Only recently have I come across the Birmingham City Centre ‘Vision for Movement‘ [PDF], created by Birmingham City Council in November 2010, which aims to be ‘laying the foundations for a vibrant and liveable global city’.
The themes within the plan focus on Birmingham being
- A well connected city,
- A walkable city, and
- An efficient city.
A well connected city
Whilst the expansion of Birmingham New Street, and the longer term vision to bring HS2 to Birmingham underpin the desire to improve the rail capacity and quality in the area it is not just focused on the railways. The Metro is still shown to be of interest wider than just the expansion to New Street (and lately we have heard of the expansion to Centenary Square, and there is the potential for the Metro to reach to Eastside if HS2 delivers).
One key theme coming out of this area is making the public transport network easier to use, this is happening at the moment with the new interchanges and we are starting to see the standardisation of design and branding towards the network. Also the Birmingham Swift smartcard is being introduced by Centro [ Smartcard Branding PDF].
Rapid Transit Corridors are proposed as part of Birmingham Sprint, which would see quick routes out of the city to locations such as Birmingham International. Though this doesn’t seem to have been a focus for the moment, and perhaps now that the interchanges have been created this may be the next bus led focus.
Cycle routes are discussed, and whilst there has been some improvement to this over the last few years there is certainly not much movement regarding ‘better connectivity to the canal network. Also I can’t think of the ‘secure storage hubs’ that it talks about, but again this is something that is feasible, and cycling facilities need improving if we are to see an increase in cycling within the city.
A walkable city
For Birmingham to be a walkable city the public realm needs to satisfy this need, and it highlights that pedestrians need to be considered through the creation of better quality links between the main transport interchanges and the city centre. Some indicative images of what the future public realm could look like are further below.
Lately with the introduction of the new bus interchanges, and associated totem signage we can start to see consistent design and way-marking/wayfinding coming to Birmingham. This is part of the Interconnect Birmingham plan, and will be one of the most visual changes to allow pedestrians to find it easier to navigate the streets.