Motorists are complaining that a new 2.5 mile cycle highway is causing “traffic chaos” on the roads after a cash-strapped council spent nearly £10m on it.
Drivers in Birmingham said the new cycle lane, which has been placed along a major commuter route, is as wide as a bus lane and has made journey times much longer.
Critics have argued the stretch of tarmac along the A34 route has barely been used by cyclists since being introduced in April. They claim the money should have instead been used to fix potholes and extending lanes across the city.
The cycle lane runs along a road that connects the city centre with Perry Barr in the suburbs.
Birmingham City Council, which is looking to save £85m over the next four years, has defended the work, which the authority said encourages more people to get on their bikes.
But residents argued the £9.85m route has brought commuter chaos to the area in an already over-congested city. They said cyclists continue to ride along the pavement anyway.
Welder Kevin Henley, 35, from Great Barr, Birmingham, commutes into the city on a daily basis and has described the traffic caused by the route as a “nightmare”.
He said: “When the work was going on, it was bad enough. I could be sitting bumper to bumper for 45 minutes when it usually takes 15 minutes to get home.
“I thought it would ease up once the lane was opened but the problems are exactly the same. It’s an absolute nightmare.
“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.
‘They just ride on the pavement’
“Its not like they have made the whole city cycle-friendly. Its just a couple of miles and they have spent all this money on it. It’s a joke.”
Mechanic Stephen Bolton, 35, from West Bromwich, added: “I don’t think I’ve seen a single cyclist on it, they just ride on the pavement anyway.
“Also the surface of it is better than most of the pot-hole ridden roads we have to drive along. I’ve seen more pedestrians walking along it than cyclists.
“In these times of austerity I think the money could be much better spent elsewhere instead of making an already over congested city even busier.
“Ironically, if anything they’ve probably made it worse for the environment. Its adding to air pollution rather than reducing it.”
Residents have also complained about the highway, which took 16 months to complete, on social media.
Paul Bryan wrote on Facebook: “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. What is the point? Money would of been better spent helping the homeless or elderly.”
‘Waste of time and money’
Diane King Murchington added: “Waste of time and money. Never seen a cyclist use it. Yet another stupid idea from Birmingham City Council.”
The bright blue path starts near Aston University’s campus and runs up to to the corner of Birchfield Road and Heathfield Road on the A34.
The lane falls under the Birmingham Cycle Revolution project, which intends to make 10 per cent of all journeys to be made by bike in Birmingham by 2033.
It is wide enough to allow cyclists to pass in both directions in two lanes, each almost the width of a car or bus lane.
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “This cycle route enables cyclists to use this section of the A34 while completely segregated from other traffic, creating a safer and more enjoyable cycling experience, with the aim of encouraging more people to cycle rather than travelling by car.
“This, in turn, will help reduce congestion and also reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions.”