Gosforth transport corridor proposals

To: Gary Macdonald (Newcastle City Council)
Cc: Harvey Emms, Cllr Nigel Todd, Cllr Henry Gallagher, Cllr Bill Shepherd (all Newcastle City Council), Bill Dodds (vice-chair of Forum)

Hello Gary

GOSFORTH CYCLE SAFETY FUND

It’s good to see resources and funds being pooled to develop an area much in need of a make-over, yet it does remain unclear to us why Gosforth High Street should require a bypass for “less experienced cyclists”. Please note that the DfT bid document calls them more aptly “new cyclists”. Does the council want to push cyclists out of the way? Gosforth High Street is part of the SCR network.

We want to be sure that council’s plans cater for the safety of young cyclists on a busy road like Great North Road to unlock the latent demand for cycling to the multiple schools along that stretch. At last, Newcastle council would be able to confidently ask Gosforth parents to let their kids cycle to school, as it will be much safer to do so. Although we’d advise caution that cycling numbers might remain low: North of Broadway is not included in the current plans and is a stretch with a 40mph speed limit. Currently the only legal way is to cycle on the road; the shared bus lane offering little consolation. This dangerous section is a barrier to cycling, and could result in parents from North Gosforth still stopping kids using their bicycles as an incomplete route would have been provided.

In the absence of a pro-people vision for Gosforth High Street we feel obliged to welcome the bypass as a temporary fix before the High Street gets a make-over away from the disproportionate catering for car use which blights the streetscape and environment. To make Gosforth High Street a success, motorised traffic will have to be completely separated from cyclists and road space for motor vehicles minimised. This is especially necessary as the speed limit is 30mph. We’d particularly advise against taking road space to provide car parking on Gosforth High Street. We’d advise council to collect evidence such as carry out a travel survey and find out how people travel the shops on Gosforth High Street and why they use a particular mode. Results show over and over again, that car use is over-estimated in its importance for shopping. In any case, there’s ample car parking in the vicinity.

We’d urge the council to drop their obsession with catering for vehicle traffic flow at junctions when what is required is a pro-people environment and hence a reduced and decelerated vehicle space. Overall, we’d like to see greater physical separation being afforded to cyclists from motorised traffic and safer junction design. We have concerns over the proposed junction design, especially

• safe right turns for cyclists
• the lacking of space clarity across junction spaces (propose use of elephant footprints)
• lack of details on traffic lights (type, operation and phasings)

As previously communicated (below), we congratulate the council on the proposed use of hybrid cycle lanes between Regent Centre and Broadway. We understand these to run from Broadway to Regent Centre, full-length and unbroken, in both directions. In the absence of construction details, we’d stress that we’d like to see a good degree of separation preventing drivers from entering the space set aside for bicycles. We’d like to discuss these details with council at the earliest convenience.

We’d like to be kept informed of progress and further plans and details. Future proposals will have to go much further with road space reallocation away from the motorcar. Haddricks Mill and Blue House roundabouts both require a serious upgrade to make walking and cycling safe and enable to unblock these important walking and cycling routes.

Above are comments relating to public meeting and drawings now available on http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-transport/travel-planning/gosforth-transport-major-scheme-funding-bid. The drawings could be presented in a more user-friendly and accessible way. And were not available in a timely manner ie coinciding with the first public meeting on 21 January.

Receipt for the original support letter (below) was not acknowledged by council. We’d like to know how our communication was used.

Overall, if you could acknowledge receipt of this communication, that’d be appreciated.

KATJA LEYENDECKER
Newcastle Cycling Campaign

http://newcycling.org

http://twitter.com/NewCycling (twitter)
http://www.facebook.com/groups/newcastle.cycling.campaign/ (facebook)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Newcastle Cycling Campaign
Date: 24 November 2012 09:01
Subject: Gosforth transport corridor proposals
To: Jonathan Higgins, Anne Clark (both Newcastle City Council)

Dear Jon and Anne

Thanks for presenting the Gosforth transport corridor proposals to us.

Newcastle Cycling Campaign welcomes and supports the plan to introduce hybrid cycle lanes on the section of the Great North Road between Broadway and Regent Centre, each direction. If designed correctly we feel that this would create an area that would be comfortable to use by young school children, people new to cycling and current cyclists alike. The width of the hybrid lanes, their continuity on side roads as well as the degree of separation being the most important design criteria to get right and we wish to discuss these at the next available opportunity.

We’d also like to hear more detail about any cycle-friendly features on the signalised junctions.

We are aware that the council is looking at wider improvements to the Great North Road over a longer period, we are looking forward to working with the council to make the transformation of the Gosforth corridor a success.

Kind regards
KATJA LEYENDECKER
Chair

SCOTT DAWSON
Infrastructure lead

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