Much of the city centre has been slowly pedestrianised, such as Corporation Street, New Street and Victoria Square. There is more to come, Broad Street is now being closed to cars, and there are far-off plans for Great Charles Street to also be closed to traffic.
Pollution in UK cities is high, with city councils working on ways to reduce poor air quality. Brum is ‘keen to go green’, and the development/expansion of the light rail Metro line is a brave move and one which is welcomed by many. The more people on trams and trains, should in theory, mean less cars and pollutants in the central business district.
In recent years, there has been a light rail line operating between Wolverhampton and Birmingham Snow Hill. This has been particularly useful for those living in Black Country areas through which the route passes, it also opens up the two city centres to more footfall and improves job prospects with regular late services.
The Birmingham Westside Metro extension is the next phase of works. Construction on this started in 2017 and is in two parts. The first phase will travel between Grand Central past Town Hall, Alpha Tower and terminate at Library/Centenary Square. This phase is due to be completed before end of 2019.
Interestingly, this 840 metre of track will operate on battery power (the first of its kind in the UK) to do so. The second phase will continue from Centenary Square down Broad Street, to Hagley Road in Edgbaston (just west of Five Ways). It will be a 1.35km long stretch stopping at Brindley Place and Five Ways.
This really will open up Edgbaston to a new demographic, those who work and live there, the people who enjoy the ever growing food and drink culture will soon have a short light rail journey to Grand Central and the Central Business District.
Edgbaston has been more of a distant cousin to the city centre let alone other areas of the city, due to the distance, Broad Street is not always the nicest walk – even in the day time. This new route will benefit Edgbaston immeasurably, a ten or fifteen minute journey to the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, or on to Wolverhampton without the need to alight will be a real selling point of the route.