Canal towpath improvements for Bournville

Cyclists will benefit when the canal towpath from Bournville to the City Centre is the subject of city-wide improvements to make Birmingham more cycle friendly.

Canal near Selly oak

Canal towpath near Selly Oak (pic from Flickr by Lewis Bingle)

The route along the Worcester Canal is on a major cycle route and is often muddy after rainfall with puddles of standing water.

The proposals to improve the route form part of the wider Birmingham Cycle Revolution project – which won central government backing to the tune of £17million in August of this year.

However, news of the improvements comes just a day after the city council proposed cuts to maintenance of local parks which would see park rangers lose their jobs and play areas removed.

Under the canals element of the Cycle Revolution programme, 19 miles of towpaths would be upgraded to provide a smoother ride for bikes, while improved lighting, new access points to the cycle network and better signage.

The work would be carried out on behalf of the city council by the charity Canal & River Trust. If approved, it would be likely to begin in February 2014 and be completed by the summer of 2015.

In further proposed improvement, consultation has recently closed on other planned local cycle routes that would see new paths and shared spaces through parks and roads around Bournville.

The full list of canal routes to be improved are:

  • City Centre – Birmingham & Fazeley Canal from Gas Street Basin to Aston Junction, and Digbeth Branch Canal from Aston Junction to Bordesley Junction
  • North-East (1) – Birmingham & Fazeley Canal from Aston Junction to Salford Junction
  • North-East (2) – Grand Union Canal from Bordesley Junction to Salford Junction and Tame Valley Canal from Salford Circus to Deykin Avenue
  • South-East – Grand Union Canal from Bordesley Junction to the Cole Valley Route at The Ackers
  • South-West – Worcester & Birmingham Canal from Gas Street Basin to Selly Oak and Bournville
  • North-West – Birmingham Main Line Canal from Gas Street Basin to City Boundary at Heath Street – (north towpath only).

One comment on “Canal towpath improvements for Bournville

  1. During walks along the canal from Selly Oak to the city I experience cyclists coming toward at quite a pace. I gained the impression from some that they expected me to move out of their way so that they could pass me at speed, one recently muttered his annoyance at my presence on the path. I had fewer coming from the rear and in some instances they rang their bell but some did not make any attempt to warn me of their approach at speed. As someone with hearing deficiencies this can be quite frightening when they rush past.

    I have checked the Canal & Rivers Trust website and have looked at the information for cyclists in London.

    Whilst I welcome the improvements I wonder if the same expectation regarding cyclists conduct will be applied to these upgrades in Birmingham.

    “The Greenway Code for Towpaths

    1. Share the space consider other people and the local environment whenever you’re on a Greenway. Remember some people may move less predictably, for example young children or those with visual or mobility impairments.

    2. Drop your pace considerate sharing of the limited towpath space is the key. Jogging and cycling are welcome, but drop your pace in good time and let people know you are approaching by ringing a bell or politely calling out before waiting to pass slowly.

    3. Pedestrians have priority towpaths are ‘Greenways’ or shared use routes where pedestrians have priority and vehicles, except bicycles and mobility aids, are generally excluded.

    4. Be courteous to others – A smile can go a long way. Abusive or threatening behaviour is not acceptable and should be reported to the Police.

    5. Follow signs and obey local by-laws they are there for the safety of everyone. Cyclists should dismount where required and use common sense in busy or restricted areas, recognising that pedestrians have priority.

    6. Give way to oncoming people beneath bridges whether they are on foot or bike and be extra careful at bends and entrances where visibility is limited.

    7. When travelling in large groups, especially if you are running or cycling, please use common sense and give way to others.

    8. Try to avoid wearing headphones as this makes you less aware of your surroundings possible hazards and others sharing the same space.

    9. Keep dogs under control ideally using a short lead on busy towpaths and clean-up after them. Dog fouling is very unpleasant and is a health hazard.

    10. At all times, keep children close to you and encourage them to learn and follow the Greenway Code for Towpaths.”