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Super September plans to keep Birmingham moving

Super September plans to keep Birmingham moving

🕔11.Sep 2015

Visitors expected to flood into Birmingham for the Rugby World Cup, the opening of the Grand Central shopping centre and John Lewis store and a major arts festival, are being urged to use public transport if they can, reports Paul Dale.

Council transport bosses have revealed contingency plans for the week September 20 to 27 to help cope with what is expected to be a record number of pedestrians moving around the city centre.

England, South Africa and Australia are due to play in the Rugby World Cup with games at Villa Park and screenings in a Fan Zone, the long-awaited opening of the refurbished New Street Station is on September 20, whilst Grand Central opens its doors on September 24.

Birmingham Weekender, where up to 100 artists and organisations will feature in the city’s largest arts festival with new commissions, world premières, roaming and pop-up street theatre, a musical picnic, participative events and workshops around the city centre, takes place from September 25 to 27.

Roadworks on the Aston Expressway and the M6 Spaghetti Junction will be suspended until after Christmas, but city transportation boss Anne Shaw said ongoing civil engineering work made it impossible to lift the extensive traffic restrictions around the Paradise Circus development.

Instead, an emergency “safety valve” operation will be available, allowing vehicles to exit the city along Sandpits Road, if congestion proves to be too bad.

Ms Shaw said the Grand Central owners and Network Rail had been working on “extensive and sophisticated modelling of pedestrian flows” and a series of emergency plans were in place to control crowds expected to flock to John Lewis and the other shops.

The Villa Park rugby games are all sold out with crowds of about 40,000 expected.

Fans arriving by train from London will be able to get off at Birmingham International and take shuttle buses to and from the stadium.

A one-way pedestrian flow system will operate at Paradise Circus, through Paradise Forum and Fletcher’s Walk, with police and wardens on hand to direct the crowds.

Some of the Metro tram excavations in the city centre will be covered up to create more space for pedestrians.

Scores of council wardens and ambassadors will be on hand to direct visitors and to give advice on where to find car parks with spaces.

Deputy council leader Ian Ward said “Super September” would be a great opportunity for Birmingham to market itself nationally and internationally.

They will find out what a wonderful and welcoming place Birmingham really is. They will no doubt get a great welcome from friendly Birmingham people.

We should celebrate the fact that people from around the world want to come to Birmingham, whether it’s for fashion, sport, food or entertainment they want to come to this city. I genuinely believe that people will leave thinking this is a great city.

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