Campaigners for safer and greener streets have handed in a petition calling for the city council to commit £100 million spending over ten years to promote walking and cycling.
Friends of the Earth argue that only concerted investment to promote cycling and walking will deliver urgently needed cuts to traffic congestion and reduce dangerous levels of pollution in the city.
According to government public health estimates poor air quality was a factor in 520 premature deaths in Birmingham in 2010.
Birmingham FOE campaigns coordinator Robert Pass said: “Birmingham Connected is a fantastic starting point, however what will really tackle Birmingham’s poor air quality is sustained high investment in alternative sustainable transport, particularly walking and cycling.
“With 25 per cent of car journeys under two miles, there is a massive scope for people to walk and cycle shorter distances.”
He said that the recent £17 million investment through the Government’s Cycle City Ambition Grant is nowhere near enough to tackle the problem.
And added that while there is a commitment to invest £10 per person per year in cycling and walking - FOE would like to see that guaranteed for ten years, totalling £100m.
The Let’s Get Moving campaign is backed by Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham LGBT Centre, Pusbikes the Birmingham Cycling Campaign, St Peters Church Hall Green, All Saints Church Kings Heath and residents groups in the Jewellery Quarter, Kings Heath, Lodge Park, Selly Park and Sutton Coldfield.
Ayaz Younis of the Sampson Road Residents’ Association said: “As an group that has been campaigning for over two years to reduce speeds on Birmingham roads, the Lets Get Moving campaign goes hand-in-hand with our objectives.
“Too often we think about the motorist, but it’s time that we think of the pedestrian and the cyclist.”
Coun Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for green, smart and sustainable city, said: “The council is fully aware of the risks that are posed by poor air quality from road emissions, as raised by Friends of the Earth in its campaign.”
While careful not to commit to the spending, she added: “Birmingham is looking to explore these avenues wherever possible and we look forward to making some positive announcements in the near future.”