Update on Birmingham’s Citywide Transportation Plan

A graphic explaining one of the major topics discussed at Tuesday’s public input meeting — the future implementation of Complete Streets in Birmingham

On Tuesday, the City of Birmingham’s Planning, Engineering and Permits Department held a public input meeting at the downtown public library to talk about the future of Birmingham’s public transit infrastructure and hear from community members.

The presentation included opportunities, strengths and weaknesses for the current transportation system in Birmingham, including conceptual renderings of how future “Complete Streets” implementation might look.

You can check out the presentation below:

This map outlines the current public transportation infrastructure in Birmingham:

Existing transportation system

The map below illustrates the current status of the Bus Rapid Transit route (BRT) that, when completed in 2020, will stretch from Five Points West to Woodlawn, with 36 stops along the way. The 10-mile corridor will connect 25 neighborhoods and is expected to bring a boost to economic development along the route.

Howard Richards, project manager for Strada Professional Services — the firm overseeing the project — laid out some of the economic impact that he expects to see once the BRT is fully operational by the fall of 2020 during a recent community meeting. Richards cited Cleveland’s HealthLine BRT system, often touted as the best public bus system in the country, as an example of the kind of community impact a BRT system can have; HealthLine has led to nearly a 100 percent increase in job growth and millions of dollars invested along the route.

The BRT route that will be fully operational by fall of 2020

The map below shows the existing walking trails and bike lanes throughout the city.

Walking trails and bike lanes in Birmingham

A large portion of Tuesday’s discussion between city officials and community members focused on the concept of “Complete Streets” which are comfortable for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. They are safe for people of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets are shared public spaces and are one of the fundamental elements of great urban neighborhoods. They allow people to get to shops, to work, and to school. They provide for a high quality of life and for strong economic vitality. Well over a thousand cities have adopted Complete Streets policies. Click here to learn more about Complete Streets.

On Jan. 9, the Birmingham City Council Transportation Committee approved a “Complete Street” resolution that is expected to be sent to the full Council by the end of February. The map below shows the targeted Complete Street corridors throughout the city.

Targeted Complete Street corridors

Here are two slides, before and after, that can serve as an example of what a Complete Street might look like.

Current state of the street
Conceptual rendering of what a Complete Street would look like on MLK Jr. Drive

This timeline shows what transportation improvements residents can expect to see the months to come.

The crowd gathered at the library on Tuesday, and those streaming the meeting from home, were polled on various issues surrounding the transportation system in Birmingham — 100 percent of those polled were in favor of Birmingham implementing a Complete Street policy. The city is primed for a modernized, improved transportation system that meets today’s needs and can be fully utilized by everyone in the city.

Of course, with any complex transportation system, there is room for improvement. Here are some of Birmingham’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the road ahead.

There will be two more public input meetings on the Birmingham Citywide Transportation Plan — Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Birmingham CrossPlex from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 12, at Our Lady of Catholic Church from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We hope to see you there. Thank you for reading and for your continued dedication to civic engagement!