Friday Photo: Perry Barr Flyover – 1960’s road building..
Today’s Friday photo is of part of the Perry Barr flyover. The new road network along the Birchfield road was constructed between 1962-71 with a system of under and overpasses giving priority to cars and allowing them to fast track into Birmingham centre. By the 1950’s and 1960’s the old Birchfield road could not cope with the growing levels of traffic heading into Birmingham from the Walsall and Aldridge roads, with hours long tailbacks getting through the road at peak times. At this time the number of people using cars was rapidly growing and predicted to continually grow. With this growing trend, and the fact that Birmingham as a major powerhouse for car manufacturing, the council gained a “car is king” attitude to road building. From the early 1960’s Birmingham City Council was on a mission to improve road networks around the city, and the Perry Barr, Birchfield and Newtown road system was begun. The new road network did solve the traffic problems, but it is was at the detriment of the local communities and shops of Perry Barr and Birchfield. These areas were changed forever in the name of post-war progress with many historically building lost. Nearly 60 years later and the council is now taking a different standpoint. With the 2022 Commonweath Games of their way to Perry Barr, there is a new proposal to remove the Perry Barr flyover and alter the road network to give easier access to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The council, in trying to meet national targets to reduce pollution is now trying discourage the use of cars in the city. However, are Birmingham residents ready to give up their love affair with their cars? The new housing estate being built in Perry Barr is likely to add more cars onto the road network, so with the removal of the flyover and the addition of traffic lights and crossings, there could well be a return to the severe traffic issues of the 1950’s and 60’s.