A38: Petition opposes closure of tunnels
A petition has been launched calling for the A38 Queensway tunnels through Birmingham city centre to remain open.
The finalised Birmingham transport plan was approved by the city council’s Cabinet today – and the document contains an idea for the tunnels to be closed to traffic.
It is suggested cars would instead be diverted to the ring road with the remaining route instead used as green space and for walking, cycling and public transport.
Cabinet member for transport and environment Cllr Waseem Zaffar (Lab, Lozells) has said there are “no plans at this stage” to close the tunnels but that their future will “inevitably be considered”.
But Conservative councillors speaking at today’s Cabinet meeting suggested the idea is likely to be taken up if Labour retain control of the council.
The opposition group has now launched a petition calling for the tunnels to remain open, after group leader Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) said the idea would be “disastrous”.
He said: “Tens of thousands of cars use these tunnels to pass through the city in a quick manner away from pedestrians but if the tunnels are closed we will see bumper-to-bumper traffic resulting in increased congestion and more pollution above ground.
“Residents of Birmingham are fed up with the Labour Council refusing to listen, our message is simple – increasing the public transport offer not trying to close roads.”
Cllr Zaffar accused the opposition group of “scaremongering on the issue”.
He said: “Birmingham City Council has no plans to close the A38 Queensway Tunnels, but I am not surprised that the Birmingham Conservatives are engaging in scaremongering on this issue.
“They have no ambition for Birmingham to become a cleaner, safer and better city.
“The Birmingham Transport Plan sets out the ambitions that Birmingham Labour has for our city, including cleaning up our air and having a public transport system which is reliable, quick, and affordable.
“As the way we move around our cities changes in the years to come, the future of the A38 Queensway Tunnels is something that will inevitably be considered.”
The finalised transport plan will be followed up with a delivery plan setting out what needs to happen in order to bring about the concepts in the plan.
Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter
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