Residents take action on School Road traffic chaos

There has been a long history of traffic problems on School Road, mainly caused by inconsiderate, often dangerous, drivers. It now looks as if some relief may be on the way for local residents.

In November 2016, local people set up a Facebook page to begin gathering evidence to present to Birmingham City Council (BCC). The aim was to get action to protect local residents, particularly pedestrians.

The area of greatest concern is the stretch from the roundabout near Kings Heath Primary School down School Road itself. There are frequent reports of cars mounting the pavement to pass other cars, even forcing pedestrians to get out of the way. In some cases, residents report that drivers ignore the presence of small children, so keen are they to get past as fast as they can.

Comments on the group’s Facebook page detailed incidents in which

  • a car mounted the pavement close to a mother and child walking home from school
  • another child was almost hit by a car on the pavement
  • a four-year-old on a scooter was within a metre of a car that had mounted the pavement
  • a woman was walking her child home and was abused by a driver because she objected to him driving his car at her and her child
  • a woman pushing a baby buggy on the footpath found three cars trying to get past her on the same footpath.

With the support of Councillor Claire Spencer and Councillor Lisa Trickett, the group has been putting pressure on BCC to find a long-term solution to the problems. In January 2017, residents were told that BCC was going to undertake a formal traffic survey on School Road. In addition, money had been set aside to try to come up with a solution to the problems. This was followed in March 2017 with news that a budget of up to £40,000 had been allocated.

Now a set of proposals is being put out for consultation. They will be sent to residents of School Road while anybody else who wishes to comment will be able to do so. It is understood that, at present, the proposal is to make School Road one-way from the roundabout near Kings Heath Primary School to Blenheim Road.

Councillor Spencer will be in the area of School Road on Sunday 25 June 2017 gathering information.

The School Road Traffic Issues Facebook page can be found here

New transport proposals

A new Draft 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport across the west midlands has been put out for consultation. The plan has been prepared by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and is described as setting out ‘the schemes which will deliver a large amount of the Combined Authority’s long term transport strategy Movement for Growth’.

From Kings Heath residents’ point of view, one of the surprising aspects of the report is that Kings Heath is mentioned very few times. The proposed new railway station at Kings Heath is included (page 6) while the number 50 bus route is identified as a corridor which should be studied to ‘identify potential improvements’ (page 13).

However, the fact that Kings Heath is rarely mentioned in the document offers a possible benefit. One of the key factors appears to be that a number of transport ‘corridors’ are being proposed, none of which include the A435 (Alcester Road South and High Street, Kings Heath).

The Kings Heath Residents’ Forum (KHRF) has seized on this as evidence that the A435 should be downgraded and categorised as unsuitable for heavy through traffic. This would provide an opportunity to ban HGVs from Kings Heath unless they are making deliveries. Among the benefits of such a policy would be an improvement in traffic safety and a reduction in air pollution.

The KHRF will monitor the response of TfWM to submissions and, if necessary, make further representations.

For more information:

Main Transport for West Midlands website

Consultation draft document

Proposed transport corridors

Additional information

ASDA Kings Heath delivery times trial

Kings Heath High Street has been identified as one of the most polluted roads in Birmingham. That and the dangerous nature of the road has led Birmingham City Council (BCC) to search for ways to improve matters for residents.

The council is teaming up with ASDA for a trial of new delivery arrangements. During the trial, deliveries to the ASDA store in Kings Heath will be re-scheduled to take place outside peak traffic times. This will reduce the number of lorries heading along the High Street.

The store’s current delivery hours are 07:30 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday, and 09:00 to 16:00 on Sundays, bank holidays and public holidays.

The proposed changes are 06:00 to 19:00 Monday to Saturday, and 08:00 to 18:00 on Sundays and bank holidays.

BCC and ASDA want to know what local people think of the idea. Representatives of both will be at the store on:

  • Thursday, 24 November 2016 between 3pm and 7pm.
  • Friday, 25 November 2016 between 12 noon and 7pm. Local councillors should be there from 5.30pm on Friday.

Anybody with an interest in this project can go to the store to discuss it at these times. No appointment is necessary.

More information can be obtained from:

  • Kevin Cummins, Senior Transportation Officer at Birmingham City Council (Kevin.Cummins@birmingham.gov.uk)
  • Andrew Lester, who is facilitating the sessions (alester@hardhat.co.uk)

Keeping pavements clear

Obstructions on the pavements in Kings Heath High Street have been annoying residents for several years. Recently, the road safety group within the Kings Heath Forum took up the problem with local councillors and Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service.

There are a number of issues covered by this subject but they all relate to one concern: whether there is enough space available for people with limited mobility, visual impairment or parents with push-chairs.

The restrictions usually have one of three causes:

  • parking on pavements
  • ‘A boards’ outside shops
  • work on pavements by the utility companies

It has been difficult to get any solid information so far but it seems that there is a standard that should be applied. In areas with few pedestrians such as the High Street near Sports Direct, there must be a 1.2 metre (almost 4 feet) width of pavement available free of obstructions. In areas with more people moving around, the minimum is 2 metres (about 6 feet 6 inches).

One of the difficulties is that there seems to be some confusion over who should be enforcing these standards. A statement from Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service seems to suggest that enforcement is a matter for the Police although the highway authority can remove ‘A boards’.

However, the statement also said that local traders agreed at a meeting ‘several years ago’ to self-police the ‘A board’ problem. Since then, it has been suggested that Amey, which is the highways maintenance contractor for Birmingham, has a contractual responsibility for making sure that pavements are kept clear. This has yet to be absolutely confirmed.

The difficulty now seems to be that the traders’ agreement is being overlooked and ‘A boards’ are being positioned in such a way as to obstruct pavements. As a result, the available width of pavement is narrower than it should be.

In February the Residents’ Forum asked Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service a number of questions in relation to this issue and suggested that clear guidance should be produced for local businesses.

As yet, no further information has been provided. When it is, an update will be posted.

DIY Street Design Event 8 March 2014

DIY Streets Kings Heath flyer

Just a reminder that the DIY Street Design Event organised by Sustrans takes place on Saturday, 8 March 2014, 11am–2pm at 127 High Street opposite The Hare & Hounds pub.

The event will be in the form of a ‘parklet’ where a High Street car parking bay is transformed into a small temporary park for the day.

You can follow more updates from DIY Streets Kings Heath via Twitter @DIYstreetsKH and Facebook.