Major roads in Birmingham City centre could be blocked off to traffic and turned into green spaces

The plans could see the A38 Queensway Tunnel being shut off to traffic.

The main roads in and out of Birmingham City centre could be blocked off to traffic and turned into green spaces under new transport plans announced by the City Council.

The council is considering closing the A38 Queensway tunnel, one of the centre’s biggest roads, to traffic and diverting cars around the ring road.

It’s proposing the changes in the hopes of improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions, by lowering the number of journeys being made by car and encouraging other types of travel. 

The spaces created by the empty roads could be made into green spaces, for cycling and walking.

  • Under the proposal the city will be split into seven sections inside the A4540 ring road - which is same area as the Clean Air Zone. 

Effectively, traffic will be diverted around the centre, rather than being allowed to travel through. 

But it's unclear what levels of restrictions will be in place for those who live and work in the centre.

As well as creating more cycleways, the authority says it will also be introducing a fleet of zero-emission buses.

'300,000 journeys in's something which contributes to the unsafe levels of air quality.' - Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council

Watch Her Majesty The Queen at the opening of the Queensway Tunnel in 1971. At the time, having a car was all the rage, and the city was trying to make it easier to drive around...

  • Why is it being done?

The arguments in favour of the plans are similar to those of the Clean Air Zone. 

In the past the area around the Queensway tunnel has been reported as one of the most polluted areas in the city.

  • What's the reaction been like?

Though the council has denied it's about making life as difficult as possible for drivers, the chairman of TOA Taxis, Sajid Mahmood, has told ITV Central the changes would be "a big mess."

  • Sajid Mahmood, Chairman of TOA Taxis

There's also been mixed reaction from people out on the streets of Birmingham today: 

The plan will go before cabinet members on Tuesday next week, where it's expected to be given the green light. If it is, the option of closing the A38 will then be looked into. 

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