private cars for too long and with more people choosing to live and work in Birmingham, we need to find innovative new ways to keep the city moving in an efficient but sustainable way.

“The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion. For longer journeys, buses, trams and trains will be the backbone of a new, go-anywhere transport system.

“Good transport is the most important ingredient in ensuring that the benefits of Birmingham's growth are felt in every part of the city. To unlock the potential of transport, we need to fundamentally change the way people and goods move around the city.

Image: Birmingham City Council

“Birmingham has already started to redress the balance and build a future in which the car will no longer be king. The introduction of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone will reinforce our commitment to establish a zero emissions city.

“On the ground, we have started to put things right through investments in projects including the city's first fully segregated cycle ways, extensions to the Metro tram network and introduction of 20mph speed limits on residential streets.

“The Birmingham Transport Plan, once adopted, will continue to build on these strong foundations, future-proofing our transport system and ensuring that we are able to move around our city in a faster, more efficient way with cleaner air and less congestion.”

Subject to Cabinet approval on 21 January, the draft plan will then go out to public consultation from 28 January, before a final version is formally adopted by the council.

Is this the future of Plymouth as well? Do you think it's a good or bad idea? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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