Motorists slam cash-strapped council for spending £10million on 2.5-mile cycle highway that has ’caused traffic chaos and is barely used’
- Parts of the A34 in Birmingham have been left with just one lane for cars to use
- The double cycle lane has shifted the bus lane across the road, squeezing traffic
- Furious motorists say some cyclists aren’t even using it since April completion
- Driver said that during road works the time it took him to get home trebled
A cash-strapped council has been blasted by motorists after splashing almost £10million on a 2.5 mile ‘cycle highway’ which has caused traffic chaos.
Drivers say the lane along a major commuter route into Birmingham has caused complete gridlock due to it forcing the bus lane farther into the road.
This means parts of the A34 have been left with just one lane for cars, while in other sections the cycle lane slices into the pavement.
And furious motorists claim cyclists have hardly even used the lane since its completion in April.
Pictured: Motorists struggle to make headway next to the A34 in Birmingham, West Midlands, where a new cycle lane has been placed
Pictured: The cycle lane along the A34, where drivers have been squeezed into just one lane on certain parts of the route
They say money could be better spent fixing pothole-ridden roads or extending lanes across the city.
Birmingham City Council, which is looking to save £85million over the next four years, says the lane will encourage more people to get on their bikes.
But residents say the £9.85million route has brought commuter chaos to the area in an already over-congested city and cyclists continue to ride along the pavement.
Photographs taken at 4pm on a weekday show how traffic is brought to a standstill in single file while both the cycle path and a bus lane sit empty.
Welder Kevin Henley, 35, commutes into the city on a daily basis and has described the traffic caused by the route as a ‘nightmare.’
He said: ‘When the work was going on, it was bad enough. I could be sitting bumper to bumper for 45 minutes when it usually takes 15 minutes to get home.
‘I thought it would ease up once the lane was opened but the problems are exactly the same. It’s an absolute nightmare.
‘Traffic has been reduced to a single lane in parts and it is one of the busiest commuter routes into and out of the city.
Motorists have slammed the council for spending millions on the lane (pictured) while hoping to save cash
‘Its not like they have made the whole city cycle-friendly. Its just a couple of miles and they have spent all this money on it. It’s a joke.’
Mechanic Stephen Bolton, 35, from West Bromwich, added: ‘I don’t think I’ve seen a single cyclist on it, they just ride on the pavement anyway.
‘Also the surface of it is better than most of the pot-hole ridden roads we have to drive along. I’ve seen more pedestrians walking along it than cyclists.
‘In these times of austerity I think the money could be much better spent elsewhere instead of making an already over congested city even busier.
‘Ironically, if anything they’ve probably made it worse for the environment. It’s adding to air pollution rather than reducing it.’
Residents have also taken to social media to criticise the work, which took 16 months to complete.
Paul Bryan wrote on Facebook: ‘I work by the cycle lane. Not seen many use it at all, waste of money I think. Loads of cyclists just using the other lanes. What is the point? Money would of been better spent helping the homeless or elderly.’
Diane King Murchington put ‘Waste of time and money. Never seen a cyclist use it. Yet another stupid idea from Birmingham City Council.’
The bright blue path starts near Aston University’s campus before reaching an end at the corner of the A34 Birchfield Road and Heathfield Road.
The lane falls under the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project which intends to make 10 per cent of all journeys to be made by bike in Birmingham by 2033.
It is wide enough to allow cyclists to pass in both directions in two lanes, each almost the width of a car or bus lane.
The scheme took around 16 months to complete. Work started in December 2017, and the route opened in April this year.
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: ‘This cycle route enables cyclists to use this section of the A34 while completely segregated from other traffic, creating a safer and more enjoyable cycling experience, with the aim of encouraging more people to cycle rather than travelling by car.
‘This, in turn, will help reduce congestion and also reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions.’