The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) board approved the money for the 6km safe cycle route - the latest in a series of cycling and walking projects due to get underway in the next few months.

The segregated cycle route will allow people to safely travel by bike from the city centre to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire via the Binley Business Park on Harry Weston Road. 

Coventry City Council and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, have developed plans to deliver a cycle scheme that will form part of a wider 10km strategic East-West connection, linking with the Coundon Cycleway which is currently under construction.

It is designed to encourage more of the thousands of people who live, work and study along this busy route to swap their car for a bike on some journeys - easing congestion, improving air quality and reducing journey times; ultimately benefitting all road users.

The cycleway will be one of the first major routes delivered as part of the Starley Network, the West Midlands’ plan for a network covering 500 miles of existing routes and towpaths, planned cycling infrastructure and safe walking areas.

This investment meets the WMCA’s #WM2041 aim of meeting the climate change challenge as well as contributing to the UK’s ‘Race to Net Zero’ efforts in the lead-up to its hosting of COP26 in November.

The scheme went through two rounds of public consultation, which saw 69% of responses in favour of segregated cycleways, with respondent feedback applied to designs to deliver a scheme that residents asked for.

A further public consultation is planned where residents will have the opportunity to share their views on the updated design. 

The final scheme has the potential to increase the number of daily cycle journeys taken in this area by over 400%, greatly supporting the region-wide objective of increasing cycle journeys from 1 to 5% of all journeys by 2023.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA Board, said: 

“We have set out ambitious plans for a 500-mile Starley Network of safe cycle routes – named after the Coventry industrialists who invented the modern bicycle – and this investment demonstrates our commitment to delivering that vision.

“We know that safety is a key barrier preventing many more people cycling along some of our busier commuter roads, which is why these new, safe cycleways are key to convincing more people to leave the car at home.

“I’m delighted that not only have we got the Binley Cycleway funded, but we’ll now be able to get the diggers in the ground ASAP to bring the plans to life.

“The West Midlands is serious about the climate emergency and its #WM2041 plans, and that means cutting air pollution by convincing more people to take to two wheels and their two feet.”

Cllr Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services, said:

“We know in Coventry that greater participation in cycling and walking improves health and wellbeing but people often tell me they don’t cycle more as they don’t feel safe.

“That’s why the Binley Cycleway is so important. It will fully separate people travelling by bike from motorists and will hopefully reduce those concerns. Increasing confidence of cyclists will really encourage more people to get on their bike and feel the benefits.”

The £8.6m scheme has been made possible by £5.9m funding from the Walking and Cycling Programme, the DfT Active Travel Fund (tranche 2) confirmed allocations, WMCA grant contribution (£69k) and Coventry City Council funding contribution (£61k). Additional funding towards the scheme is being sought.

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