Newcycling.org remain disappointed with the quality of design at Great North Road, from Broadway roundabout to Regent Centre. There are many flaws in the design, creating not just discomfort but introducing new dangers for cyclists. This is against any road design practice which would seek a constant improvement and would not accept a worsening for vulnerable road users.
Katja Leyendecker, chair of newcycling.org, says “It’s great that Newcastle is now doing things and have put the spade in the ground. But it’s a shame the quality of their design and the safety details are so low grade when the potential was there to make it an inclusive walking and cycling scheme. To understand council’s thinking and inner workings, we have requested to see the mandatory road safety audit for this Great North Road section weeks ago, but council have not shared it yet. Broadway roundabout now suffers, as we had predicted at design stage a couple of years ago, from fast turning traffic: the zoucan (walk/cycle zebra) does not work comfortably. You are under attack from turning traffic. It feels dangerous. This whole location is school traffic territory too and hence the designs and layouts must be spot on – easily usable and understandable for someone young too. The paint that the council has now put on the road corner to “visually tighten it” is not sufficient and looks like a rather desperate attempt – it only just marks the line the physical kerbline should have been in the first place.
“The cycle lanes are too narrow, in some places narrowing to 1.2 metres or so, making overtaking impossible. So faster cyclists have been observed to stay in the road. This dual provision does not make sense, incenses a lot of anger amongst road users and widening the cycleway is naturally the answer. Furthermore, why do pedestrians have to share space with cyclists at the bus stops, when this could be clearly allocated space – avoiding all this “shared space” kerfuffle. All this can be rectified. And we hope council will do so, quickly.
“But that’s not the end of the bad news. Where protection is needed, over the Metro bridge, it simply vanishes into a dashed line. We must not design stuff like that anymore. If the space is tight, then we have to talk about traffic reduction and freeing up space, not using designs that intrinsically endanger cyclists. But I fear, transport transition is not something the council wants to even just remotely think about or discuss as it would mean for different departments to come together under the leadership of Pat Ritchie, chief exective of Newcastle City Council. I am uncertain about her credentials to manage change and transition.
“There are also major safety problems at the southwards left slip, off to Asda on Hollywood at Regent Centre, where cyclists are without protection from fast left-turning motor traffic. And the turning pocket that now allows turning into Knightsbridge is a danger spot too as it crosses the cycle lane. Bad design indeed, especially for a school entrance – the Dutch Sustainable Safety principles would not allow this lunacy to happen.
“I won’t go into detail about the pedestrian situation on that new Regent Centre junctions. Suffice it to say it is like hopping between lilypads in a pond. Too many crossing stages. No direct way to cross. What a retrograde design.”
- Road safety audit request https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/great_north_road_safety_assessme
- Long-standing safety concerns (NB concern 1 has now been removed, but concerns 2 and 3 remain) https://newcycling.org/warning-over-great-north-road-plans/
- Shared space concerns https://newcycling.org/caring-designs-are-not-always-sharing/
- Ilustration of the zoucan close to the flared and hence fast-turning corner, see “paint solution” in lower right corner. We have no idea what the “cyclist dismount” sign does there.