We took our decision-makers for another ride – metaphorically speaking. The part was made up of Cllr Henri Murison and Harvey Emms from Newcastle City Council, by liveable cities experts: Richard Smith of Action Streets and Neil Murphy of Beyond Green and a number of campaign members. Starting at Swan House roundabout we observed the aggressive multilane gyratory and its inadequate provision for walking and cycle alongside the fast moving traffic. As the southern gateway into Newcastle, it’s not very welcoming place, and people – walking and cycling – get squeezed through very small spaces.
Then we cycled on to Northumberland Street. We looked at options for improving the North-South axis for cycling routes through the city. We know this is important to people, as 800 people signed a petition in 2010 to improve cycling safety, many airing their disappointment at Northumberland Street’s complete cycle prohibition. It was good to hear that Henri agreed to look again at out-of-hour access, and promised quick improvements to John Dobson Street to provide an alternative route to Northumberland Street.
To take a look at a good example of public space, we stopped at Northumberland Road where recent improvements by Northumbria University have created a great space that works for people.
Thanks go to Scratchbikes who provided Henri’s bike. The route we followed was along the Great North Cycleway – it needs massive improvements to really earn its title. We will also talk to Sustrans about this route adequacy, as its their National Cycle Network route designation.
Photo 1 – Newcastle streettalk on its way to Northumberland Street, left to right Claire Prospert, Katja Leyendecker, Richard Smith, Cllr Henri Murison, Harvey Emms
Photo 2 – Katja hands bike user comments [pdf] to Henri for council action
More photos in our flickr group here
Press release to follow soon.
ADDED 23.09.2012 http://newcycling.org/taken-ride-pedal-politico-4c