Streets for People – Arthur’s Hill and Fenham Response

Currently Newcastle City Council are carrying out engagement on three Streets For People projects. This is our response for the schemes presented for Arthur’s Hill and Fenham. The engagement process ends on Thursday the 30th November, we have provided links to the individual schemes we have commented on.

Overall

The Streets for People project with its current method of consultation highlights issues that would be best avoided in future. This big bang of different designs is excessive and tiring to go through in detail. With the length of time this project has currently been going on for, we feel it would have been better to identify smaller changes and introduce each individually, starting much earlier in the process.

Arthur’s Hill and Fenham

East-West cycle route

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/east-west-cycle-route/details

There are some good pedestrian improvements, but cycling provision is minimal, other than some attempts to provide links to local streets. The provision of bus services along this route should require that cycling is physically separated due to the physical danger busses present to cyclists, yet there is no physical separation along this entire route.

The inclusion of Advance Stop Zones (ASZ) rather than cycle specific signals is also a concern. These zones are often ignored by drivers and they also give suggestion that cyclists should wait within them regardless of the traffic waiting at the light, this is especially dangerous with HGVs whose blind zone covers pretty much the same area.

North-South Cycle Route (West)

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/north-south-cycle-route-west/details

There is no priority for cycling being provided along this route, indicating that the main priority along this is still motor traffic.

The inclusion of Advance Stop Zones (ASZ) rather than cycle specific signals is also a concern. These zones are often ignored by drivers and they also give suggestion that cyclists should wait within them regardless of the traffic waiting at the light, this is especially dangerous with HGVs whose blind zone covers pretty much the same area.

The shared path widening on Kingsway is still too narrow for a shared path. There should be a minimum of 3m for two way cycling and clearly separated space for pedestrians that is 2m wide. This would give a total path width 5m.

North South Cycle Route (Terraces)

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/north-south-cycle-route-terraces/details
It is not clear from the drawings where this route is supposed to lie.

As a number of interventions on streets some of these are ok, but other are problematic.
There is no Indication of how cyclists will cross the busy Westgate Road safely. Providing a dropped kerb here is not enough.

Getting cyclists to join and leave the carriageway near a junction on Gainsbourough Grove seems like a convoluted design that will complicate its use.

The crossing over Crossley Street/Stanhope Street is much better with clear priority for cyclists and pedestrians.

Stanhope Street

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/stanhope-street/details

It is good to see a sustained length of infrastructure that provides some protection. Ending the provision at Beaconsfield Street is also problematic, there are existing issues here that make cycling difficult, and the volume of shops here provides a key generator for local cycling trips. In order to get more people walking and cycling to the local shops, a suitable environment must be provided.

It is a shame this is only being designed to use temporary methods of separation, but we understand this is due to cost constraints. Ideally this should be delivered using more substantial permanent measures along the route. The cycleway widths that have been designed in places are too narrow, making more permanent measures would allow for greater cycleway width. At least 2.5m for a single direction cycleway should be provided to allow people to cycle safely side by side, this would allow a parent cycling alongside their child.

In places Bus stop boarders have been provided, where there is space for a full bus stop bypass, which are safer and much more preferred over the boarders.

The inclusion of Advance Stop Zones (ASZ) rather than cycle specific signals is also a concern. These zones are often ignored by drivers and they also give suggestion that cyclists should wait within them regardless of the traffic waiting at the light, this is especially dangerous with HGVs whose blind zone covers pretty much the same area.

Links to Schools

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/link-to-schools/details

Of the proposals, some of the suggestion would be good for improving pedestrian links, but few of the proposals introduce measures that would improve cycling.

On Westgate Road – Beaconsfield Street, using shared pavement is going to create conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. On the southern side of the crossing on Westgate road, the shared path seems narrow for an area cyclists will be joining and leaving a crossing. This could be improved by taking the crossing diagonally across the road and having clearly separated cycleways on the approaches to the crossing.

Douglas Terrace – The measure would be an improvement for cycling, due to the safety issues ballards can present, the final design could be refined to make the bollards and any other street furniture as easy to avoid as possible.

West Road-Grange Road – The design is fine for pedestrians but will create conflict between drivers and cyclists travelling along West Road, due to the increase in the size of the island. The West Road at this point is very wide and there is ample space for cycling provision here that would also provide links north and South across West Road.

Neighbourhoods

https://arthurshillfenhamproposals.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/neighbourhoods/details
Hadrian Road Green Space, there is no reason to keep both ends of Sutherland Road open to motor traffic, this only encourage rat running. Closing the Western End of the street to motor traffic would help connect the green space to the local area, rather than it exist as island surrounded by roads.

Adrian Road/Linden Avenue, the changes provide the opportunity to tighten the junction geometry, this would help reduce speeds here.

The traffic free back lanes would improve the local area.