Highlights of the 2017 AGM (part 2)

Following the business part of the AGM (see part 1), Sally Watson presented the Campaign’s plan for 2017-18 which extends last year’s wish for a comprehensive and firstclass network for the city. Last year, we saw the completion of a two-way cycleway on John Dobson Street; this is the quality infrastructure that we want to see all over the city.

  • We will continue to campaign a mapped-out network plan and for the council to adopt it into their policy. The primary network as we see it conceptually has a 9+2 main routes. This must be complemented by a secondary network connecting neighbourhood destinations, and designed for people to ensure that trips on bike are convenient, direct, safe and pleasant
  • Further, we campaign for the adoption of design standards and sustainable safety principles (Dutch system of road safety).
  • It will be important for the Council to direct resource and investment towards the network and build it

Our Campaign Plan

Sally illustrated quality aspects and sustainable safety the Dutch way showing pictures of residential streets with no through traffic, protected cycleways on main roads, low traffic local centres and city centres which are permeable for cycling. In England and not just in London, we can do this, as council has demonstrated on John Dobson Street. But for such infrastructure to be well used and unlock higher levels of everyday cycling, it is essential to connect routes and destinations through the development of a comprehensive cycle network.

Campaign priorities 2017 18 draft from newcycling

What you can do

Sally concluded by explaining what can be done to grow the campaign: join the campaign and ask friends to do the same, donate monies (in particular when we put a special call out), contact your councillors, join online discussions, discuss the network and contribute to its development, attend meetings and spread the word! Incidentally, we’re planning campaign social evenings! Check the calendar.

Councillors can help too

Many thanks for those who came today, Cllrs Gareth Kane, Dan Perry, and Marion Talbot! Councillors can join the campaign, receive our newsletter, read our website and in particular the section about data collections for Newcastle, and get in touch to support our vision for a better, cleaner, fairer, greener and healthier Newcastle.

Discussion session

Sally asked members in the audience for their views on the proposed plan and many points were made to re-inforce the message of the campaign and consider other issues:

Maintenance

Concerns were voiced about the maintenance of new cycling infrastructure. The Heaton and Coast Road routes were mentioned as being neglected. Worries were expressed about council’s budget and it was asked whether maintaining the existing infrastructure (e.g. repainting white lines on road and ASL) would be cheaper.

Neighbourhood routes

Local route are important and small improvements (e.g. dropped kerbs) can make a big difference for existing cyclists.

In response to the above points, members of the Committee explained that the campaign’s aim was to get people to take up cycling so quality infrastructure with sustainable safety is absolutely key. A quality cycling network will get everybody and more people to cycle.

Streets for People (council inititiave)

A member asked for the Campaign to be more involved in Streets for People. Local expertise in cycling infrastructure is very much valued. Must keep the focus on lobbying the Council for better infrastructure, for a citywide and local networks.

Air quality

Air quality is a big hook, there is more coverage and public awareness and this can help support cycling in cities.

Spreading the word

Very supportive of strategic cycle routes and the proposed campaign plan, simple concept and important to unlock mass cycling. More local people are motivated and groups are forming, i.e. in Heaton.

Winning hearts and minds is important. Focussing too much on cycling can antagonise the wider public. It is important to talk about cycling AND walking. This can still be a hard thing to “sell” from a Councillor’s perspective.

The Campaign’s main aim is to achieve a better cycling network and we are always happy to advise and support other groups. We recognise the importance of mobilisation. The membership secretary role has remained untaken at the campaign base, since we started – click here for our structure. It would be good to see people coming forward to support the campaign reaching out.

Guest speaker: our local MP

Following this lively discussion, Claire Prospert invited our guest speaker, Chi Onwurah MP to address the audience. Chi is a Labour Party Member of Parliament representing Newcastle upon Tyne Central and is also Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Science and Innovation. She was first elected to Parliament in 2010, the same year the Campaign was formed.

Chi’s speech can be found here. We are looking forward to continue working closely with Chi.

Network Workshop

The last part of the AGM brought people together to map a cycling network, under the guidance of Scott Dawson, the Campaign’s infrastructure lead and John Dales from Urban Movement. The materials and findings of the workshop can be found here.