Transport for West Midlands has unveiled a new 500-mile cycling network for the region.
The Starley Network will be dedicated for active travel, with the ambition that the routes will either be traffic free away from the highway, or within roads but physically separated from traffic.
Named in honour of the Starley family of Coventry industrialists who pioneered bicycle manufacturing, the Starley Network pulls together existing routes and towpaths, proposed new cycling infrastructure, and new pop-up lanes funded through the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
Local authorities have worked closely with TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority to link their local cycling plans into a region-wide network.
This means for the first time the region has one, easier-to-understand network.
TfWM took the decision to enhance its cycling vision following a rise in the popularity of two wheels after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new network also incorporates pop-up cycling lanes that are being set-up by local authorities across the region, with the hope that more of these lanes will follow after a multi-million pound bid for further funding was submitted to government last Friday as part of the second tranche of the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
TfWM will invest more than 260m in the Starley Network over the coming years, with local authorities adding to that figure as they invest in their local network. The majority of schemes will primarily be delivered by local authorities.
We are utterly committed to improving cycling infrastructure across the region, and active travel has a critical role to play in our future transport plans for the West Midlands, said West Midlands mayor, Andy Street.
Cycling has enormous benefits, both for peoples health and the environment. The more people who cycle the more we reduce air pollution, and the more we reduce the strain on our NHS through people getting fitter and healthier.
That is why we have always been ambitious with our cycling plans, and the fact we set and met a 10 funding per head target is testament to that.
However, we have clearly not done a good enough job at communicating our ambition to the public, and many see us as a region that is not embracing the cycling revolution something that couldnt be further from the truth, he added.
So, with more people taking to two wheels and their two feet following the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the decision to reimagine and rebrand our initial cycling plans.
Photo Credit – Skeeze (Pixabay)