A resident’s letter – cycling dangerspots

Date: 30 June 2012
Subject: Re: South Gosforth roundabout
To: Cllrs Leggott, Slesenger, Gallagher
Cc: Cllrs Murison, Todd, Faulkner

Dear ward Councillors
cc Cabinet Environment & Transport, opposition leader

I’d really value your action on this. Norman Baker, Under-Secretary of State, has set aside £15m for junction improvements for cyclists, nationwide excl London (which itself received £15m separately) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3457523.ece. As you can see, Newcastle is seen as a city of inaction, despite the early signing up to the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign – doing something in word, not in deed.

The junctions that are a hindrance to cycling at best (or unsafe and dangerous at their worst):

– top of Highbury / Ilford / Osborne Road crossing Jesmond Dene (route to schools, where are biking children supposed to go?)
– Regent Centre roundabout and crossing (route to schools, where are biking children supposed to go?)
– Broadway / Great North Road (route to schools, where are biking children supposed to go?)
– Blue House roundabout
– Haddricks Mill (The Time recently highlighted it again)

We must compromise the flow of vehicular traffic to make cycling safe, and reap the linked benefits for walking also. This may mean removing (turning) lanes, car parking etc and creating safe space for walking and cycling.

The council should not be afraid of these actions. And I’d expect complete cross-party agreement on this. I’ve copied in the opposition leader. We must get our priorities right and stop designing for car traffic and add walking and cycling as an afterthought (and only if there’s enough space, time or money), thereby utterly ignoring cycling and walking SAFETY. Can I advise you again that the typical UK traffic / highways / road engineer does NOT know how to design for non-motorised traffic safety and good public realm, and other expertise must be brought into the council to complement this shortfall.

I’ve written to you before about these things. I am chairing the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, and I know the cycling community is looking with hope to the council to take a lead on this.

Something ought to be done now.

Katja Leyendecker
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I support @thetimes Cities fit for cycling campaign http://thetim.es/cyclesafety #cyclesafe
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https://newcycling.org – Newcastle Cycling Campaign
http://kleyendecker.co.uk – my personal website
http://katsdekker.blogspot.com – my blog
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