To: Goodwin, Adam; Dyke, Samantha; Streetworks
Cc: Forbes, Nick (Cllr); Kingsland, Joanne (Cllr); O’Brien, Geoffrey (Cllr); Talbot, Marion (Cllr); Bill Dodds; Heather Evans; Bryn Dowson
Subject: Fwd: Central Gateway – Proposed TRO
In response to the above TRO, we would like to offer our views on the scheme for the spatial redesign of the Central Station Gateway and the process that has been used to produce the plans for this scheme.
We thank the council and the officers involved for the way in which the stakeholder consultation process has been carried out. The use of an iterative consultation process in drawing up the scheme has been useful. We feel this has created a much better scheme than by just adhering to the consultation process used for traffic orders (informal and statutory). We hope more future schemes will involve a inclusive consultation approach like this which allows designs to evolve and grow before releasing them for public comment.
We generally welcome the proposed changes to Central Station area, particularly the restriction of private motor vehicle movements to make space for walking and cycling, so common in modern European urban centres. But we think the proposal does not go far enough. A continuous clear designated cycle route has not been provided. This is likely to lead to conflict with pedestrians in the shared space outside the station. We must also make the point that for mass cycling (council’s cycle plan: 20% of short journeys by 2020) a shared bus/cycle lane will not be of much help as people are traffic-intolerant and will not be persuaded to mix with motor traffic. This view has been backed up by much research.
Overall, we see the proposal as an incremental improvement towards the objective of the council’s core document – 1PLAN economic and spatial plan for NewcastleGateshead urban core – to ultimately lead to these actions.
- Delivering the best public transport and giving streets back to people, we will break the link between economic growth and miles travelled by private car
- The long-term aim is to reduce the amount of traffic passing through the urban core
With the proposal in front of us, we are disappointed that the council did not use this as an opportunity to be more comprehensive, and close the through routes for private motor vehicles in front of the station. This could have been done while maintaining access to the station and local businesses, but would have drastically reduce the amount of motor through-traffic in the area that adds no value to the city centre. Taking this option would have given more space to design advantageously for walking and cycling.
Although the scheme does not go as far as we would have liked, we do feel the proposal does is a significant improvement over the existing layout and use. For this reason we support the scheme as it currently stands and we look forward to continuing our work with the council in the development of the finer details of the scheme.
We reiterate from meetings, that we ask on future plans clearly distinguish between footways and shared footways (foot and bike), as this did cause some confusion when first looking at the plans.
We trust you do find our response and comments useful. Please keep us invited and informed of the development of this proposal.
Infrastructure lead, Newcastle Cycling Campaign
Chair, Newcastle Cycling Campaign