The Telegraph and The Daily Mail aren’t going to let a small fact like a road being exactly the same as it’s always been keep them from blaming a cycle lane for ‘causing’ congestion. The newspapers have got Birmingham’s A34 in their sights this week. Apparently the congestion that the road’s long suffered is now because there’s a segregated cycle lane that was built in April without removing any motor traffic lanes.
In an article based solely on comments made on the local newspaper Facebook page, the Telegraph reports that “critics” say the cycleway is “little-used and causing major congestion”.
Those critics are people like welder Kevin Henley, 35, who said: "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."
Some guy called Paul Bryan added: "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.”
Local resident Gareth Massey got in touch with road.cc to point out that while the A34 has been modified, it still has the same capacity for motor traffic as it has had for the last 20 years since the bus lane was added.
Referring to the Telegraph piece, he added: “The section in the photo shows the road over a canal bridge which is a restricted width and leads up to a major crossroads on Newtown Row. Rush hour Traffic has built up here 40+ years now. Nothing is different.”
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council confirmed that the A34 remains a dual carriageway, except where it was always briefly single lane coming out of the city at a junction.
The Mail’s version of the story is headlined, “Motorists slam cash-strapped council for spending £10million on 2.5-mile cycle highway that has 'caused traffic chaos and is barely used'.”
The funding for the cycle lane was largely from central government via Birmingham Cycle Revolution, while match funding provided by Birmingham City Council was ring-fenced anyway.